The Archetypical Lee

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38 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    To be clear, I’m more than willing to see the statues taken down for all the right reasons.

    However, if we’re going to change a culture we can’t pretend that deeply held convictions about heritage don’t exist and recognize that they are not universally negative.

    I am always opposed to voices being silenced by fear…

  2. John 20:29 says:

    i’ve got too many comments here this weekend… but Michael has posted such a reasoned and rational post today that i have to add an amen…

    we’ve got racism on the run, but we won’t gain any ground by devolving into street fights in the name of combating bigotry… people who feed on hate are destructive people

    a word check on the ESV version uses the word ‘hate’ some 90+ times… almost all reserve the right to use that severe judgement to God, Himself… thank God for grace

  3. Michael says:

    Thank you, Em.

    It’s been a long time since I’ve been this nervous about posting an article…so I may just read your comment and skip the rest. 🙂

  4. Excellent commentary.

    I am an unhyphenated America born and raised in New York City. My grandfather is from Florence, South Carolina and my grandmother from the Barbados. Up until a decade ago, I was a Democrat and earlier on in my life quite radical. I held the extreme views of many demanding that the Confederate monuments be removed, etc. and can honestly say that none of this is about race, African Americans, the enslavement of our ancestors and/or the Civil Rights movement.

    The left wields race, African Americans, the enslavement of our ancestors, the Civil Rights era as a weapon to achieve power while oppressing those who speak out. The past eight years has been overkill.

    The removal of Confederate monuments will not re-write history, although if they are successfully destroyed (that is the end game), the left will eliminate a chapter of our history from the books…for starters.

    ‘Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.’

  5. John 20:29 says:

    i grew up in the 1940s in a household where Christ was the ultimate authority and racial hatred was anathema* … perhaps, instead of tearing down these statues of Confederate leaders, we could place statues of Abraham Lincoln right beside them and then a lovely informational plaque of the history of the era placed prominently and honest …

    *i saw grace in action

  6. Michael says:

    PUMABydesign001,

    “none of this is about race, African Americans, the enslavement of our ancestors and/or the Civil Rights movement.”

    For many people it is exactly about those things and thank God we have folks who are passionate about such matters.

    Broad brushing entire groups is exactly what I’m protesting here…

  7. AA says:

    Interesting, if the memorials were such an issue why was it not addressed in 2008-2016?

  8. Michael says:

    AA,

    We were in an entirely different political and cultural environment in those years.

    This is a discussion (about the memorials) that needs to be had and should have been had years ago…I’m only advocating that we listen to all people of good will on the matter.

  9. Descended says:

    I think PUMABydesign001 shares from experience and is not broad brushing groups but speaking to the manipulation of race and slavery as propagandized drivers of mob behavior on both sides. For some it has become about those things because they are propagandized and willfully ignorant of the opposition’s real, rational and thoughtful feelings. Pejoratives hurled at “traditionalists” (good term) are the verbal oppression meant to silence reason, and have been followed up with physical violence, so imuch so that it’s not irrational now to feel anxiety at simple acts like publishing such a well thought out post. In that PUMABydesign001 makes a great point and it is good to hear his/her experienced thoughts.

  10. Descended says:

    John 20:29

    Mobs are destroying statues of Honest Abe as well.

  11. bob1 says:

    Maureen Dowd, NY Times

    “There will be a lot of pain while this president is in office and the clock will turn back on many things. But we will come out stronger, once this last shriek of white supremacy and grievance and fear of the future is out of the system. Every day, President Trump teaches us what values we cherish — and they’re the opposite of his.

    My dad, a war veteran and decorated police hero, used to divide men into men and “weasels.”…

    For all the things he thinks make him a tough guy — his macho posturing, his Twitter bullying, his swaggering and leering talk, his vulgar references to his anatomy — he’s no tough guy if he can’t stand up to the scum of the earth. He followed the roar of the crowd to dark, violent places, becoming ever more crazed and isolated and self-destructive, egged on by the egotist and erstwhile White House strategist Steve Bannon but really led by his own puerile and insatiable ego.

