The staff here at NobodyisFlyingthePlane recognizes the subtlety and nuance of opinions and points of view in the debate over Confederate monuments and symbols. But just having an opinion doesn’t make it valid. Beside you know what they say about opinions and assholes, “when your opinion looks and smells like one we don’t want a monument to it in front of City Hall”.
Confederate heritage is the heritage of anti-American slave owning racist rebels who lost a war. We could allow for a desire to memorialize Southern heritage, but we should not tolerate symbols of hate, racism, and white supremacy for this purpose.
The Civil War was fought to preserve a racist slave-owning way of life. Debating this doesn’t produce valid reasons to memorialize the Confederacy. Confederates attempted to defeat the US military and in so doing end the United States of America. You can’t simultaneously exalt Confederate heritage and American heritage, they are mutually exclusive. You can have your opinions, you can speak your opinions, we just can’t tolerate their enshrinement in public spaces.
Confederate memorials, statues, and other symbols have always represented the pro-slavery, white supremacy view, and as such they are harmful to American principles of inclusion and equality. Most important, and what is presently being more fully realized, is that they are more than just symbols. They are actual tools of oppression. The impact of living under and conducting business under these symbols is real, it’s quantifiable, and it has significant negative impacts on the lives of American citizens. The perceived right to remember the past does not compare to the real need for equality without oppression.
It’s easy to say, and certainly true, that there are many battles to fight for equality which have greater significance than the monument battle, but this battle is about symbolism and it has widespread consequences and deeply felt effects.
Critics say there has often been a very thin line between many of those trafficking in Confederate history and purveyors of white supremacy. The Confederate battle flag, which was reborn as a powerful symbol for segregationists during the days of integration, has long been a favorite totem of the racist right and groups like the Ku Klux Klan.
Many of the monuments went up between 1890 and 1920, when white elites reconsolidated their power over Southern state governments, said W. Fitzhugh Brundage, chairman of the history department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Having been angrily sidelined during Reconstruction, the whites newly in control were busy enshrining into law racially discriminatory and segregationist ideas.
While many of the inscriptions on the monuments were vague or anodyne, Professor Brundage said, the dedication speeches were often brutally frank.
“You can often find very clear invocations of the obligation of white Southerners to defend and promote Anglo-Saxon civilization, as they put it,” Professor Brundage said. One example: a speech delivered at his university in 1913 at the dedication of a Confederate soldier statue that has come to be known as “Silent Sam.” The speaker, a Confederate Army veteran named Julian Carr, boasted of how, just after his return from Appomattox, he “horsewhipped a Negro wench” who had “maligned a Southern lady.”
As the civil rights era dawned, Old South symbols re-entered the mainstream of Southern politics. In 1948, a party of breakaway, pro-segregation Democrats known as the Dixiecrats adopted the Confederate battle flag. And as Southerners zealously resisted federal efforts aimed at integration, the number of public Confederate displays and tributes surged across the South. Georgia incorporated the battle flag into its state flag in 1956, and, in 1962, the battle flag began to fly over the South Carolina State House.
In Monument Debate, Calls for an Overdue Reckoning on Race and Southern Identity https://nyti.ms/2v9GHrH