Today Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President of the NC NAACP, led a rally in downtown Hillsborough he called a "Press Conference For Historical Accuracy." Or, more to the point, it was a rally to protest North Carolina passing a law to make it illegal for local governments to remove historic monuments without State Legislature approval. I'm no fan of the state taking that authority away form local governments and the citizens that elected them. But, neither am I in favor of anyone removing historic monuments just because the causes they represent no longer appeal to us.
Historical accuracy - yes! I've said it before and I'll say it again: anyone who thinks removing confederate memorials is a good idea is just as foolish as anyone who thinks waiving a confederate flag is a good idea. The flag is clearly and irrevocably awash in racism. It was *created* to fly in battle in a war that was about slavery; it was *created* to rally troops to fight to keep slavery alive in the South. It was, pure and simple, in support of the wrong side of history - a Bad Cause.
But, good people fight for bad causes all the time. Every German soldier in WWII wasn't a mass murderer of Jews - most were simply fighting because their country was at war and that's what you do to support your country. Every US soldier sent to Iraq wasn't fighting for oil or some insane political ideology - they were soldiers bravely doing their duty when their nation called. Every confederate soldier wasn't in favor of slavery or even helped by it in any way - they were fighting for their homeland against hostile invaders. We should honor that bravery and that commitment to home in all soldiers.
Just because our Southern forefathers fought for a Bad Cause doesn't mean they were bad people. Tearing down monuments to their bravery is to pretend it never happened; it is an attempt to sanitize history of the mistakes we made. Sanitized history is not History at all. Remember the bravery of those who fought! Remember the mistakes made, remember how the 1% manipulated the non-slave-owning masses to fight for them, honestly celebrate the heroism of the good people caught up in fighting for a bad cause.
How can we learn from history and learn not to repeat it, if we tear down and hide away what we don't agree with? Is there no intellectual honestly anymore, are we all just lemmings getting caught up in faux outrage foisted on us by leaders of yet another Bad Cause?
Keep the monuments. Continue to educate people. Encourage open discourse on the meanings of the monuments and why we can honor individuals without honoring the cause their leaders sent them to die for. The Vietnam Veteran's Memorial in D.C. doesn't honor the cause those men were sent to die for, it honors the men themselves. Confederate memorials are no different and should remain for the same reason.