How correct is correct enough?
There’s an old saying: “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Whether or not that statement is true can be argued. But what about a statue or a monument? Can they hurt?
In light of recent events in Charleston, South Carolina, and the discussion in that state about the presence of the Confederate flag on the grounds of the state capitol, the conversation has turned not only to the Confederate flag, but to monuments around the country, including those in our backyard, about their placement.
We are familiar with the names of places like Lee Circle, even if we don’t know the story of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. We know what Nicholls State University is, but do we know Francis T. Nicholls was a brigadier general in the Confederacy?
If we begin to remove all vestiges of Confederate leaders, because we think to pay them homage with a statue, monument or naming honor, is somehow paying homage to the Confederacy and more significantly, to racism. But, how far will we go? Will all the monuments and statues, like the one in Lee Circle, be moved to a museum? Or will they be destroyed?
Once we begin removing these things, how far will we have to go to get rid of it all to make sure that everyone is happy?
How about the fleur-de-lis? Is it OK? Well it’s a French symbol dating back to the old historical monarchy. Guess what? The monarchy owned slaves. Is it now offensive? Does it now need to be done away with because of the so-called offensive connotations that it brings? See, one can find fault with just about anything in our world. At some point, we have to stop the bleeding, halt the investigation and just keep on living.
It’s a known fact that George Washington, the father of our country, owned slaves. Fellow former President Thomas Jefferson also owned slaves and is reported to have procreated with one of those slaves, creating a lineage of mixed race descendants.
Also close to home, our state’s only Supreme Court justice and for whom at least one local school is named, voted with the Court to uphold the “separate but equal” doctrine, which allowed segregated public facilities. But he also wrote the unanimous Court decision which struck down grandfather clauses in some southern states, which were used to keep blacks from voting.
The question is, how far will we have to go to remove all the memories of the Civil War and the Confederacy? And, if by removing these monuments, statues, names, will the outcome be the end of racism? Do these things cause racism or encourage it?
It is time that we, as a nation, realize that we cannot change the ways of all, but we can only encourage others to be better.
Removing statues, flags, signs and chapters from our history books will not rid our world of violence and tragedy – those things are an unfortunate byproduct of the world in which we live.
Instead of taking away that rubs one the wrong way, why don’t we instead educate and teach our current and future generations about where we’ve come from so that we can make it a point to do better and never again go along those same paths?
Instead of trying to pretend like the ways of the past never existed, why don’t we instead focus on how far we’ve come?
It is not a democratic government’s place to tell us what we can and cannot fly. It is not a democratic government’s place to monitor and control who we are or what we do.
It’s a democratic government’s job to lean on the freedom that it’s based upon and rely on those same freedoms to create a fair and just world for the people who live within it.
First, it’s creating laws regarding saggy pants. Next, it’s telling us that we can’t fly a certain flag. What exactly comes after that? What’s the next step?
We’re currently going down a pretty dangerous road with this all and it’s time that we stop this trend in its tracks and yield back some power to our people.
After all, that is what the United States of America was founded upon, right? The land of the free and the home of the brave?
Let’s go back to those days. Those days were better than some of the debates that we have going on in today’s world.