If Americans Grappled Honestly With Their History, Would Any Monuments Be Left Standing?

  

Category:  Op/Ed

Via:  john-russell  •  2 weeks ago  •  45 comments

If Americans Grappled Honestly With Their History, Would Any Monuments Be Left Standing?
We now know that Jefferson, whose hallowed monument on the National Mall in Washington quotes his declaration of the “self-evident” truth that “all men are created equal”—and whose life example Ronald Reagan once said we should wear “on our soul forever”—was not the man most Americans are taught he was: a reluctant slaveholder who was trapped in his times. Jefferson did deplore slavery in principle, but his voluminous letters and writings also show that he was a blatant racist who turned his...

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The United States of America was born in a state of profound hypocrisy; freedom and oppression were twin bedfellows from the start, nursed in the very households of iconic Founding Fathers like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. At the heart of this hypocrisy, of course, was race, and nothing—not Civil War, slavery’s abolition, constitutional amendments, or civil rights legislation—has made the issue go away. And 244 years later, with another July Fourth upon us, Americans are still struggling over this moral conundrum by protesting in large numbers in the streets—most recently in response to the flagrant killing of a helpless Black man under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer—with no obvious resolution in sight.

Despite fleeting hopes that Americans had finally transcended the issue after Barack Obama’s election as the first African American president, it remains central to America’s conflicted self-identity. Last week, Americans celebrated the Juneteenth holiday marking the news in 1865 that Black slavery had ended. And yet the uncomfortable truth is that many white Americans probably had never heard of Juneteenth (nearly half of the population wasn’t familiar with it,   according to a new Harris poll ), which is celebrated in many African American households as their own independence day—indicating that a segregation of mind and heart as well as community still persists in the country. A lot more Americans have heard of Juneteenth now: Race is once again reigniting tortured debates that date back to the earliest days of the republic, and no one seems immune, least of all the founders.

We now know that Jefferson, whose hallowed monument on the National Mall in Washington quotes his declaration of the “self-evident” truth that “all men are created equal”—and whose life example Ronald Reagan once said we should wear “on our soul forever”—was not the man most Americans are taught he was: a reluctant slaveholder who was trapped in his times. Jefferson did deplore slavery in principle, but his voluminous letters and writings also show that he was a blatant racist who turned his slaves into collateral for bank loans and believed them inferior human beings. He once wrote that Blacks compared to whites were as “the mule is to the horse”—though Jefferson fathered Black children whose paternity he never acknowledged even as they served him dinner at Monticello as his slaves, historians have documented. We are reminded that the putative father of this country, George Washington, was another slave owner who rebuffed efforts by some of his more enlightened comrades, including his trusted aide Alexander Hamilton, to free Black soldiers in exchange for their service during the Revolution.

Yet to a degree that remains little-known among most Americans, even the founders themselves were deeply conflicted over race. Washington had a much more progressive view of race than Jefferson did—and became the only founder to set yet another critical precedent for the young nation by freeing all his slaves in his will. Even among these two very consequential fellow Virginians, there were sharp differences of opinion over the treatment of Black Americans that might have caused American history to turn out very differently, according to the prominent presidential historian Joseph Ellis. He calls the early years of the republic a “Shakespearean tragedy” compounded of missed opportunities for early emancipation. Had Presidents Jefferson and Washington lived long enough to witness the Civil War, Ellis said in an interview, “Jefferson would have sided with the Confederacy, and Washington would have sided with the North.”

george-washington-slavery-GettyImages-513686159.jpg By the time George Washington died, more than 300 enslaved people worked on his Mount Vernon farm. Painting by Junius Brutus Stearns, 19th Century. Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images george-washington-slavery-protest-GettyImages-899399.jpg Yero Odinakachaw holds a photo of a whip-scarred slave at the Avenging the Ancestors demonstration in Philadelphia on July 3, 2002. Eight descendants of George Washington’s slaves were among those who demonstrated to expose the history of slavery in the city. William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

But all such nuances have been lost in the current furor. To a degree that perhaps hasn’t been seen since the tumultuous 1960s, Americans are reckoning, sometimes angrily, with a racist past for which the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery, the 14th Amendment guaranteeing equal treatment under the law, the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts, and other legal remedies have proved to be mere emollients for a deeper malady. Many are now asking: Why pretend that our great and glorious American history was greater and more glorious than it really was? Perhaps it’s time to rewrite that history—from the beginning.

This, in turn, has become a practical debate about how many of America’s revered monuments to its past—the “prodigious” honorific structures that Alexis de Tocqueville once remarked Americans love to build—should all be torn down. Ironically, President Donald Trump himself helped to start this debate in 2017 following the murder of a protester by a white supremacist. After asserting there were “very fine people on both sides” of the rival white supremacist and anti-racist demonstrations centered around a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump tweeted that if Americans started pulling down statues of Confederate generals, they were embarking down a slippery slope: “Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson – who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!” Trump reiterated this position in recent weeks, adding that he would also refuse to rename famous U.S. military bases named after confederate generals, such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina, which honors Braxton Bragg, a U.S. Army officer who later joined the Confederacy.