    Donald Trump has shown a fatal inability to listen to his better angels and stay on the side of the angels.

    Or, as my father would say, he’s a weasel.

  12. Jean says:

    This article really makes me sad. Christians cannot even unify around the issue of racism. Look how far we’ve as American Christians have fallen from the Gospel of the One who we supposedly call Lord. We are a nation to be pitied. May the Lord have mercy on us.

    #4 reads in part:

    “I held the extreme views of many demanding that the Confederate monuments be removed, etc. and can honestly say that none of this is about race, African Americans, the enslavement of our ancestors and/or the Civil Rights movement.”

    What then were the Klan, Nazis, Alt-right and other white supremacists doing last weekend in Charlottesville if this is not about race?

    It’s true that statues will not change hearts, but they are tangible symbols of racism and oppression. I imagine that people of color would not care so much about these symbols if their white neighbors would grant them the dignity, equal justice under the law, and equal education opportunities that their white neighbors enjoy.

    If conservative white Christians cared as much about repudiating racism as they do about gay rights, transgender bathrooms and abortion, I think we could make progress on racial issues in this country. But as long as Christian pulpits are morally bankrupt, Christ is mocked.

    I can’t read minds and won’t attempt to read Trump’s mind or judge his morals, but his words give solace to racist elements in our country which encourage them to become more public and demonstrative. If Trump does not want their support, if he does not want racists to believe they have a friend in the White House, then Trump can easily remedy any misperception. It’s easy. He could do it tonight.

  13. Descended says:

    BTW,

    Tried to link from here on Heavy For the Vintage and it comes up as Chinese characters all over the place.

  14. Michael says:

    Jean,
    I have a lot of friends who are represented in this article.
    None are racists.
    They are as committed to Christ as I know you are.
    Having said that, I believe that we should hear them when they speak about what their heritage means to them.
    Simply telling people how things will be will not address the root issues we face together.

  15. Xenia says:

    My southern relatives are complaining that their culture is being destroyed.

    The culture they are nostalgic for is the one where blacks were kept as 2nd class citizens and subservient. Oh, the things I saw when we used to go down to North Carolina when I was a child to visit family…. like the “colored woman” who did 90 percent of the white family’s housework and went home at night to a shack on stilts in the middle of the tobacco field.

    I remember shopping in a department store and a black customer couldn’t get anyone to server her.

    My cousin had a stick that he called his N*** beater.

    This is the “culture” my cousins want back, the one when they were the undisputed lords of the land.

    I remember how upset they all were, including my own parents, when segregation came along. I remember hearing one cousin, who was a teacher, saying she didn’t want “colored” children in her school because “they acted like animals and jumped out of the windows.” These people are the cousins on FB screaming that their culture is being denied them. You know, things may be better nowadays in the South but there are a lot of people alive today who remember how things were. And how many people wish they still were. Those statues are symbolic of this. Tear them down, put them in a museum along with the photos of lynchings and the Klan hoods.

    Is is ALL about race.

  16. Xenia says:

    I believe that we should hear them when they speak about what their heritage means to them.<<<<

    Then listen to me because it's my heritage, too.

    And I utterly denounce certain aspects of it, the aspects symbolized by certain statues.

  17. Jean says:

    Here is the heritage, which would be preeminent in the heart of every Christian:

    “‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.”

    “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.”

    “[the tongue] is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.”

    No one is forced to be a Christian. But Christianity is not a Sunday morning hobby, ticket out of hell, or second tier allegiance.

