civil rights, civil war, robert e Lee


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I had many ideas for my blog this month, but one piece of news I heard just struck me as wrong, and I felt it worth writing about. I heard recently that some civil rights activists find it offensive that statues and memorials commemorating the American civil War remain standing, and they want them torn down as if destroying them and the memories of history would change our problems today.
I didn’t agree with removing the Confederate flag from government offices, but I understood. That flag is often used to represent the immoral, often illegal, views of white supremacists, and ideals which never belonged in American society. On the other hand. The Confederate flag is an important part of American history that deserves to be flown in some areas if only in memory of the 660,000 people, mostly young white men, who lost their lives during those horrible four years to free the slaves and reunite the country.
The news I found to be as naïve and ill-conceived as just about everything these activists do was pulling down the statues of Confederate General Robert E. Lee as if he were some evil villain rather than the Sothern hero he was thought of during the war.
Robert Edward Lee, who graduated first in his class at the West Point Military Academy would be considered one of America’s greatest military generals if he hadn’t been a Virginian who decided to fight for his country, the Confederate States of America. He was best known for his ability to get the most out of his men and commanders .After early victories in 1861-1862, Lee was widely considered a southern hero, and it is conceivable that if his North Virginia army hadn’t been so decimated at the battle of Gettysburg, they could have moved on toward New York City or even Washington D, C., and we’d all be speaking with a southern accent while the rights issues would be far worse. Instead, he was forced to retreat, never to mount a major offensive into the north again.
What I fail to understand, is at what point did Lee go from being the southern hero to a villain, and if we tear down his monuments, wouldn’t we have to tear down monuments to founding fathers like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson who were slave owners? That would mean defacing much of Washington D, C. and even Mount Rushmore. Who would you put in Washington’s place, Obama? Obama never raised a finger for civil rights.
Another thing I find sad about the entire idea, is hat Mississippi, Georgia, and Louisiana are three of the largest southern states and are among the lowest five in the country when it comes to education levels. Unless Lee were the one that paid their cable, mobile phone and car bills, most people in the south don’t have the education to know Robert E. Lee from Adam.
So why deface and deny history as if it could change things? There hasn’t been any race riots or whit police killings colored people recently. The activists haven’t had anything to stir up the flames, so they find ill-informed, poorly thought-out methods of grabbing the news.
I say stop trying to deface history. It changes nothing.