Confederate statues need to come down from parks and public buildings because erecting a statue is to honor the legacy of a person and their contribution to our democracy.
One could argue that an individual’s contribution to our democracy transcends their other less noble qualities. However, this argument cannot be made for the Confederacy, because it contributed nothing to our democracy. They did not stand for a greater value that could supersede their defense of slavery. The only value they ever stood for was the defense of slavery which cannot be excused by context because the country and world had already begun to recognize slavery as immoral. Therefore, no one from the Confederacy is deserving of a statue.
The real irony of this issue is found in the hypocrisy of the people who defend the confederate statues. These same individuals are quick to call leakers and whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden unpatriotic because of their “treachery.” However, they do not mind celebrating individuals who lead a revolt in an attempt to overthrow the U.S. government. Perhaps Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem is not so bad if Robert E. Lee can be praised for fighting a war against it.
The hypocrisy does not stop there; this is the same side that fights affirmative action because they ‘believe in a meritocracy but will defend participation trophies for confederate soldiers. The history of the Civil War is clear: The Confederacy lost. A true meritocracy requires that losers not be rewarded. By their own ideals, they should be happy to move these statues from the public eye and into museums where antiquated things belong.
It does not take a genius to see why the descendants of slaves should not have to pay for monuments of individuals who would seek to perpetuate their oppression. This issue is not about a failure to empathize, but rather about outdated minds clinging to old values in an attempt to not be swept away in the current that is also eroding the privileges that were once their safety net. It is not that they are being cheated, it is that they are now going to have to play fair.
One could say that this push to remove confederate statues is a spur of the moment re-writing of history but what they do not realize is that there has always been a disdain for confederate paraphernalia by minority communities. It was not until Republicans elected an orange hand puppet for white supremacy that reasonable politicians realized their partisanship was overriding their conscience.
Even if the case was that minority communities were late calling for the removal of confederate statues, it would not be any less justified. It would be another trend that the racists started, since confederate statues were not erected in the four years that the civil war raged on, or even after. In fact, the statues were not erected until almost a hundred years later when the civil rights movement was in its prime as a tactic to intimidate African-American communities.
The moral of the story is that anyone who defends confederate statues does not have a logical justification for doing so. They are only attempting to hang on to monuments that reassure them that they have some sort of high ground over any demographic that does not match that of the confederate army.
– Carrington Tatum is an electronic media sophomore