Yet some Americans say that’s just what should happen. Last week, a group of New York City Council members formally petitioned Mayor Bill de Blasio to remove a statue of Thomas Jefferson from City Hall. At the University of Missouri, thousands of students have signed a petition demanding that a statue of Jefferson be removed from the quad. In Portland, Oregon, demonstrators earlier this month pulled down a large bronze statue of Washington, wrapped its head in an American flag, and lit the flag on fire. Last weekend, another Washington statue in Baltimore was defaced with red paint, with the words “Destroy Racists” scrawled on the base. And, on Sunday, New York’s American Museum of Natural History decided to remove a statue of President Theodore Roosevelt—another Mount Rushmore giant who helped define the American character—that shows him on horseback flanked by a Native American and an African American on foot. The reason was that the statue “explicitly depicts Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior,” de Blasio said in a statement.

Roosevelt-statue-museum-natural-history-new-york-GettyImages-1251355114.jpg

A statue of former President Theodore Roosevelt stands in front of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City on June 22. The city recently announced that the statue, which also features a Native American and a Black man standing at Roosevelt’s side and has been the object of controversy for years, will be removed. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

But if today’s so-called cancel culture eventually extends its way to presidents like Roosevelt and the Founding Fathers, new problems crop up. If you cancel out the good history with the bad—if you cancel out Thomas Jefferson—what kind of country are you left with? As John Charles Thomas, the first African American appointed to the Virginia Supreme Court,   once remarked , “Although Jefferson was imperfect, he had a perfect idea.” Even Martin Luther King Jr. invoked Jefferson’s declaration of equal rights as a “sacred obligation” in in his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, calling it “a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir”—but which the country, to date, had “defaulted on” for Black Americans. President James Madison kept slaves in the White House, but he was also one of the chief fathers of the Constitution, whose First Amendment affords Black Americans the very freedoms they are now exercising to speak their minds and assert their rights.

Issac J. Bailey, a journalist and scholar and the author of the forthcoming   Why Didn’t We Riot? A Black Man in Trumpland , said he believes “we have to do a lot more grappling with the legacies of men like Washington and Jefferson,” but he doesn’t advocate the removal of their statues. “They are different from the Confederate statues, because Confederate monuments and memorials went up largely in the early 20th century and later as a clear pushback to civil rights gains by Black people. They are specifically about explicit white supremacy and the honoring of men who were literal traitors to the U.S.”

“That’s the easy part, though,” Bailey wrote in an email. The issue is more complex when it comes to Washington and Jefferson. “I’ve heard the argument that they are being honored for the great things they’ve done, not for the evil they perpetuated. I get that. But why do they get that kind of treatment when we’d never do the same for architects and participants of the Holocaust who went on to do great things, including helping the U.S. put a man on the moon and unleashing the kinds of technologies that we take for granted today, technologies that have made it possible for things like the smart phone, GPS and the like? We would never say let’s honor them despite the evils they wrought during the Holocaust. Why do we so easily do the same for wealthy white men who profited and participated directly in this country’s original sin?”

It is a debate that has gone global. In the United Kingdom, statues of Prime Minister Winston Churchill have been defaced, in response to his racist and imperialist attitudes (among other things, Churchill fiercely opposed Indian independence and once called Mahatma Gandhi a “half-naked fakir”). Protests in Europe, Africa, and Asia have suggested that many people who admire the United States or view it as an example are aligning with the Black Lives Matter movement—and using it to highlight racism in their own societies. Such international attention has a long lineage: Since the birth of the United States, racism in America has deeply dismayed those in other countries who were eager to endorse the founders’ attempt to create history’s first republic built on “ laws, and not men .” The founders themselves were regularly criticized from abroad for their hypocrisy. “How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?” the English writer Samuel Johnson observed mordantly in 1775, as American complaints against the tyranny of the British crown gained momentum. Great friends and allies of the founders, like the Marquis de Lafayette, pleaded with them to end slavery. The Revolutionary War hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko, a Polish military engineer whose command of English was uncertain, actually had Jefferson draft his will donating his wealth to the emancipation and education of slaves. (Jefferson failed to execute it.)

