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Confederate Monuments’ Phony History

| August 19, 2017

Carved on Stone Mountain, Ga., the horsemen of the Confederacy: Robert E. Lee, Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson and Jefferson Davis. See a detail of the carving below. (Wikimedia Commons)

Carved on Stone Mountain, Ga., the horsemen of the Confederacy: Robert E. Lee, Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson and Jefferson Davis. See a detail of the carving below. (Wikimedia Commons)

In 2003 the North Carolina Legislature required that places in western Carolina’s Jackson County with names like Niggerskull Mountain and Niggerskull Creek be changed. Unanimity followed. Demonstrations in opposition did not. The legislature wasn’t erasing history. It was finally erasing remnants of a culture that depended on erasing the humanity of an entire race. Revolting as the names were, the fact that it wasn’t until the 21st century that they were removed should tell you something about the endurance of cultural depravity, masked as it so often is in the euphemisms of “heritage” and “history.”

pierre tristam column flaglerlive.com flaglerlive Those particular names are gone. But it is 2017, and the purveyors and defenders of those names, the men who fought for the right to utter and impose them, are not. Those who worship them are now defending the monuments to those men, using the same euphemisms in the name of the same etymology of degradation. As always with euphemisms, they make it sound like it’s about the innocent defense of Sunday school catechism. What’s disappointing is when the men and women we sometimes depend on for moral clarity, for bulwarks to bullshit, fall for it.

So a fascinating conversation triggered by Flagler’s own Colleen Conklin, the school board member, caught my eyes on her Facebook page.

“I can’t contain myself,” she wrote (she rarely can). “I’m sure I’ll regret this post. But I can’t stand it anymore. IMHO You can’t erase history. You can’t. Attempting to do so is questionable. The history they represent may not be appropriate but it’s part of OUR history. Discuss it, share it, debate it but you can’t erase it. Forcing the removal of these statues is doing nothing but feeding the hate.”


Unlike Romans crucifying Christ, she knew well what she was doing: she was inviting her own crucifixion, though Flagler County having become a redoubt of Trumpian apologists, the nails were more velvet than rust, and the 80-some exchanges were more absorbing than not: Conklin has a way of steering conversations onto the most harrowing subjects (teen suicide, bullying, nudy art and racism), often with constructive results. She did it again with this post, its wealth of bonkers premises notwithstanding: the problem is that most of the debate’s premises are bonkers, so in a twisted sense, hers was a lucid reflection of the incoherence and anachronisms framing the “our history” claim.

I happen to disagree with Conklin’s take on the monuments. It reflects a simplistic understanding of the issue that conflates all statues, all monuments with all histories, as if the monuments themselves don’t have their own ideological language and history separate from the history they claim to represent–which Confederate memorials very much do: that’s why they were put up. Conklin’s take assumes that all monuments are created equal by virtue of having been created, as if not catching the irony: we’re talking about monuments to men who fought a war in the name of inequality and racial supremacy. And she buys into the claim that history is being “erased” by dint of removing these monstrosities from public grounds, which is as ridiculous as claiming that the history of the holocaust is being partially erased by not having Himmler, Hitler and Goebbels riding three magnificent horses (or tinkering with ovens) in a superb carving on, say, Stone Mountain, Ga.

But again, Conklin knows what she does. I’m not entirely convinced she actually believes what she says in her post. She clearly hasn’t thought it through, as her answer to Jon Hardison indicates (Hardison’s part is posted below). But she has that in common with Trump: she knows what buttons to push, what posts to Facebook. She’s not been among Flagler’s biggest electoral winners election after election by chance, and I’ve enjoyed some of my most rewarding debates with her. Disagreeing is not the point. Debating is. In this society of monologues and echo chambers, it’s encouraging that debate happens at all, as was the case with the responses Conklin triggered.

But debating alone is not the only virtue, either. There’s a point where agreeing to disagree–that mantra of the coward–becomes a complicit endorsement of the inadmissible. It’s OK to disagree on whether the Civil War was necessary or not, whether Robert E. Lee was a traitor or an honorable general, even whether secession was a right endorsed by the framers or not (it was), or whether Lincoln repeatedly violated the constitution to enforce the union (he did). I don’t think it’s OK to disagree about the fact that the South fought to preserve genocidal centuries of oppression and degradation and subsequently resurrected the oppression under Jim Crow. If we disagree over basic facts we’re not debating history but rewriting it, and not only rewriting history but collaborating in the erasure of the humanity of a people: we are re-brutalizing Dred Scott’s descendants and re-endorsing the objectification of a people as only three-fifth the worth of a human being. We’re just doing it in the shadow of monuments. 

