Remember how the terrorist movement ISIS has been on a years long crusade to erase the history of other cultures it objects to in the Middle East?
THE beheadings, this time, were performed with hammer and drill, not sword or knife—for the victims were made of stone, not flesh. The destruction of ancient statues (some replicas) at the Mosul museum in Iraq, a video of which was released on February 26th, is far from the most heinous crime committed by Islamic State (IS). The jihadists have killed thousands of people, often in grisly fashion. But the group’s sacking of holy sites and libraries are elements of a broader attack, perpetrated in the name of Islam, on the Middle East’s rich cultural and religious heritage.
What does it say when a newspaper advocates for a similar erasure of history, as the Argus Leader does in an editorial this weekend:
We believe there is a difference between learning from history and paying unexamined reverence to a whitewashed version of the past. The removal of Confederate statues and monuments from public lands is appropriate.
“The removal of Confederate statues and monuments from public lands is appropriate.” Wow. Calls for censorship coming from a newspaper are nothing less than shocking. As opposed to “comforting the afflicted, and the afflicting the comfortable,” the Argus Leader’s editorial board is choosing to lead by joining the groupthink mob.
I can’t help but ask in opposition to their call for hiding away all the things we disagree with, who is paying “unexamined reverence” to any work of public art?
Isn’t the point of art to make us think? To make us contemplate?
I would not give a statue of a Confederate soldier any more undue ‘reverence’ than I would a bronze statue of a president on the corner in Rapid City. They don’t place statues with the ability to control our minds. They are there to make us remember our nation’s history in our own context. Warts and all.
Right now, context matters little to the mobs. The zealots are going so far to damage civil war peace memorials, because they think they somehow glorify the Confederacy. In another case, people were damaging trees at a civil war museum with baseball bats. Seriously, trees now too?
It’s hard to contemplate anything when mobs of ideological zealots are destroying anything they don’t like. And it’s even worse when they’re joined by those who claim to be our local opinion leaders, such as the Argus.
Nationally, calls for censorship have gotten so bad lately that the people who run the Gettysburg Battlefield made a statement about confederate monuments at that location:
Katie Lawhon, a senior adviser for the National Park Service’s Gettysburg office, told the Reading Eagle that the monuments dedicated to Confederacy will remain in place. They’re an important part of the cultural landscape, she said.
The National Park Service owns and maintains the Gettysburg site. It includes over 1,300 statues, markers and other monuments, which help tell the story of the battle.
Thirty of the monuments are dedicated to Confederate states that sent troops to the battle, Confederate military units or individuals like Robert E. Lee.
“The National Park Service is committed to safeguarding these unique and site-specific memorials in perpetuity, while simultaneously interpreting historically and objectively the actions, motivations and causes of the soldiers and states they commemorate,” she wrote in an email, the Eagle said.
The staff at the Gettysburg Battlefield national memorial actually felt they had to make a statement about safeguarding our nation’s heritage. What does that say about how far some people are willing to go?
We should be collectively shocked there are those who want to erase any mention that a nation took up arms against itself – including families fighting on opposite sides of the conflict. Are we not supposed to remember a conflict that shook our nation to its core?
Stating the intent to keep the monuments at Gettysburg National Battlefield would appear to be contrary to the Argus’ Editorial board’s demand that “The removal of Confederate statues and monuments from public lands is appropriate.” You might say “well, that’s an extreme example,” but, isn’t it what they said should happen? Those are public lands. And that’s where their path of censorship inevitably leads.
More than ever we need to recall the terrible price we paid as the nation was divided, and we fought amongst ourselves. Even as self-appointed thought leaders call for all reminders to be hidden.