Monday, July 13, 2015

Knocking Down Statues Won't Change The Past

That's what Jacquielynn Floyd said in her The Dallas Morning News column after some vandal spray painted the word "SHAME" on the base of the grand statue of General Robert E. Lee on horseback in Dallas's Lee Park.

How about instead of "knocking down" statues, we just move them to a museum hall of shame? Moving from a place of honor a statue of a man who led a white supremacist army in rebellion against the United States of America won't change the past. But it does quit honoring that shameful past. If you insist on keeping our shameful history on public display, at least put up a prominent plaque explaining that shame. No one would spray paint that.

The only ones who want to change history, to forget the past, are the ones who want those majestic monuments to remain untouched, without a word of context explaining our shameful racist history, pretending the statues honor heritage, not hate. Leaving those statues alone is what puts us at risk of forgetting our past.

Some might say I'm attaching too much importance to this, slavery is dead and gone and isn't coming back, today it's just a statue. I don't believe in leaving a pile of horseshit in the middle of the road because the cavalry isn't coming back. Removing it is an affirmative statement that this generation no longer wants to step around the horseshit. If you can't bring yourself to do that, at least put up a warning plaque with the word "HORSESHIT" on it and an arrow.

1 comment:

Mark Steger said...

Some want it removed. Some want it to remain. Here's a compromise I haven't heard suggested before. Leave the statue alone. Don't even put up a plaque. But don't clean and polish it anymore either. Let the birds shit on it. Let the weeds grow around it. Let it gradually take on the appearance of the dustbin of history that it so rightly belongs in.