All of this has only underscored how raw this two-and-a-half-century-old wound remains. George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis in May at the hands of a white officer who has since been charged with second-degree murder, and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter campaign, have exposed the degree to which police departments have turned into the symbol of a white America that still seeks to oppress minority Americans. The recent police killings of African Americans in cities from Atlanta to Minneapolis also bitterly tainted the celebration of Juneteenth, which marks the day a Union major general, Gordon Granger, formally announced the end of slavery in the state of Texas, over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, and the beginning of “an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves.” That promise, along with President Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation of a “new birth of freedom” out of the Civil War, didn’t quite pan out either.

“I’m just shocked it keeps going on, that we haven’t gotten over it yet,” said another historian, Henry Wiencek, the author   An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves and the Creation of America   and   Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves . “One of the most shocking things is white people are doing these things [shooting and killing blacks] in full view of the cameras.”

Trump’s presidency has plainly helped to reignite these passions, as he rose to power in part by openly exploiting white racist fears of the so-called browning of America. “In some ways he ripped the band-aid off,” said Sharon Murphy, a historian at Providence College, who argues that Trump’s racially and ethnically divisive presidency helps explain why the recent Black Lives Matter protests drew many more white Americans than those that followed the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, six years ago. “In his time, Martin Luther King mainly criticized the moderate [whites], not the hardcore racists, for not speaking out. In some ways, the last three years have made those moderates take a stand,” she said. As Eduardo Porter argues in his recent book,   American Poison , the country’s entire social welfare contract since the New Deal has been fatally undermined by white animosity toward minority beneficiaries.

“What Trump has exposed in his presidency is there’s a significant portion of the American populace that has never accepted the full implications of the civil rights movement,” Ellis, the presidential historian, told   Foreign Policy . “When they watch protesters they only see rioters.”

Even so, Wiencek and other historians suggest the recent tumult in the streets could help promote a healthy debate that should cast a new light on who the founders were and what they really believed—and, by extension, what America really stands for. You don’t have to tear all the statues down, they say—but you should at least change the inscriptions on them to better reflect who these people really were. And Americans should consider erecting new statues to long-forgotten heroes like Lt. Col. John Laurens, a young white South Carolinian aristocrat who repeatedly and passionately urged Washington to move toward emancipation before being killed in the Revolutionary War.

Jefferson-slavery-GettyImages-643051242.jpg

A statue of Thomas Jefferson stands next to a stack of bricks marked with the names of people he enslaved—all under the words of the Declaration of Independence—at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington on Sept. 14, 2016. Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images

“At the very least, we have to be willing to tell the full story of what those men did—making it clear on those massive monuments and memorials we’ve dedicated to them,” said Bailey, himself a South Carolinian. “It should no longer simply be a treat to visit such sites. More Americans need to understand [these men’s] role in the systemic rape and murder and enslavement of Black people even as they got rich off slavery.”

Defenders of the Founding Fathers have argued it is unfair to project today’s racial norms on men who lived in another time. But some historians point out that in many other respects, the Jeffersons and Madisons managed to brilliantly transcend their times; otherwise, Americans might still be living under a monarchy today. “The founders were geniuses in many respects,” Ellis said. “They could imagine before anybody else a large republic. They could imagine the separation of church and state. Nobody thought you could do that then. But they could not imagine a racially equal society.”

But human progress can’t be measured in lifetimes; it comes in fits and starts, and right now Americans are caught up in another major fit about who they are and want to be. All in all, said Thomas Sugrue, a New York University historian and the author of   Not Even Past: Barack Obama and the Burden of Race , the George Floyd protests, coming amid a pandemic that has hurt Black and minority communities the most, have proved the rudest of awakenings from the briefest of national dreams that began with Obama’s inauguration. “There was a moment around the election of Barack Obama that the country finally felt it overcame its history, that finally we’re in a post-civil rights era. It wasn’t true,” Sugrue said. Instead came what the pundit Van Jones called a “ whitelash ,” ushering in the Trump era of deeper division.

“While I don’t want to diminish the changes that have happened since the 1960s, that period left a lot of problems unaddressed,” Sugrue said. “The most persistent are all the issues that have come to the surface, racial inequity in policing … but an even deeper racial inequality and segregation in the housing market—as well as the steady resegregation of American schools and cities. There’s not going to be any single answer. Policing is intertwined with system of racial segregation. You can’t address the police problem only in terms of internal reforms.”

And there is still, Ellis said, a kind of tragic if tacit conversation occurring every day on the Mall in Washington—among the monuments themselves. “If you go to the Mall and stand in a place where you can see the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, and the Martin Luther King Memorial, imagine an ongoing dialogue among those three giants,” he said. “Jefferson believed slavery was wrong, but he didn’t have the courage to do anything about it. Lincoln did, but he never could imagine that the races could live together in the same society on an equal basis. Then there’s King standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial giving his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, saying, ‘I have come to collect on a promissory note written by Thomas Jefferson.’”

The full debt has not yet been paid, and the dialogue goes on.


