A facebook friend posted an article, critical of those who want to take down Confederate statues and saying it amounted to erasing history. I replied like so:
think I found a typo in this article. It says: 'It would appear that
said group who didn’t wish to see the statue of Virginian, General
Robert E. Lee, who was a commissioned U.S. Army officer, graduate of
West Point, and served the nation in the Mexican War, * taken down did
apply for a permit to hold a rally." It left out the most important part
of Lee's biography: *"and was a dirty rotten traitor." Benedict Arnold
was also a part of American history. Should we put up a statue of him?
Well, as it turns out, there IS a monument to Arnold, though
it's not a statue with his likeness, just a relief sculpture of the
boot of the leg he broke in a heroic battle when he was still fighting
on the American side.
I later wrote this on another post: Monuments
are not erected to provide history lessons. That's what books and
classes are for. Monuments are erected to identify heroes. Most of the
Confederate monuments were put up during the "nadir" of American history
when the North and South came to see the Civil War through the eyes of
the Confederacy as a Noble Cause and white people North and South
conspired to take away most of the rights black people had gained during
Reconstruction. The erection of these statues also happened to coincide
with the height of the lynching phenomenon. Not a coincidence. I say,
take down every last monument to every dirty rotten racist traitor.
The Comedy Channel's Jim Jeffries made this point
in a much more entertaining way, and added that the Germans don't have
any statues of Hitler. I assume that's true, but then I discovered, via
Google, that Germans DO have a monument to the German World War II General Erwin Rommel,
the "desert fox" who fought the British in North Africa. The Germans
are divided over whether Rommel deserves a monument, even if it's not a
heroic statue. Some say he was chivalrous and brave, and not a Nazi.
Others cite evidence of anti-Semitism. The monument has been vandalized
and covered with a banner saying "No more monuments for Nazi
The case for Confederate monuments is more
difficult to make than for Arnold or Rommel. Both of those guys were
fighting on the side of their own country. Arnold's monument celebrates
something he did before he became a traitor. The equivalent
would be a statue depicting Robert E. Lee during the Mexican-American
War. And while it seems that we don't know for sure whether Rommel was a an anti-Semite, Robert E. Lee, like most of the Confederate heroes,
did own slaves and was fighting to maintain a system of human bondage
based on white supremacy. Of course that doesn't stop Confederate apologists from trying to throwing doubt on those truths.