The last couple of weeks have shown the United States how poor a leader Donald Trump is. This all focused around the white supremacist rally around a confederate statue in Charlottesville, Virginia that eventually turned deadly. During the protest and counter-protest, a neo-Nazi drove his car through a crowd of people injuring 30 and killing one. Trump’s response was not only weak, but mind-numbingly supportive of racists. But what about the confederate statues?
Confederate Statues represent racism not culture
Over the last few years (before the events in Charlottesville) several southern cities were trying to decide what to do with their confederate statues. Some (like New Orleans) decided to remove them.
This has angered the white southern crowd as indicative of liberals trying to erase history. Even Trump chimed in asking if Washington and Jefferson were next.
Here is the fact that racists, white-supremacists, and Nazis do not want people to hear. Taking down a statue does not erase actual history. It may falter their alternative history where the South was on the right side of history.
However, to get to this alternative history, you have to ignore the true reason that the southern states seceded from the United States in the first reason; slavery.
The Civil War was fought over slavery not state’s rights
Ask a white person, particularly in the South, what the Civil War was fought over and a high number will say state’s rights. Not all white people believe this. Not all Southern white people believe this. However, there has been a concerted effort to rewrite the history of the Civil War.
Not a single state constitution, or the Confederate constitution, mentions state’s rights. The Civil War was fought over slavery, pure and simple.
These men who have statues of them all over the country are being honored for being traitors. More than that they are being honored for trying to keep slavery legal
Confederate Statues primarily built to counter attempts of racial equality
When you look at the history of when the vast majority of statues and monuments were built you see a pattern. They were built during times when racist groups (KKK) were gaining power and when blacks were gaining more rights.
During the 1920s (around the time of the film “Birth of a Nation” was released) there was a surge in memberships in the KKK. To go along with that there was a sudden surge of statues and monuments build to honor the Confederacy.
In the 1960s black people were given more rights than they had ever had in this country. In response, there was another surge in statues and monuments built.
So no, Confederate statues were not built as a way to remember the Confederacy. They were built to remind black people of their place (in the mind’s of racists) in this country.
Confederate Statues have no place in our society
The statues and monuments need to come down. It does not erase history to remove these statues. What it does is stop the memorializing of a dark chapter of our history. We should not be honoring men who became traitors and seceded from our country.
We should not honor men who set out to start their own country because they wanted to keep black men, women and children in chains.
Put them in museums if you like. If you still want the statues to stand where they are, put a plaque up telling the correct history of the men.
Germany does not have any statues memorializing Hitler and the Nazis. We do not have any statues memorializing King George. Why do we need statues memorializing men who were racists at their core. Men who wanted to keep people in chains to work for free on their land.
Political history is not linear
Republicans, especially the more conservative type, love to point out to black people who the first KKK members were. They were overwhelmingly Southern Democrats.
Here is the thing, though. If they want to point that out then we need to point out something as well. The party that fought against the Confederacy was not the Democrats. The party that made life extremely difficult for Southerners at the end of the war were not Democrats. They were Republicans.
However, in the world I live in, I know that looking at political history this way is ignorant. Ideologies change and those ideals once center to one party became central to another party down the road.
One thing that is not linear is honoring those men who sought to keep an entire race of people in chains. Those men were racists and traitors to America, and have no place among people we hold in high regard.