Of course I’d rather have the debate than not. But getting somewhere in the process would be helpful beyond empty bromides about “healing.” Aspirin heals a headache. Evidence heals misconceptions. I’d like to think the conversation Conklin started may do just that, even with her. Some examples:

Nancy Nally: “Normally I would agree with you about preserving artifacts of racism. We need to see Sally Hemings’ quarters preserved at Monticello (as well as the other slave quarters). We need to see concentration camps preserved so we don’t forget. But these statues weren’t erected as memorials…they were erected solely to serve as a bludgeon on oppressed people. That bludgeoning is not part of history…it is ongoing…and that is why we can’t preserve the statues as “history” – because they aren’t “history” but an ongoing offense.”

Christine Davis Barwick: “I agree with you Colleen. I think the point is that the inscription on the statue in Durham says “dedicated to the boys who wore grey.” We have to remember that he soldiers who fought in the south were following the orders of their commanders just like their own brothers in the north. They died just like their brothers in the north. Whether they believed in the cause, whether the cause was right or wrong is irrelevant. They followed orders and died. The statue is in honor of them. Why shouldn’t they be honored? They died serving their country which is part of our history. We cannot change our history.”

Scott W. Spradley: “To me, the distinction is that a monument (statue) is placed in the public domain to honor its subject. A museum is a place to preserve history, good or bad. As a Southerner (N.C.), I have never understood or agreed with many of my friends and even family, that Confederate artifacts belong in a place of honor, instead of a place destined to preserve history. The whole: “The South Will Rise Again!” mentality has totally escaped me, despite my efforts to understand it. So I fall on the side of supporting the peaceful moving of the artifacts from the places of honor they occupy, to a museum or the graveyard or other place more suitable to preserve a sad chapter in the Country’s history.”

Zapper Flye: “So we define a person by 1 action in their life? Robert E Lee was more that what the media wants you to know, believe and feel. Which 1 moment in your life will we define you as?”

John Hardison: “How would you feel if you were raped? Awful, right? How would you feel if your rapist got a park named after him? How would you feel if you rapist got a park named after him BECAUSE HE RAPED YOU? Now how would you feel if you rapist also got a very dignified looking statue erected in that park BECAUSE HE RAPED YOU? Now walk through that park and look at that statue every day knowing that your kids and their kids will look up at your rapist twice a day for the rest of their lives. There’s a difference between remembering and celebrating. If we need to remember that badly we should seriously considering renaming Palm Coast Parkway. Hitler Blvd? We certainly need to remember that right now, no? I mean, it’s not like he was my oppressor so what difference would it make to me? Ask yourself how you might feel about your kids playing in Hitler Park under a grand statue of a man that killed millions of people. Particularly if you’re one of the people he’d have wanted dead. These monuments celebrate those that fought for slavery. They celebrate the murder of tens of millions of people. The sons and daughters of the confederacy have fought a good fight for a long time but the days of Black children playing in parks and walking avenues named for men that saw them as dogs – That’s done. It never should have happened. As to this being OUR history? We need to stop doing that. No. It’s their history. WE are the United States of America. OUR history is not THEIR history. We literally went to WAR to make sure their would never be our history! On Southern Pride: There are all kinds of things to be proud of. Always. If you can’t separate your Southern pride from your slavery or love of those who sought to keep the right to own people, you have a VERY serious problem. But it’s a personal problem. Take as much time as you like to work it out. The rest of us need to move on.”

Weldon Ryan: “Have no fear Colleen. The fact is history is as truthful as the people who wrote it. History has as many versions as the people that lived it. But the fact that all of these statues and monuments are of traitors that stood on the wrong side of humanity is the issue. The historical cruelness, brutality and lack of empathy of those who still erected these images to pay homage to this history instead of images of the America that we as Americans want and deserve and of the Americans that stood for righteousness is the issue. Why was it tolerated in the first place. Now that we’re at a point to take them down, why not.”

