Posted by: Rachel | August 17, 2017

Let’s Get REAL History

Theres this problem I have with thoughts that careen in my head. Sometimes the only way to calm the thoughts, and keep them from overwhelming me, is to write them down. Most times I don’t share them but I still feel better. Theres something about having your thoughts on paper, or you know, a file on your phone or computer, that somehow helps to remove the burden. Right now I really don’t have time to write down this stuff, but I also don’t have time to deal with these thoughts banging around in my head. So if I have to choose between the two I think I’ll write.

Right now the thoughts that scream through my head are in regards to the confederate statues that some people want to take down and others want to keep up. First of all, I’m not overly enthused about the idea of statues in the first place. Maybe it’s the Amish blood in me, and the ‘make no graven image’ idea that they are so fond of. Maybe it’s because I think the concept of putting heroes on a pedestal, in this case literally, is fraught with many concerns. All people are flawed and messy, so all our heroes are flawed and messy. Some of us, and by extension some of our heroes, are more flawed and messy than others. And hero worship is just problematic in so many ways. I think we have a tendency to want to put people in either good or bad categories. It helps our mind to simplify things like that, but it isn’t realistic or helpful. There are people who are completely inspiring in one area of life but downright appalling in others.

So, these statues… I just saw a picture of a ‘General Lee on a horse’ statue. It was quite majestic. I’m sure it adds some type of visual beauty to the town it’s in. Our president has just been tweeting that if we take down the statues “the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns, and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!” Now I’m not sure that a comparable statue of another man on a horse wouldn’t be just as beautiful if the only point is to have beautiful statues that are aesthetically pleasing. So I do have to disagree with the president on that point. A man on a horse is a man on a horse. (Well, unless that man on a horse is a shirtless Vladimir Putin, then we have a whole different discussion.)

So now that we’ve covered the beauty part of the discussion we can move on to the historical aspect. There are those who are saying we need to keep the statues because of the historical value. I’m actually surprised how many otherwise reasonable people are arguing in favor of this. There is the argument that other heroes (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Jr. etc.) are also flawed and so will we tear down their statues? But the reason we have statues of those men is because the actual good, heroic, things they did. And the reason we have statues of confederate generals is because they were confederate generals. And I don’t consider being a confederate general to be a heroic thing at all.

If we truly are concerned about history then I propose that right next to each statue of a confederate soldier, general, whats0whosit, we put another statue. This statue would be just as big and just grand as the first. One of the statues could be of a field overseer brutally whipping a slave. The cuts on the slave’s back would be open and bleeding, and the anger on the overseers face would be glaring. Another statue could possibly be a scene where a slave family is separated because their master decided to sell one of the parents. And in a very controversial scene we could have a slave owner raping one of his female slaves. Because lets be honest, that’s part of the history. And slavery is what that war was about. End of story.

 

***I do want to add a disclaimer that I’m not sure it would be beneficial to actually have statues like this, but it might help put to rest the ridiculous idea that people want these statues for historical reasons.

 

 

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