  18. John 20:29 says:

    i am glad that no one here approves of racial segregation or superiority… but one might step back and ask themselves if the upheaval we’re watching is really wise? or one might ask, is it an intelligent response?
    let the white supremacist march, turn you back on him and ridicule his ideas when he’s finished his show… educate your children that all men may be created equal, but there’s good and bad in all of us…
    our differences are not going to be resolved in the streets, which does seem to bring out the worst of our mindless instincts
    let reason prevail

  19. Xenia says:

    The Christian standard is to avoid giving offense to your brother in Christ, not insisting on having your own way, especially when “your own way” glorifies the enslavement of your brother.

  20. Anne says:

    “… it’s my heritage,too.” My family, especially my father, were very racist as well.
    My African American friends’, sisters and brothers pain and memories of what those statues represent trump the feelings of my white family and friends hurt nostalgic feelings for a bygone era. Especially when most were only erected in recent history to protest the meager progresses that were being attempted during desegregation efforts of the Jim Crow era and the Civil Rights movement. IMV the moral injury to one group by far outweighs that to the other. I agree it is best they be removed from public spaces. What folks choose to do on own property and in cemeteries should be hands off.

  21. John 20:29 says:

    had to smile reading #15… i had to scold the brother of one of my daughter’s playmates years ago – they were playing a game of chase of some kind and the boy ran through the house, opened a bedroom window and jumped out – i won’t mention the skin color, not relevant… 🙂

    BTW, don’t insult your black brothers and sisters today by giving some a pass for calling for the assassination of the President, breaking windows, tearing down statues and other destructive acts on the basis that it is their right as they’ve gone thru an ugly past… those actors are an embarrassment and so are the rest of us who say something to the effect, “they can’t help it now – they’ve suffered so much”

    Martin Luther King was very wise, a builder, a hero who saved our American butts…
    i grieve over this craziness that threatens to undo the progress we’re making…
    our actions should show “the content of our character” – build more MLK statues…

  22. Anne says:

    This has to be one of the best things I’ve read on the subject. . Lengthy but well worth everyone’s consideration I believe. Scott Hicks shared a friend of his post about it on FB. BTW, Michael, following Mr. Hicks has been a pleasure.

    Mayor Mitch Landrieu explains why New Orleans decided to take down the Confederate monuments earlier this year.

    “Thank you for coming.

    “The soul of our beloved City is deeply rooted in a history that has evolved over thousands of years; rooted in a diverse people who have been here together every step of the way – for both good and for ill.

    It is a history that holds in its heart the stories of Native Americans: the Choctaw, Houma Nation, the Chitimacha. Of Hernando de Soto, Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, the Acadians, the Islenos, the enslaved people from Senegambia, Free People of Color, the Haitians, the Germans, both the empires of Francexii and Spain. The Italians, the Irish, the Cubans, the south and central Americans, the Vietnamese and so many more.

    You see: New Orleans is truly a city of many nations, a melting pot, a bubbling cauldron of many cultures.

    There is no other place quite like it in the world that so eloquently exemplifies the uniquely American motto: e pluribus unum — out of many we are one.

    But there are also other truths about our city that we must confront. New Orleans was America’s largest slave market: a port where hundreds of thousands of souls were brought, sold and shipped up the Mississippi River to lives of forced labor of misery of rape, of torture.

    America was the place where nearly 4,000 of our fellow citizens were lynched, 540 alone in Louisiana; where the courts enshrined ‘separate but equal’; where Freedom riders coming to New Orleans were beaten to a bloody pulp.

    So when people say to me that the monuments in question are history, well what I just described is real history as well, and it is the searing truth.

    And it immediately begs the questions: why there are no slave ship monuments, no prominent markers on public land to remember the lynchings or the slave blocks; nothing to remember this long chapter of our lives; the pain, the sacrifice, the shame … all of it happening on the soil of New Orleans.

    So for those self-appointed defenders of history and the monuments, they are eerily silent on what amounts to this historical malfeasance, a lie by omission.

    There is a difference between remembrance of history and reverence of it. For America and New Orleans, it has been a long, winding road, marked by great tragedy and great triumph. But we cannot be afraid of our truth.

