Why It’s Wrong to Tear Down Monuments

The events, and the Nazi and White Nationalist protesters, in Charlottesville this past weekend were disgusting.

To see so many people united in a hatred of those that are different from them, it shows that this country has a serious problem. A problem that can’t be solved or quelled quickly.

But does this help anything?

The destruction of property, but not only that, the destruction of our own history.

In this case, it was a statue of a confederate soldier in Durham, North Carolina. The statue was dedicated in 1924, and depicts a confederate soldier next to his rifle. Beneath the soldier, on the concrete pillar, is engraved “In memory of the boys who wore grey”. The statue isn’t in itself racist, instead it’s a memorial to hundreds of thousands of men who fought and died in a terrible war that nearly tore our country apart.

I think we can all agree that slavery is a terrible institution, and that no one (excluding the marchers in Charlottesville) would ever defend it as a noble cause. But I don’t think that glorifying slavery is the point of many of these monuments.

They’re simply a reminder of a much different time in history, a time that should be remembered, if only for the lessons that can be learned from it. That hatred can divide, and tear apart a great nation.

We shouldn’t seek to make judgement on a certain time or people, but rather to understand them and the circumstances that existed in their time. Should we tear down the Jefferson Memorial because he owned slaves? Or should we study the times in which he lived and realize that good or bad, this is the history we have. Let’s not judge history, but strive to understand it and use the lessons learned from blood shed and battles fought.

It’s a cliche, but somehow forgotten phrase these days.

Let’s focus on conversations and action on how to move forward, to make our country and world greater. Let’s focus on stopping hatred here and now, not on tearing down monuments designed to teach and not to preach.