PT Thomas: “The Civil War was the most divisive time in America’s history. After the war, the wounds ran deep especially with the way the South was ransacked by carpet baggers. Part of the healing process was the installation of monuments honoring war heroes on both sides. No, this was not like erecting statues honoring the likes of Hitler. These were by any definition of the term, Americans. This was a war where Americans fought Americans. It was family against family. Friend against friend. It just seems ironic that these monuments are now causing division where they once brought unity. Personally I think a lot of these feelings of being offended are manufactured and then spoon fed to the public. Creating division is a specialty of socialists. It is the only way they can gain power and so many voters are eager consumers of propaganda.”

slavery confederacy monumentsAnd this last, posted this morning, from Heather Beaven, with the image to the right: “If you want to remember our history. If you want to use it as a teachable moment. Then you should erect accurate symbols of the time and the reason why 600,000 Americans died.” (See the full conversation here.)

The battle over Confederate memorials is nothing new. It’s a continuation of the same war by other means. “Across the region, from the courthouse squares where Confederate monuments stand to the statehouses where the battle flag still flies, the symbols of the Old South are under siege. And just as those symbols represent something larger, so do the day’s skirmishes over pennants and songs and memorials.”

Kevin Sack of The New York Times wrote those lines 20 years ago, in February 1997, weeks after the Virginia Senate had voted to retire the racist song “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny,” a song ostensibly from the mouth of a slave (There’s where the darkey’s heart am longed to go./There’s where I labored so hard for old massa,/Day after day in the field of yellow corn,/No place on earth do I love more sincerely). The Senate did so even as three of the song’s most fabulous renditions were by Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles and Marian Anderson. It was written in 1878 by James Bland, himself black, as a reflection of the hard times ex-slaves were having finding work. It was the sort of song an Ann Coulter of the day would have seized on to claim that, hey, slavery couldn’t have been so bad if blacks were pining for it so soulfully.

Virginia had been trying to get rid of the song, at least as an official state song, for 27 years, going back to 1970, when Doug Wilder became a state senator. He failed again and again, even when he became America’s first black governor since Reconstruction. By 1997, it was too much. Florida’s black legislators tried to do away with “Swanee River” and its “darkies,” but failed: it’s still the state song. But back in the late 1990s, “almost every week, it seems,” the Times reporter wrote, “Confederate symbolism inspires some new act of violence or vandalism.” Nothing has changed, except maybe our tolerance level for the unnecessary.

A closer look at the Confederate monument carved into Stone Mountain. Click on the image for larger view. (Chris Ballance)

A closer look at the Confederate monument carved into Stone Mountain. Click on the image for larger view. (Chris Ballance)

Most of those monuments referred to the Civil War, but as several of the respondents to Conklin eloquently put it, they were not erected so much as memorials to that era as they were in reaction to such developments as the 14th Amendment and as symbolic pedestals to Jim Crow, the apartheid system the South established in the embers of Reconstruction: the monuments were an echo of the Lost Cause reconstituted as a victory under the banner of heritage. In 1915,  the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a white supremacist organization created in 1894 and devoted chiefly to the erection of Confederate monuments, commemorated the South’s Mount Rushmore at Georgia’s Stone Mountain: the carved figures of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis rode agross the face of the granite, beatified in stone. The carving was begun by Gutzon Borglum, the carver of Mount Rushmore and himself a enthusiastic white supremacist and  KKK sympathizer who considered “Nordics” the master race. As Tony Horowitz wrote in “Confederates in the Attic” (1998), Stone Mountain “was intended as the South’s foremost Confederate shrine. It also became a rallying place for the Ku Klux Klan.”

So these monuments’ history is more more telling than the history they pretend to be recalling. They are the disturbing story more than the story they claim to preserve. It is disturbing when societies demolish their history, especially in the name of some form of purity. But Confederate monuments were–and are– in fact intended to re-write history rather than to honor it. They are the visual symbols of a historical cleansing that racist organizations purposefully sprouted with the same ideological and implied violence as they did Jim Crow laws and its perversions of justice.