    As President George W. Bush said at the dedication ceremony for the National Museum of African American History & Culture, “A great nation does not hide its history. It faces its flaws and corrects them.”

    So today I want to speak about why we chose to remove these four monuments to the Lost Cause of the Confederacy, but also how and why this process can move us towards healing and understanding of each other.

    So, let’s start with the facts.

    The historic record is clear: the Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and P.G.T. Beauregard statues were not erected just to honor these men, but as part of the movement which became known as The Cult of the Lost Cause. This ‘cult’ had one goal — through monuments and through other means — to rewrite history to hide the truth, which is that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity.

    First erected over 166 years after the founding of our city and 19 years after the end of the Civil War, the monuments that we took down were meant to rebrand the history of our city and the ideals of a defeated Confederacy.

    It is self-evident that these men did not fight for the United States of America, They fought against it. They may have been warriors, but in this cause they were not patriots.

    These statues are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, and the terror that it actually stood for.

    After the Civil War, these statues were a part of that terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone’s lawn; they were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city.

    Should you have further doubt about the true goals of the Confederacy, in the very weeks before the war broke out, the Vice President of the Confederacy, Alexander Stephens, made it clear that the Confederate cause was about maintaining slavery and white supremacy.

    He said in his now famous ‘Cornerstone speech’ that the Confederacy’s “cornerstone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”

    Now, with these shocking words still ringing in your ears, I want to try to gently peel from your hands the grip on a false narrative of our history that I think weakens us and make straight a wrong turn we made many years ago so we can more closely connect with integrity to the founding principles of our nation and forge a clearer and straighter path toward a better city and more perfect union.

    Last year, President Barack Obama echoed these sentiments about the need to contextualize and remember all of our history. He recalled a piece of stone, a slave auction block engraved with a marker commemorating a single moment in 1830 when Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay stood and spoke from it.

    President Obama said, “Consider what this artifact tells us about history … on a stone where day after day for years, men and women … bound and bought and sold and bid like cattle on a stone worn down by the tragedy of over a thousand bare feet. For a long time the only thing we considered important, the singular thing we once chose to commemorate as history with a plaque were the unmemorable speeches of two powerful men.”

    A piece of stone – one stone. Both stories were history. One story told. One story forgotten or maybe even purposefully ignored.

    As clear as it is for me today … for a long time, even though I grew up in one of New Orleans’ most diverse neighborhoods, even with my family’s long proud history of fighting for civil rights … I must have passed by those monuments a million times without giving them a second thought.

    So I am not judging anybody, I am not judging people. We all take our own journey on race. I just hope people listen like I did when my dear friend Wynton Marsalis helped me see the truth. He asked me to think about all the people who have left New Orleans because of our exclusionary attitudes.

    Another friend asked me to consider these four monuments from the perspective of an African American mother or father trying to explain to their fifth grade daughter who Robert E. Lee is and why he stands atop of our beautiful city. Can you do it?

    Can you look into that young girl’s eyes and convince her that Robert E. Lee is there to encourage her? Do you think she will feel inspired and hopeful by that story? Do these monuments help her see a future with limitless potential? Have you ever thought that if her potential is limited, yours and mine are too?

    We all know the answer to these very simple questions.

    When you look into this child’s eyes is the moment when the searing truth comes into focus for us. This is the moment when we know what is right and what we must do. We can’t walk away from this truth.

    And I knew that taking down the monuments was going to be tough, but you elected me to do the right thing, not the easy thing and this is what that looks like. So relocating these Confederate monuments is not about taking something away from someone else. This is not about politics, this is not about blame or retaliation. This is not a naïve quest to solve all our problems at once.

    This is, however, about showing the whole world that we as a city and as a people are able to acknowledge, understand, reconcile and, most importantly, choose a better future for ourselves, making straight what has been crooked and making right what was wrong.

    Otherwise, we will continue to pay a price with discord, with division, and yes, with violence.

