I previously touched on erasing our past in my letter to my liberal friends. I’d like to expand on that concept a bit, kind of explain where more of that came from. In addition to erasing people from the past, or changing their roles, we’ve been on a kick to tear down old monuments. Naturally I’m referring to monuments related to the Civil War. Specifically, anything representing the South in the Civil War.
They say history is written by the victorious, but who knew they’d keep doing it 150 years later? But allow me to let you in on a little secret. Those monuments? Those people, places and situations that they represent? They’re there as reminders. Those aren’t monuments of pure evil, they don’t represent the ultimate showdown between Good and Evil. They’re simpler and also more complex than that. They represented a way of life, a philosophy, a dying livelihood, fear, hope and a million other human conditions. They are friends, family and fellow people on opposite sides of the bloodiest time in our history. And yes, that history includes slavery, cruelty, and general inhumanity. One hundred and fifty plus years later we are still fighting a variation of all those issues despite the war.
Let me ask you this. Were you truly surprised about the rise of President Trump? The racism that surrounded him and some factions that supported him? Did you think we had abolished it? Did you not see the monuments? Look at them and be reminded. And if that does not spur you to action, real action and not that burying of your head in the sand, then question how comfortable you have become with the status quo. Many people scoffed at the idea that being black in America opened them up to problems that most white people never face. They scoffed even as the evidence mounted. They scoffed even as others rose up. They evinced surprise and outrage in the run up to elections of 2016. “How could this happen? Didn’t we already deal with this?” they cried.
They stopped seeing the monuments. How much worse if they weren’t there at all?
Eliminating scars means eliminating memories. We learn from our scars. Well, if we learn at all.