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JohnRussell
1  seeder  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago

Sorry, TR fans, but this statue of Teddy Roosevelt is very problematic. 

Roosevelt-statue-museum-natural-history-new-york-GettyImages-1251355114.jpg

I would leave it up with a new sign next to it saying that it was erected at a time when many people mistakenly accepted that there was a "white man's burden" to lead and guide people of color,  that no longer exists. 

 
 
 
Sparty On
2  Sparty On    2 weeks ago

Yes

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
3  Sean Treacy    2 weeks ago

Jonah Goldberg puts this fetishization of America's problems into a nice perspective For the last 30 years, at least,  Americans have been taught American history through the lens of Howard Zinn, who admittedly didn't care about facts and instead focused on the narrative of America being  evil. As Goldberg said,  "Yes, America did bad things in the past, just like every other country in the world. But for the Zinnians, the bad things never recede into the past, they never get smaller in the rearview mirror as we drive toward a more perfect union (admittedly, often in a zigzagging pattern). Instead, as we improve as a nation, the sins of the past bizarrely get larger in our imaginations. And that’s the point, it’s all so imaginary."   These " bad things" no matter what the context of the times they happened, are all that matter to the far left. (Unless they wrongdoer is a  modern progressive in good standing, then wearing blackface, using the n word etc.. entitles you to a late night show  or election to public office).

You can see it in the 1619 project, where the author simply made up the claim that America revolted from England to protect slavery and the Times didn't care about the inaccuracy. Nor did the Pulitzer committee. It's all about the narrative and facts can simply be made up if they help the cause. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
3.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @3    2 weeks ago

One hardly needs Howard Zinn to learn that America has many many troubling things in its past. 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
3.1.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1    2 weeks ago

Sure, but those who take him seriously  focus on those troublesome things to the exclusion of everything else. Zinn's a masterful propagandist. 

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
4  Just Jim NC TttH    2 weeks ago

For your perusal.............................

512

 
 
 
devangelical
4.1  devangelical  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @4    2 weeks ago

false equivalency to anything but the attempted genocide of native americans in this country.

maybe the current 19th century white supremacist celebrators are looking for a more definitive answer.

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
4.1.1  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  devangelical @4.1    2 weeks ago

Not at all. If we leave up the memorials/statues more will learn about the past if for nothing else, out of curiosity. It may not be dead on equivalency but, if one thinks about the message, it is true. 

Don't erase but don't necessarily embrace.............

 
 
 
MUVA
4.1.2  MUVA  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @4.1.1    2 weeks ago

Then you wouldn’t have a wedge to drive between people before a election these statues and monuments in question would probably be move or taken down at this point but you have to have issue to whip the mob into a frenzy.

 
 
 
Krishna
4.2  Krishna  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @4    2 weeks ago

That is a misinterpretation of the facts.

Monuments of Confederate generals were not erected to remind us of the evils they committed-- in fact the opposite was true: they were erected to honor them.

Jews (and other victims of Naziism)  didn't want it to be left standing to honor the Nazis-- but rather as a reminder of the evil they perpetrated.

The difference seems obvious to me.

(There were statues of Saddam in Iraq-- when the country was liberatedIraqis happily tore them down. Do you think the Iraqis should have left them up to honor him?)

What about things honoring Hitler that were all over germany? The germans (even non-Jews) suffered under Hitler-- do you think they wanted to keep those stautes up to honor him? (Or do you think that now that they have been removed, no one remebers what Naziism did?)

Like the Confederate army, the German army under Hitler had a goal of murdering as many American soldiers as possible.Do you think we should erecta few statues of Hitler in the U>S.?

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
4.2.1  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Krishna @4.2    2 weeks ago
Monuments of Confederate generals were not erected to remind us of the evils they committed-- in fact the opposite was true: they were erected to honor them.

But is not that mindset that is trying to be changed? 

(There were statues of Saddam in Iraq-- when the country was liberatedIraqis happily tore them down. Do you think the Iraqis should have left them up to honor him?)

That statue wasn't 100+ years old. And that is a ridiculous idea given the time frame of his atrocities against his own people.

The rest of your post goes along the same lines. Ridiculous questions as you know the answers.

What say ye about the Lenin statue in Seattle? Should that stand?

**Side note** why, beyond an initial seed post, do you find it necessary to vote up your own posts? Seems a bit pompous assed to me. Just curious.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
4.3  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @4    2 weeks ago

Krishna has it exactly right. Auschwitz wasnt built as an after the fact tribute to Nazism , as the confederate statues were. We can look at Auschwitz and hear the story of what happened there and easily make the conclusion that it was inhuman horror. It is visually depressing to look at a death camp. 

The confederate statues are gallant and stylish , a celebration of the person they portray. They are not remotely in the same category as a Nazi concentration camp. . 