    To literally put the confederacy on a pedestal in our most prominent places of honor is an inaccurate recitation of our full past, it is an affront to our present, and it is a bad prescription for our future.

    History cannot be changed. It cannot be moved like a statue. What is done is done. The Civil War is over, and the Confederacy lost and we are better for it. Surely we are far enough removed from this dark time to acknowledge that the cause of the Confederacy was wrong.

    And in the second decade of the 21st century, asking African Americans — or anyone else — to drive by property that they own; occupied by reverential statues of men who fought to destroy the country and deny that person’s humanity seems perverse and absurd.

    Centuries-old wounds are still raw because they never healed right in the first place.

    Here is the essential truth: we are better together than we are apart. Indivisibility is our essence. Isn’t this the gift that the people of New Orleans have given to the world?

    We radiate beauty and grace in our food, in our music, in our architecture, in our joy of life, in our celebration of death; in everything that we do. We gave the world this funky thing called jazz; the most uniquely American art form that is developed across the ages from different cultures.

    Think about second lines, think about Mardi Gras, think about muffaletta, think about the Saints, gumbo, red beans and rice. By God, just think. All we hold dear is created by throwing everything in the pot; creating, producing something better; everything a product of our historic diversity.

    We are proof that out of many we are one — and better for it! Out of many we are one — and we really do love it!

    And yet, we still seem to find so many excuses for not doing the right thing. Again, remember President Bush’s words, “A great nation does not hide its history. It faces its flaws and corrects them.”

    We forget, we deny how much we really depend on each other, how much we need each other. We justify our silence and inaction by manufacturing noble causes that marinate in historical denial. We still find a way to say “wait, not so fast.”

    But like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “wait has almost always meant never.”

    We can’t wait any longer. We need to change. And we need to change now. No more waiting. This is not just about statues, this is about our attitudes and behavior as well. If we take these statues down and don’t change to become a more open and inclusive society this would have all been in vain.

    While some have driven by these monuments every day and either revered their beauty or failed to see them at all, many of our neighbors and fellow Americans see them very clearly. Many are painfully aware of the long shadows their presence casts, not only literally but figuratively. And they clearly receive the message that the Confederacy and the cult of the lost cause intended to deliver.

    Earlier this week, as the cult of the lost cause statue of P.G.T Beauregard came down, world renowned musician Terence Blanchard stood watch, his wife Robin and their two beautiful daughters at their side.

    Terence went to a high school on the edge of City Park named after one of America’s greatest heroes and patriots, John F. Kennedy. But to get there he had to pass by this monument to a man who fought to deny him his humanity.

    He said, “I’ve never looked at them as a source of pride … it’s always made me feel as if they were put there by people who don’t respect us. This is something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. It’s a sign that the world is changing.”

    Yes, Terence, it is, and it is long overdue.

    Now is the time to send a new message to the next generation of New Orleanians who can follow in Terence and Robin’s remarkable footsteps.

    A message about the future, about the next 300 years and beyond; let us not miss this opportunity New Orleans and let us help the rest of the country do the same. Because now is the time for choosing. Now is the time to actually make this the City we always should have been, had we gotten it right in the first place.

    We should stop for a moment and ask ourselves — at this point in our history, after Katrina, after Rita, after Ike, after Gustav, after the national recession, after the BP oil catastrophe and after the tornado — if presented with the opportunity to build monuments that told our story or to curate these particular spaces … would these monuments be what we want the world to see? Is this really our story?

    We have not erased history; we are becoming part of the city’s history by righting the wrong image these monuments represent and crafting a better, more complete future for all our children and for future generations.

    And unlike when these Confederate monuments were first erected as symbols of white supremacy, we now have a chance to create not only new symbols, but to do it together, as one people.

    In our blessed land we all come to the table of democracy as equals.

    We have to reaffirm our commitment to a future where each citizen is guaranteed the uniquely American gifts of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    That is what really makes America great and today it is more important than ever to hold fast to these values and together say a self-evident truth that out of many we are one. That is why today we reclaim these spaces for the United States of America.

