I was dumbfounded when I discovered what the ruckus was all about: A statue of Robert E. Lee, on a horse.
Now, I am no Civil War buff, and I haven’t researched this subject at all. But I have certain attitudes, as most of us do. And this is how I see it.
Around the time when the Commonwealth of Virginia voted to secede from the union, Mr. Lee was offered a commission to lead Union forces but instead he chose to side with his state. As far as I know, he seems to have been one of the finest men to ever serve this country – or to have served the short-lived Confederacy. I think he is an incredibly dramatic lesson to us all about choices that we make in life; what those choices might actually be about, and what those choices might actually lead to. Lee is not a figure to be viewed in terms of black-and-white. I think he represents a real, genuine, conflicted, honorable man who served his country well.
So what’s the ruckus? That he owned slaves? So did Jefferson, etc. That he led a losing cause? That he tried to help his state form a new nation? In my opinion, nothing dishonorable in that. That’s how the United States was formed, after all. Patriots and Tories, guns on both sides.
Of all the symbols to be argued over today, after more than a century and a half, that one of those symbols should be Robert E. Lee, I find is a tragic waste of an educational opportunity.
Those protesting the statue are on the same playing field as Holocaust-deniers. Given a choice to learn from history, they would rather shove history down the Memory Hole. Shame on them all.
:::::: The Statue at the Center of Charlottesville’s Storm – The New York Times
P.S., I have been to Charlottesville. Twice. Seemed like a nice town.
UPDATE: this morning I saw some Berkeley college professor on TV who suggested that maybe instead of removing existing statues, what we should do is add more statues of people representing opposing ideologies. Harriet Tubman, that kind of thing.
That’s creative thinking.