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
4.3.1  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  JohnRussell @4.3    2 weeks ago

And the  point went over both your heads. You don't erase history, especially horrific history, by taking down statues and memorials. I don't think anyone doesn't know about Nazi Germany and the atrocities. Hitler and Hussein were both leaders of the whole country. Not army generals or the framers of their (non-existent) Constitution(s). Quite the opposite They destroyed their respective countries.

 
 
 
Sparty On
4.4  Sparty On  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @4    2 weeks ago

Bazinga!

 
 
 
devangelical
5  devangelical    2 weeks ago

the statues and names I have the biggest problem with are those that took up arms against americans. fuck the non-heroes of the past. it's a fool's errand to re-litigate the issues of our history, except for the failed and defeated confederacy,  based on today's values, and making the effort today of righting the wrongs done goes a lot farther than busted bronze or spray paint on marble. it won't do the wronged and the dead any good. the past is water under the bridge, our duty is to keep modern sewage out of our civilized waterway from now on.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
6  Nerm_L    2 weeks ago

Celebrating Black history, heritage, and culture is self centered and selfish.  The white population has the same self centered, selfish needs and desires.

These monuments and statues are reminders of our history, heritage and culture.  Frankly, the white population doesn't give a shit what the Black population thinks because this is our history, heritage, and culture; it doesn't belong to the Black population.  We'll celebrate our history, heritage, and culture as we choose because it is ours; not yours.

 
 
 
devangelical
6.1  devangelical  replied to  Nerm_L @6    2 weeks ago

false equivalency. 

 
 
 
GregTx
6.1.1  GregTx  replied to  devangelical @6.1    2 weeks ago

How so? 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
6.2  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Nerm_L @6    2 weeks ago
this is our history, heritage, and culture; it doesn't belong to the Black population. 

what is your white history? trying to subjugate people who don't look like you? 

 
 
 
Nerm_L
6.2.1  Nerm_L  replied to  JohnRussell @6.2    2 weeks ago
what is your white history? trying to subjugate people who don't look like you? 

Our white history is to die defending our beliefs, values, and way of life.  Our white history is to eradicate threats to our beliefs, values, and way of life.  The white population of the United States doesn't defeat enemies; enemies are annihilated.  The white population of the United States has never subjugated anyone; the white population destroys them.

Allowing the white population to forget its history will only allow that history to repeat itself.

 
 
 
Krishna
6.3  Krishna  replied to  Nerm_L @6    2 weeks ago
  The white population has the same self centered, selfish needs and desires.

That's strange-- the vast majority of the people I know (including family, friends, business associates) are white. With a few extremely rare exceptions, I've never heard them express those sorts of views. maybe you're hangin' with the wrong crowd?

 
 
 
Nerm_L
6.3.1  Nerm_L  replied to  Krishna @6.3    2 weeks ago
That's strange-- the vast majority of the people I know (including family, friends, business associates) are white. With a few extremely rare exceptions, I've never heard them express those sorts of views. maybe you're hangin' with the wrong crowd?

Our history is quite clear.  The white population will defend beliefs, values, and what we call our way of life by any means necessary.  The white population are quite capable of burning the crops, killing the livestock, and poisoning the wells.  The white population is quite capable of genocide.  That's our heritage, history, and culture.  The white population has repeatedly shown it will do whatever it believes is necessary by any means it believes is necessary.

These monuments are reminders to give us pause, reflect on our history, and to not do what is in our nature to do.  Removing those reminders will give the white population free reign to repeat that history.  Confederate statues may allow celebration of a mythological past but they also serve as reminders to not repeat that history.  Removing those reminders, hiding that history, and allowing the white population to forget what it is capable of doing emboldens the worst tendencies of the white population. 

Winning the cultural battles with the white population really can result in eradication.  That's the history that everyone wants the white population to forget.

 
 
 
GregTx
6.3.2  GregTx  replied to  Krishna @6.3    2 weeks ago

That's weird, sounds strangely exclusive.

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
6.3.3  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  Nerm_L @6.3.1    2 weeks ago
These monuments are reminders to give us pause, reflect on our history, and to not do what is in our nature to do.

Oh for fuchs sake, what a load of garbage. These monuments were put up by those who revered them, who wanted them to be a reminder to black Americans of their supposed 'place' in society, to proclaim some "white culture" as the ideal for America.

