Statue Limitations

 

 

There’s a statue of a man on public display in a major American city. He was a successful white man who owned slaves. He raped one of his teen slaves repeatedly and she bore his children. He committed treason when he rebelled and  fought against the country where he grew up.

So is anyone demanding this statue be removed? Not that I’ve heard of. The man is Thomas Jefferson, founding father, author of the Declaration of Independence  and third President of the U.S.

So why is the statue of a rapist slave owner, the centerpiece of  a national  monument  in Washington, D.C. acceptable while  the statue  of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville is not?

Honestly, I don’t know if the statue should stay or go. I can understand both sides of  the issue. I understand why it is offensive to some people to see a statue of a man who fought for enslavement of their ancestors. But I also understand why people see the statue of Lee and other southern generals as a part of our history and culture, the  same way Andrew Jackson,  a brutal soldier who practiced genocide, is remembered. Have there been any calls for his portrait to be pulled from U.S.  currency or off the walls of the White House and other government buildings? Nope.

Think about your own life, about something  from your past that you  desperately regret that you did. You’d like to go back and undo it, but you can’t. You’re stuck with it, ashamed of it, don’t  like  to think  about  it. Overall,  you’re probably a good person who made a bad mistake. What you can do is learn from it and not make that mistake again. That’s the way  it is with our country too.

You’ve heard of slippery slopes? This issue is the monster mountain of all slippery slopes. Just for example, there was once a country that practiced slavery from its founding  until it was  forced to free its slaves by use of military force.  What was this evil country? No, not the CSA.  I’m talking  about Texas. But while the Confederacy is so evil, statues of its leaders are being taken down, the statues of leaders of the slave country of Texas  are revered. This makes no sense to me.

It gets worse. The United  States of America was founded  as a slave nation.  Slaves were quantified  in the U.S. Constitution as 3/5 of  a human being. Think about it. The United States was a slave nation during the 18th and 19th centuries. George Washington, the father of the country, owned slaves.

You know who else practiced slavery? Every country that’s been around a few hundred years. Slavery used to be an acceptable situation. The Bible endorses  it.  So I guess we have to condemn most of the countries on earth for their slave nation past. And  if  you can’t  fly  the Confederate flag because it was a slave  nation, you also shouldn’t fly the flag of the U.S., Texas or most of the countries on earth.

You know, I don’t much care if the statues stay or go. It’s not that important to me. I wasn’t  planning  any  statue  tours anyway. I wouldn’t  mind if they stayed, I wouldn’t miss them if they’re gone. 

But I do think we need to all calm down and realize you can’t erase our racist past. And we need to realize that nearly all countries  have a racist past, practiced slavery, bigotry, and used violence and even genocide against  people  of color. If we can balance the evil side of Jefferson,  Jackson and Sam Houston against  all the good they did, maybe the anger over the southern generals is overblown.

As a country, the problem is that our racist past is still alive. That racists, neo-Nazis, and White Supremacists are turning violent on our streets is an alarming warning that the thinking that denigrated  some people to lower status in our history is alive and kicking, and punching,  and ramming people  with a car.

Why don’t we just accept that our country has a racist history, and  try to make  that a thing of the  past?  We  can’t  change what happened, getting  rid of statues is slim comfort, and  the only thing we  can do now  is try to stop  racism and prejudice of all kinds in the present. Let’s not forget  the lessons of our slave nation past so  we can have a better future for  all our people.

 

 

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