To put it more colloquially, they were, and are, their era’s fake news. By accepting the monuments’ existence at least on public grounds we’re endorsing the historical fallacies and cleansing they represent. Removing them from public grounds doesn’t remove history. It displaces history’s perverted interpretations. That’s not to say that the “Jews will not replace us” barbershop choruses don’t also have the right to march publicly: the ACLU is right to protect the marchers (assuming they don’t have their own mercenaries). But marches are temporary. Statues are not. The statues have overstayed a welcome they never deserved, and are being turned into shrines for torched and bile-tongued nostalgists for Auschwitz and Old Virginny we don’t deserve. So relegate those statues and monuments to their rightful places: to museums, to mausoleums, or to private places of worship where white supremacists, neo-Nazis, Jew haters, Arab haters, immigrant haters, daughters of confederacies and sons of bitches have every right to gather, chant and spew whatever they please, but not on public grounds. 

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here or follow him @PierreTristam.

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39 Responses for “Confederate Monuments’ Phony History”

  1. Andy says:

    If “the South” attempts to rise again, “the North” will kick it’s ass again. How about we skip the war and just go right to the reconciliation? We are one country for the gods’ sake.

  2. Fredrick says:

    Just read a great article. Rape activists want to tear down Bill Clinton statues on public property. Hmmm interesting…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Let’s just make everyone feel better and remove any and all memorials everywhere. That way, no one can be offended and history will be forgotten and glossed over and denied.
    Drive through the Battlefield at Chickamauga and note all of the memorials to all of the different military units of the Northern army. They raped and pillaged their way all through the State of Georgia finally stopping in Savannah. And what about the 400 women and their children from the Roswell mills loaded up and shipped off to the North never again to be heard from with very few finding their way back?
    http://m.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/deportation-roswell-mill-women
    No one cries foul over instances like this. Atrocities are atrocities and if our history is forgotten, it will be repeated.

  4. RayD says:

    No, we can’t change history. No need to glorify the evil and offensive from the past. However, we do need to remember the past. Treat it for what it is, history and let’s learn from the past. The polarization in this country is mind boggling. Remember, we’re all in this together.

  5. another vet says:

    Just wondering,should we tear down the Washington monument and bulldoze Monticello,after all these men were slaveholders

  6. Shark says:

    Let’s tear down all of drumpfs buildngs !!!!!

  7. Anonymus says:

    It is history & if we’re taking down all these statues, then burn your money & take down Mount Rushmore while you’re at it. The media feeds people to much BS, fear & lies, it’s history, get over it!!

  8. Sherry says:

    Thanks Pierre. . . especially for posting Jon Hardison’s words. In them Jon is doing his very best to vividly describe the perspective from the other side of this issue. Each one of us should, at the very least, pause a moment and attempt to put on the glasses of his vision. . . how and why those black lives certainly do matter. . . the same as each and every other human life.

    History is NOT recorded on statues. . . therefore it will certainly not be erased by taking them down.. There is a vast difference between “learning the lessons” of history, and raising statues to “celebrate and honor” humans “inhumanity”. Especially when those symbols serve as an “in your face” reminder of human activity that “should” bring shame and disgrace upon our culture. . . but, does not always. Such statues and symbols have even provoked racist hate and violence. They should ALL be unacceptable to any “evolved” society. We cannot erase such shameful history, but we sure has hell shouldn’t be celebrating it!

    This is not about being “politically correct”, it’s about being “CIVILIZED”! At the heart of this situation is the very definition of the “soul” of our country. What bears repeating again and again is Thomas Jefferson’s words in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:

    ” WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELF EVIDENT, THAT ALL MEN (HUMANS) ARE CREATED EQUAL”

    The fact that Jefferson owned slaves himself, does not invalidate this “TRUTH”! We should all endeavor to live and act in a way that honors a principle beyond what even Jefferson did.

  9. Sw says:

    Rather long winded but I think I get the point. I like to break the word down in two pieces. His – Story and that is exactly what we have learned much of which is not very accurate but nonetheless universally accepted. So its ok for the Statues that represent our His- Story exhibited anywhere other than Public places to appease who? I dont get it. The War of Secession was and still is part of our His-Story, so as we move forward and improve as a Country not forget and swwep our mistakes under the provet6bial rug. Face it and dtop kickin the can down the road.

  10. John Brady says:

    A friend I met while walking asked why all the mess, why not just leave the statues alone

    I asked this friend if we have statues of Benedict Arnold ,He said no. I asked why not and he said Arnold was a traitor. I then asked if Robert E Lee was not a traitor since he fought against the United States.