If you really believe that those monuments were a reminder of what not to do, then why not ask some of your fellow black citizens what they think? Most that I've listened to make it clear, they view those monuments as the unspoken river of racism that most racist white Americans refuse to admit exists. These monuments are signals to white supremacists and white nationalists who seethe in hatred for a diverse America and feel their precious "white culture" is being eroded. Those folk are sick in the head, they are racist pieces of shit who do not deserve to call themselves Americans, why are we continuing to support places of honor in our public spaces for blatant white supremacists?

allowing the white population to forget what it is capable of doing emboldens the worst tendencies of the white population

More hilarious attempts at reverse psychology. "Oh yea people fo Europe and the Jewish population, keeping up these statues of Hitler in the town square is a reminder to everyone what not to do, yeah that's it. Making him look so majestic with his arms raised or with positive sentiments on the plaque below will truly show those white supremacists what a "bad" idea it is to be such a genocidal racist. So of course we shall leave up all the monuments to Nazi's so that Germany never forgets, right? Perhaps NY City should think about erecting a statue of Osama Bin Laden at ground zero while we're at it...".

Your defense of these monuments is a sick joke and no with more than half a brain is buying such bullshit. Sounds like it's straight out of some right wing rag like Stormfront or maybe from RT. Shameful.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
6.3.4  Nerm_L  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @6.3.3    2 weeks ago
Oh for fuchs sake, what a load of garbage. These monuments were put up by those who revered them, who wanted them to be a reminder to black Americans of their supposed 'place' in society, to proclaim some "white culture" as the ideal for America.

No doubt.  The statues represent people who defended values and a way of life they believed was worth dying for.  While it's politically expedient to trivialize the cause nevertheless the war was quite real.  They didn't lobby Congress, play politics, or protest; they risked everything on the field of battle.  The cause they defended was not a just cause.  

The United States government did not compromise.  The armies of the United States were also fighting for a cause that was moral and just.  And the United States did not relent.  The Confederacy was not subjugated, the Confederacy was destroyed.  The Civil War did not end with treaties of peace.

While the monuments may serve to celebrate a mythologized past, they also serve as a reminder that the United States will not compromise it's values and will not relent in defending those values.  If the United States must fight to defend it's values then the expectation will be unconditional surrender.  The United States does not subjugate; the United States eradicates.

More hilarious attempts at reverse psychology. "Oh yea people fo Europe and the Jewish population, keeping up these statues of Hitler in the town square is a reminder to everyone what not to do, yeah that's it. Making him look so majestic with his arms raised or with positive sentiments on the plaque below will truly show those white supremacists what a "bad" idea it is to be such a genocidal racist. So of course we shall leave up all the monuments to Nazi's so that Germany never forgets, right? Perhaps NY City should think about erecting a statue of Osama Bin Laden at ground zero while we're at it...".

Europeans are not Americans.  Afghanistan is not America.  The United States fought the Nazis and the Japanese in the same manner as it fought the Confederacy.  Complete destruction and unconditional surrender; the United States did not subjugate Germany and Japan but destroyed them.  Haven't you noticed that the United States' war on terror has been a war of eradication?  The United States is fighting the war on terror in much the same manner as it fought the Indian Wars in the American west.

History is repeating itself.

Your defense of these monuments is a sick joke and no with more than half a brain is buying such bullshit. Sounds like it's straight out of some right wing rag like Stormfront or maybe from RT. Shameful.

The loosely organized group nebulously identified as Antifa have adopted the same methods and techniques as Confederates and the KKK.  Antifa (as an identifier for methods) is learning how to fight white.  Antifa fights for an ill defined cause that isn't moral or just.  Antifa has ignored the history of the United States.  How do you think that conflict will end?

The past shows, through statues and monuments, that the United States will only compromise to a limit.  Once that limit is crossed then the only thing those lost causes can celebrate are statues of the defeated.

 
 
 
Ender
6.3.5  Ender  replied to  Nerm_L @6.3.4    2 weeks ago

Sounds like you are saying all should bow down to the government and take it no matter what.

And here is a statue to remind you and it must stay.

I say utter bull. One does not need to be reminded by a statue nor celebrate it.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
6.3.6  Nerm_L  replied to  Ender @6.3.5    2 weeks ago
Sounds like you are saying all should bow down to the government and take it no matter what.

And here is a statue to remind you and it must stay.

I say utter bull. One does not need to be reminded by a statue nor celebrate it.

That's not the story of the Confederacy.  Confederates did not bow down to the government; they fought.  The white population chose to fight to the bitter end to defend beliefs, values, and a way of life they felt were worth dying to protect.  But they fought for a cause that was not moral or just.

The United States government essentially established a Republic of New Afrika in the South following the Civil War.  Confederates were not allowed to vote or hold elected office.  Martial law was enforced by Black troopers.  What the South calls carpetbaggers took away the the source of power for Confederates through exorbitant taxes and land seizures.  The South was not going to rise again.  The Black population held political power after the Civil War.  What did the Black population do with that political power?

