Once again, a violent riot ensued today over removal of a statue of the long-departed Robert E. Lee. A statue: a block, a stone, a worse than senseless thing–has been the cause of injury and death.
I propose a policy, nationwide, that we let these metal men stand where they’re planted. They can take eggs, tomatoes and excrement in the face without blinking their metal eyes. Their mounts won’t kick or rear if their flanks are spray-painted with obscenities. Kill’em over and over, clean ’em up and do it again. It’s better than hurting your fellow Americans.
Because the point about ’em is: they were here. They are a part of our history. There are people in Charlottesville whose grandparents fought in the Civil War.
Are we still allowed to have statues of Lincoln? To read the Gettysburg Address, you’d think the “great civil war” was “great” not only in scope, but in the sense of “momentous”. The nation had been “brought forth” on this continent–but whither now? The war was a test, a trial of destiny.
People sometimes say, disparagingly, that the US was the only nation that had to fight a civil war to get rid of slavery.
That’s because the practice was instituted here by the colonizing nations: England, France, Spain, the Netherlands, who did not import it into their homelands, and who were able to leave the issue and the slaves behind, on our soil, when they pulled out of their colonies.
The fact that so many of us died fighting for freedom is something we should all be proud of.
Slavery had held us back. Under the sharecropper system after the Civil War (63% whites, 100% freemen) we grew more cotton than ever before. We bankrupted Egypt.
Lee was on the wrong side, whatever his personal qualities.
But he was part of that great trial by fire, testing whether this nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated could long endure.
Leave him and the other metal men in place, to remind us that we passed that test.