The recent events in Charlottesville have focused on the White Supremacists and their offensive beliefs. All decent Americans reject the philosophy of this and other radical groups. What has been downplayed by the media is the reason for this group’s protest. The city of Charlottesville had decided to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee and rename the park in which the statue was located. The park will now be known as “Emancipation Park.” Slavery was a dark period in our nation’s history but if we reject anyone attached to slavery then we need to look at many of our founding fathers. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and up to one-third of the signers of the Declaration of Independence once owned slaves. If we apply the same rejection of anyone connected to slavery or the Confederacy, then we need to remove any remembrance of Presidents Washington and Jefferson. Must we therefore change the names of Washington, D.C. and Washington State? How about removing their images from our currency? Jefferson actually fathered children with one of his slaves.
The significance of history is what we have learned from it. We all make mistakes and we shouldn’t minimize the accomplishments of these great men because of their connection to slavery. These men lived at a time when many large property owners had slaves to help them manage their estates. Not everyone abused their slaves and most eventually emancipated their slaves before Lincoln’s proclamation. Confederate soldiers were not traitors and very few of them were wealthy enough to afford slaves. Most of them did not understand all of the issues they were defending. Robert E. Lee was actually torn between serving his country and serving his state. He (Lee) was defending the home he loved and was an honorable man. U.S. Grant realized this and treated Lee and his men with dignity in their defeat.
Tearing down Civil War monuments will not rewrite history. When we ignore history we are doomed to repeat it. The PC police and campus liberals are attempting to control thought by not allowing the expression of conservative points of view. Anyone who hasn’t read the book “1984” should do so. Thought control is a slippery slope and I fear we are headed in that direction. We need to reject extremism in all forms.