The Black history of the Civil War is not about a struggle for freedom.  Militant abolitionists, like John Brown, sought to have the Confederate slaves rise up, throw off their yokes, and fight for their freedom.  Confederate slaves refused.  Confederate slaves did not make themselves a free people.  Northern white farmers faced canons and bayonets to give Confederate slaves their freedom.  And those Confederate slaves were too afraid of men in white sheets to fight to keep their freedom.

The Civil War is white history, not Black history.  Confederate slaves were incidental to the struggle.  Confederate slaves were given their freedom as a consequence of the Civil War.  But Confederate slaves did not fight to keep their freedom; they put their former slave masters back in power.  The Black population still refuses to represent itself, to govern itself, and to participate on equal terms.  The Black population is still dependent upon their former slave masters giving them what they want.  If the Civil War was fought over slavery then history shows that the Civil War was fought for nothing.

 
 
 
Ender
6.3.7  Ender  replied to  Nerm_L @6.3.6    2 weeks ago
While the 15th Amendment barred voting rights discrimination on the basis of race, it left the door open for states to determine the specific qualifications for suffrage. Southern state legislatures used such qualifications—including literacy tests, poll taxes and other discriminatory practices—to disenfranchise a majority of Black voters in the decades following Reconstruction. 

As a result, white-dominated state legislatures consolidated control and effectively reestablished the Black codes in the form of so-called Jim Crow laws , a system of segregation that would remain in place for nearly a century.

In the 1950s and ‘60s, securing voting rights for African Americans in the South became a central focus of the civil rights movement . While the sweeping Civil Rights Act of 1964 finally banned segregation in schools and other public places, it did little to remedy the problem of discrimination in voting rights.

The brutal attacks by state and local law enforcement on hundreds of peaceful marchers led by Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights activists in Selma , Alabama in March 1965 drew unprecedented attention to the movement for voting rights. Later that year, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act , which banned literacy tests and other methods used to disenfranchise Black voters. In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections that poll taxes (which the 24th Amendment had eliminated for federal elections in 1964) were unconstitutional for state and local elections as well.

Link

We all know how it went and it was in no way equal.

When people could be hanged, tortured, killed and law enforcement would either look the other way and/or be a part of it...doesn't leave much of a choice.

And you call that not fighting back? There was no way to fight back when the result would be death and everyone turned a blind eye.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
6.3.8  Nerm_L  replied to  Ender @6.3.7    2 weeks ago
We all know how it went and it was in no way equal.

When people could be hanged, tortured, killed and law enforcement would either look the other way and/or be a part of it...doesn't leave much of a choice.

And you call that not fighting back? There was no way to fight back when the result would be death and everyone turned a blind eye.

Jim Crow happened after Confederate slaves put their former masters back in power by voting for them.  Jim Crow was the result of Confederate slaves refusing to fight to keep their freedom.

The black population was larger than the white population in the South following the Civil War.  The South was a Black majority.  And a large portion of the white population could not vote or hold elected office.  Those who fought for the Confederacy had been disenfranchised.  

The 20th century history of segregation and Jim Crow are a result of choices made by the Black population following the Civil War during Reconstruction.  More Midwestern white farmers were maimed or killed fighting to give Confederate slaves their freedom than Black people who have ever been lynched.  

Confederate slaves are not blameless for segregation and Jim Crow.  The Black population are as much victims of their ancestors choices as victims of discrimination by the white population.  It shouldn't be surprising that a population who refuses to stand up, represent themselves in a civilized manner, govern themselves in a civilized manner, and participate in government on equal terms are not treated as equals.

 
 
 
Ender
6.3.9  Ender  replied to  Nerm_L @6.3.8    2 weeks ago
Reconstruction saw biracial democracy exist in the South for the first time, though much of the power in state governments remained in white hands. Like Black voters, Black officials faced the constant threat of intimidation and violence, often at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan or other white supremacist groups.

Wow dude. Talk about victim blaming.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
6.3.10  Nerm_L  replied to  Ender @6.3.9    2 weeks ago
Wow dude. Talk about victim blaming.

Wow, talk about refusing to accept responsibility.

If the white population is expected to talk about their history honestly then it's not unreasonable to expect the black population to talk about their history honestly, too.

 
 
 
Ender
6.3.11  Ender  replied to  Nerm_L @6.3.10    2 weeks ago

What is there to talk about when a young black man would be killed just because a white woman made an accusation of him whistling at her.

The deck was purposefully stacked against them with the threat of sanctioned death.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
6.3.12  Nerm_L  replied to  Ender @6.3.11    2 weeks ago
What is there to talk about when a young black man would be killed just because a white woman made an accusation of him whistling at her.

The claim is that incidents like this are happening today because we are not talking about history honestly.

I agree.

The deck was purposefully stacked against them with the threat of sanctioned death.

The deck was intentionally and purposely stacked in favor of freed Confederate slaves.  What happened?