    Because we are one nation, not two; indivisible with liberty and justice for all, not some. We all are part of one nation, all pledging allegiance to one flag, the flag of the United States of America. And New Orleanians are in, all of the way.

    It is in this union and in this truth that real patriotism is rooted and flourishes.

    Instead of revering a 4-year brief historical aberration that was called the Confederacy we can celebrate all 300 years of our rich, diverse history as a place named New Orleans and set the tone for the next 300 years.

    After decades of public debate, of anger, of anxiety, of anticipation, of humiliation and of frustration. After public hearings and approvals from three separate community led commissions. After two robust public hearings and a 6-1 vote by the duly elected New Orleans City Council. After review by 13 different federal and state judges. The full weight of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government has been brought to bear and the monuments in accordance with the law have been removed.

    So now is the time to come together and heal and focus on our larger task. Not only building new symbols, but making this city a beautiful manifestation of what is possible and what we as a people can become.

    Let us remember what the once exiled, imprisoned and now universally loved Nelson Mandela and what he said after the fall of apartheid. “If the pain has often been unbearable and the revelations shocking to all of us, it is because they indeed bring us the beginnings of a common understanding of what happened and a steady restoration of the nation’s humanity.”

    So before we part let us again state the truth clearly.

    The Confederacy was on the wrong side of history and humanity. It sought to tear apart our nation and subjugate our fellow Americans to slavery. This is the history we should never forget and one that we should never again put on a pedestal to be revered.

    As a community, we must recognize the significance of removing New Orleans’ Confederate monuments. It is our acknowledgment that now is the time to take stock of, and then move past, a painful part of our history. Anything less would render generations of courageous struggle and soul-searching a truly lost cause.

    Anything less would fall short of the immortal words of our greatest President Abraham Lincoln, who with an open heart and clarity of purpose calls on us today to unite as one people when he said:

    “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to do all which may achieve and cherish: a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

    Thank you.”

  23. Xenia says:

    Thank you, Anne.

    By the way, up in my #15 I wrote That my relatives opposed segregation. I meant to say desegregation.

  24. i really couldn’t care less about statues. I do care about navigating such issues with wisdom and grace. Cultural tug of war usually misses the heart and only aggravates. I’m also reminded that people strongly against racism may not come up with the same solutions to the problem.

    Thanks Michael for posting your perspective.

  25. Jean says:

    Anne, Thank you.

  26. Years ago George Will wrote about racial equality when Frank Robinson was hired as the first black manager in Major League Baseball. Will lauded the achievement, but wrote that we will be much more equal when minorities are hired and FIRED for how they perform on the job. When we look less at skin color and more at moral character and community contribution.

  27. bob1 says:

    Can you name one MLB black manager who’s been kept on even when they’ve proven incompetent? Hard to believe.

  28. As to Will’s quote, I’m reminded it was given in the times of Affirmative Action.

    Robinson’s hire was groundbreaking. A bold move by the Cleveland Indians. At that time there was a fear (by some) that if Robinson was fired it would reopen wounds, because some would view the firing as racially motivated.

    As to Will’s quote I believe the point was when real equality exists, such a system (A.A) wouldn’t be needed. If we are truly equal, we won’t blame everything on race.

    I hope we get there. We have a lot of work to do.

  29. Re the NYT article.

    A really good read. I appreciated the final paragraph. We have come a long way, but let’s not kid ourselves that don’t have some difficult issues to unravel.

    I’m not beholden to any monuments, and there are times they must go (thinking Joe Paterno) but thinking there removal solves the issue of racism seems very short-sighted. How the statues are removed says much about us.

    We need another MLK.

  30. bob1 says:

    PH,

    Agree with and appreciate both your posts. I’m not particularly conservative but I do appreciate Geo. Will. He gets extra points with me because he’s been anti-Trump for a long time.

    And yes, we do need a modern-day MLK who shares his values.