    My friend said he had a head ache because I made him think. In the north the Civil war was called The War of Rebellion. This means that anyone who fort against the Untied States was a traitor

  11. Don't you just love the sunshine state lol says:

    It is what it is. Please move on. If you want something then do better. 🙏

  12. good american says:

    Duke university just removed Robert E. Lee statute from its Chapel. Jefferson should be removed next, a slave owner he was. Then tear down Monticello and any other structure of remembrance of the Slave owners. Add to that any movie, documentary or book that has any confederate symbol or meaning to it. That should help.

  13. BlueJammers says:

    This is an amazing article, Mr. Tristam. Well written and might I say one of your best insights. Well done!

  14. RickG says:

    There is no need to change history. That should still be in history books. But those who have taken up arms against the US deserve no positive recognition. How many statues of Benedict Arnold does one see around the country. He did the same as Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Davis etc…

  15. Pastor Jones says:

    We live in a country that is made up of people from all walk’s of life, different races, belief,economic and social back rounds. I love it when people who never had to deal with the injustice put on them by others. They can’t understand the effect of those injustices. Those monument glorify a dark time in our history, a time of oppression. We as a country as started to rise up above those dark times. We now are working together for the benefit of mankind. Let’s not return to the dark time but Let’s move forward into the light of God together. Let’s glorify love not hate.

  16. Charles Ericksen, Jr says:

    This same mountain in Stone Mountain,GA , was the outdoor theater of the KKK.. The KKK would regularly burn a large cross, on that mountain , that could be seen as far away( 20 miles) as downtown Atlanta , to show their hate.

  17. r&r says:

    Colleen you are SO right. These people that are doing this are ANTI American and should leave our country.

  18. A tiny manatee says:

    Counterpoint: in germany, the monuments you see as a consequence of hitler’s rise to power are monuments to the victims.

  19. Anonymous says:

    You have to ask yourself why now? I mean, these statutes have been around for a long time. I am really surprised this didnt happen in the 60s. Back than you had the civil rights movement going on full swing. What has changed? I think the news media doesnt help matters much. They like to stir the pot.

    I for one, am pretty sick of hearing about Trump, North Korea, Black and White racial issues, and terrorist issues. America is not great again, we are back sliding.

  20. Brian says:

    Too funny – I guess the identity-politics loving Democrats finally have that “message” that they’ve been looking for: “If you don’t vote Democratic, you are a Nazi.”

  21. Rick Kang says:

    It is CRAZY to forget history! Learn from history so that the same mistakes are NOT repeated!

  22. snapperhead says:

    How about the authoritarians on both sides leave it up to the individual local or state government elected officials and residents determine if they choose to leave the monuments up or not.

  23. Brian says:

    LEFT-WING STATUE-HATE ALERT! Protesters in Columbus, Ohio want the statue of Christopher Columbus taken down because he was a plunderer and a pillager! Possible name change for the city being discussed! Stay tuned!

  24. Stranger in a strange land says:

    As a compromise, since many of those who want the confederate monuments to stay say it is for their historical value and the perspective they give, I propose erecting a statue of President Obama of the same size in each park or government building where a confederate monument exists. This would clearly show how far we’ve come and add to the historical perspective provided by these monuments and the new one. It is something I would hope both sides of the debate could agree on.

  25. By the way says:

    “Zapper Flye: “So we define a person by 1 action in their life? Robert E Lee was more that what the media wants you to know, believe and feel. Which 1 moment in your life will we define you as?””

    Benedict Arnold was one of the the greatest Amirican Generals during the revolutionary war. Which one action is he defined by?

  26. thomas says:

    I admire the courage and strength of character of my Confederate ancestors.

  27. Anita m says:

    Well said Pierre. Removing the statues must happen.

  28. Barbara M says:

    I am shocked but not surprised at the comments from the other locals above. Thank you for the article, and for including a variety of opinions by others about the topic. It may be hard to see, but I believe that the mere fact that citizens are having this discussion is a good thing. OK, discussion is not really the word – most people are just venting views that seem to be as etched-in-stone as the statues and monuments themselves. Self-examination is tough – especially when we’ve been taught that this country is extraordinary — the best. We don’t really like to look at ourselves — we react with fear and defensiveness, and prefer to condemn the “other.” It may be time to really acknowledge — maybe redefine — who “we” are, as a people.

  29. Markingthedays says:

    My favorite Civil War monuments are the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.