 
 
 
Ender
6.3.13  Ender  replied to  Nerm_L @6.3.12    2 weeks ago

Sorry but if you don't think racial injustice happens today...

As I showed in the article above, the deck was never stacked in their favor.

Sitting in his patrol car in Wilmington, N.C., Officer Michael “Kevin” Piner predicted Black Lives Matter protests would soon lead to civil war. “I’m ready,” Piner told another officer, adding that he planned to buy an assault rifle.

“We are just going to go out and start slaughtering them f------ n------,” he said.

The shocking threat came amid extended, openly racist conversations between Piner, 44, and two other police officers, 50-year-old Cpl. Jesse E. Moore II, and 48-year-old Officer James “Brian” Gilmore. In the discussions, taped by accident on a patrol car camera and released Wednesday by the department, the men freely drop racial slurs, suggest killing black residents and deride protesters.

“Wipe 'em off the f------ map,” Piner said of African Americans. “That’ll put 'em back about four or five generations.”

Link
 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
6.4  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Nerm_L @6    2 weeks ago

512

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
7  Sean Treacy    2 weeks ago

and the Martin Luther King Memorial,

Uh oh... Better think twice about allowing that memorial  to stand. His behavior with young women was problematic, to say the least. 

 
 
 
Krishna
7.1  Krishna  replied to  Sean Treacy @7    2 weeks ago
(deleted)
 
 
 
Sean Treacy
7.1.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  Krishna @7.1    2 weeks ago

I assume you posted this to the wrong place since no one has suggested putting a statue of Trump on the national mall, or anywhere else for that matter. 

 
 
 
Krishna
7.2  Krishna  replied to  Sean Treacy @7    2 weeks ago
His behavior with young women was problematic, to say the least. 

Guess we shouldn't honor Trump in any way then, eh? (His conduct certain doesn't deserve any respect in that area!!!);

384

 
 
 
Krishna
7.3  Krishna  replied to  Sean Treacy @7    2 weeks ago

His behavior with young women was problematic, to say the least.

384

384

 
 
 
Tessylo
8  Tessylo    2 weeks ago

Let's replace all statues with this one:

106122831_151115313160947_6435664836507020809_n.jpg?_nc_cat=105&_nc_sid=8bfeb9&_nc_ohc=wXOIl7E-ZR0AX8fKnPr&_nc_ht=scontent-iad3-1.xx&oh=c0e207f96a39de36aa92e1bb93659eb7&oe=5F1A1796

The only thing missing is Putin's hand up his ass.

 
 
 
Tessylo
9  Tessylo    2 weeks ago

yuwj6le3pd451.jpg

 
 
 
Tessylo
10  Tessylo    2 weeks ago

106004212_10220594294060275_589007332425276083_n.jpg?_nc_cat=110&_nc_sid=8bfeb9&_nc_ohc=alWnBnYh-h0AX_wjMt1&_nc_ht=scontent-iad3-1.xx&oh=35a95cd7aec8b4110bec73eb4be51b17&oe=5F1ACA73

 
 
 
Tessylo
11  Tessylo    2 weeks ago

103479760_10158448970064591_536288965992433328_o.jpg?_nc_cat=109&_nc_sid=730e14&_nc_ohc=2E1oQR1KIfkAX8SMlZU&_nc_ht=scontent-iad3-1.xx&oh=ea8dcf9d11755f55eca2cdbe52dea5cd&oe=5F1B1BBB

 
 
 
Wheel
12  Wheel    one week ago

I wrote a series of articles on this topic during the last year or so of the Vine.  I even predicted a lot of the things that are going on right now.  I also made the point then and want to re-iterate it now that a memorial is one thing and a monument to white supremacy is quite another.  I noticed someone trying to make some kind of false equivalence between the Auschwitz memorial and the series of monuments erected across the South during the early years of the last century.  Here's a hint to the big difference, no one is FORCED to view that memorial every time they drive down a major street in their town or go to a public park.  Just because, as a white person, you don't see any problem with them doesn't mean many others don't, and for very valid reasons.

If you want some examples of legitimate, thoughtful memorials you have to look not further than the Memorial park in Vicksburg Tenn. https://www.nps.gov/vick/learn/historyculture/vnmp-state-memorials.htm   Personally, I consider the Kentucky memorial to be particularly moving.  Both Lincoln and Davis were born in Kentucky and Kentucky, like many states had soldiers on both sides of the war.  The Kentucky memorial is simply 2 statues, one of Lincoln, one of Davis, standing, uncovered, (that is bare headed) before God.  Many of the memorials are similarly thoughtful and some of them are beautiful works of art.  That link with take you a page where you can look up the memorial from your state, or not.  And that is key difference, the 'or not'. 

Some people try to say that no one ever objected before. That is incorrect. Many people have tried for YEARS to get these things taken down, now is the time.

 
 
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