  31. I’m so non political I didn’t think about Will’s politics. To me at the time (I was 14) it was just some commentary on baseball. 😀 I’m not without political views but I’m not interested in blindly aligning with a party. They’re all corrupted.

  32. bob1 says:

    Will doesn’t always write about politics. He also writes about baseball.

    What I’ve never liked about him is he’s often an ABC — Always Be Cranky.

  33. Duane Arnold says:

    “Whether or not it is true of him is beside the point…it was the ideals and the example we followed.”

    I could say much about this, but I will only say that I find it problematic to divorce following “the ideals and the example” without reference to the historical record of the man, his actions and his values. As someone who admired Lee for many years, I do not say this lightly. But divorcing history from “the ideals and the example” is how a myth is created… In this case a myth that has been harmful to a vast number of Americans for over 100 years.

  34. Descended says:

    So the U. of Texas at Austin is removing it’s confederate statues… they don’t want any violence on campus.

    I think this is really sad. Now it is by coercion? I think the statues should remain, whether or not they were raised in Jim Crow era. Lemme ‘splain…

    Y’know, I also have family in the South who refer to some stick in the house as a n***** beater, some cousins there who were even foreign missionaries who referred to their field as “dumb @$$ n-“. They were especially incensed that my brother would date (let alone marry) a black girl – ” You Californians sher do looove yer … ” My best friend at the time was black (and I suppose he is still). My mother raised us differently.

    Nevertheless my southern family are part of my heritage. Not only are they my family they are my fellow country men… of the obtuse variety. I cannot remove them or shut them up, nor should I be able to. Their statues they erected as free expressions should remain as they are a part of their expression of colorless, inane ideals if in fact that is what they stand for. Ugliness is integral to beauty.

    IMV, if they are to come down it should be via referendum. Not by mob mentality or under threat of violence. That is the best of the wrong choices. Sanctification of history only brings persecution of the righteous and I would challenge any historian to find an example where the nation that has done so did not wind up in a similiar or worse predicament within 100 years. Persecution of the ideals many like to wear around our necks or slap on our cars will be slower in arriving if it is done legally.

  35. Descended says:

    “…if it is done legally.” I mean by referendum.

  36. Surfer51 says:

    My mother gave me the middle name Lee after Robert E. Lee. I was born in Virginia where he was honored for his good qualities. Are they gonna one day require me to expunge my middle name?

  37. Ixtlan says:

    I guess blood is still thicker than water.

    I grew around a lot of Southern transplants who tried to get me to see the world differently than my Southern California ways. There is a sense of deep pride in their heritage coupled with a strong independent streak. Those three elements (the first: insisting everyone else think like them) are part of the ingredients needed for gun powder, and I saw plenty of that growing up.

    “Simply telling people how things will be will not address the root issues we face together.”

    No it doesn’t, rather it further exasperates an already volatile and complex condition. This is nothing short of coercion.

    The problem with addressing coercive measures is that it is a normal part of our lives and we often don’t recognize anything short of excess. Some mild forms of coercion are necessary in the course of any society, but things can quickly escalate into unwarranted violence. How many are willing to take a portion of the responsibility for the violence in Charlottesville recently? Lots of finger pointing, but little I’m afraid, in the realm of soul searching.

    It is often the case that we don’t take the time to discern the differences in apparently similar actions, or as Phil Smith put it, we assume that “All x is x.” It isn’t. What about the concept of weighing things and individuals on the plenary of their merit, contributions, and to some degree within the construct of the culture. In truth, we all grade on a scale in determining what universal or conventions apply, and which do not.

    As has always been the case, we have the extremes on both sides of the aisle attempting to further their cause and instruct us on how we should think. The problem is that most people would rather be told what to think, as long as it bears resemblance to their worldview, than to to take the time and ask questions and listen to other stories. I wonder whether the problem has always been that the table for this discussion has never been round and inclusive, for there are many voices that need to be heard in this conversation.

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