  30. truth says:

    The south were racists who fought to continue human rights violations and crimes. We dont have statues for isis or the viet cong

  31. w.ryan says:

    Are we so debilitated with hate that right and wrong cannot be understood?
    This wikipedia is just a micro glimpse of why we cannot go back to this kind of history. Pierre…This article is why you are so important to Flagler.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_African-American_Civil_Rights_Movement_(1954%E2%80%9368)

  32. GOrwell says:

    “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

    ― George Orwell, 1984

  33. flagler1 says:

    Robert E Lee was once an instructor at West Point and U S Grant was one of his students. His home at Arlington was taken by the Union and is now Arlington Cemetery.

  34. a tiny manatee says:

    TBH Columbus committed literal genocide.

  35. BW says:

    It is interesting to read through the Facebook comments on this article and the other most recent FlaglerLive post along with discussions with others offline. Let’s be honest. The defense of the statues coming down isn’t about history. They weren’t Virginians who showed up. They weren’t historians that showed up. They were nazi flag wielding and nazi chanting hate group from as far as Canada. Being appalled by that is typically easy, but it wasn’t by our President and many rush to defend him now pointing blame elsewhere. So why don’t those defenders just be honest? Say what you have really wanted to say for the last 9 years when a black person became President and why you rally today behind the slogan of “Make America Great Again” . . . it’s about white privilege. Just be honest. This is not erasing history. Our history is preserved in many places . . . battlefields, Andersonville, museums, school lessons, etc. Many of the defenders can’t even name 5 battles of the Civil War or visit the many Memorials. These are symbols of hate that draw hate groups from the bowels of society to defend them. Reminders to non-whites of who lorded over whom. The reason for the rush to defend them is pretty obvious. Stop the game playing and just be honest for once.

  36. Fake news says:

    How in the world does a statue, (inanimate object) bludgeon a race, and idea, a relgion and so forth? A statue which is constructed out of marble, bronze, copper, whatever its made out of does not live, does not speak, does not oppress anyone. There is no other reason to take down other than to erase history which simply can not be done. First it was the klu kulx klan a demcratic party i may add, then the black panthers. There will be equal hate amongst the people of this world. There is no way to eliminate hatred there is no way to opress people. These facts arent facts at all, these stories remain jusy that stories. Once you open your eyes to ideas that fuel hatred, that fuel the monstrous acts of human beings on their own brothers and sisters do yiu truly see the demgraphics of the oppressed.

  37. JROCK says:

    “There is a class of people [Southerners] men, women and children, who must be killed or banished before you can hope for peace and order.”

    General William T Sherman

  38. a tiny manatee says:

    You know, this has really turned my opinion around on statues memorializing wars. I’m thinking about kickstarting some funds to build a giant bronze statue of osama bin laden at ground zero, anyone in?

  39. Carol says:

    It is long past time for all confederate monuments on public lands to be moved to museums or to private properties.

    Monuments are built to honor people or to commemorate an event. The majority of confederate monuments were erected in the 20th century during the height of jim crow. The motivation for these monuments has more to do with intimidation of African-American and the reinforcement of jim crow laws than it has to do with honoring confederate soldiers.

    The confederacy was an insurgent movement of people who traitorously attack their own country for the right to own other people. The confederate monuments are a slap in the face to every man and woman who ever wore the uniform of the UNITED States who swore to defend this country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. The confederacy was a domestic enemy. It was as much an enemy to the United States as Germany and Japan were in WWII.

    The losing side of war does not get to build a monument in the country that wins. Where’s the Japanese monument at Pearl Harbor?

    To say these monuments are “history” is bogus. Germany didn’t need to keep the Berlin Wall in place to remember the years of division. Eastern Europe didn’t need to maintain statues of Stalin to remember its years of domination. Statues of Saddam Hussein were toppled by US troops when he was driven out. Was history erased when these monuments to tyranny were toppled? If it were, why do we all know about it today?

    History is served by memorials to honor the memory of the victims of history — I’ve been to Auschwitz. There are no memorials of the SS guards. There are memorials to the victims. I saw pictures of the victims. I saw the names of the victims. The Nazis, the guards were not honored.

    Confederate monuments commemorate slavery and the men who were willing to commit treason to preserve slavery. They were erected to continue to demean, dehumanize, and humiliate African-Americans.

    The confederacy lost the war. It was defeated more than 150 years ago. It is time to admit defeat, remove the monuments, ban the battle flag, and move on.

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