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Not Honoring the Past or Rewriting History?
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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 4:48 pm    Post subject: Not Honoring the Past or Rewriting History? Reply with quote

It is probably about time for this topic to receive its own thread. This really started about two years ago with that "take down the Confederate Flag" that hit various State Legislatures. Fact: the flag which people identify as "the Confederate Flag" is actually the Second Confederate Navy Jack or the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia.

Work crews in New Orleans are removing a statue of Confederate general P.G.T. Beauregard. Proponents of removing these statutes have claimed that they are racially offensive while opponents state that the statues are merely monuments of history, events which actually happened featuring people connected to the city. Monuments in other cities have been removed in recent months and I see no downturn in this activity. Ultimately, virtually every monument commemorating some person or event from the Civil War will be removed under the guise of "it is racially offensive".

Are these people going to turn to gravestones next? Are they going to move to close and remove all monuments from national sites such as Vicksburg? Are they going to want to rename monuments named after people who owned slaves? If so, what are we going to rename the Washington Monument or the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D. C.?

Let us presume that they get everything they want--all monuments removed and/or renamed. How will we know that the Civil War happened? Without the ancillary documentation via these monuments all future generations have for proof are stories in books, books which could be edited to reframe events in ways which they did not happen or to present an agenda which was not actually present when the events took place. In short, removing all these monuments is tantamount to erasing history, pretending that it didn't happen.

Suppose we consider a black citizen who is the same age as me--late 40s. Chances are that as a young child they might have known their great-grandparent and that person probably would have been born around the times mine were, 1900 +/- 5 years. If they had conversations with their great-grandparent they might have heard stories of that older relative's parent or grandparent who actually participated in the Civil War (or were victims of it on either side). What this means is that my generation is the last generation to have secondhand stories of those events...and secondhand stories are usually anecdotal, at best.

Historical monuments are not meant to remind us only of the good things which happened in the past but also the ugly parts of it, as well. History must always be remembered with complete factual accuracy, not a sanitized version acceptable to millennials who get triggered by even the simplest words, phrases, or images via their fake quasi-PTSD personality. Removing these monuments will ultimately be a mistake.

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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why do we need monuments memorializing losers?

I'm as interested in Civil War history as anyone. But put them in a museum or something.

History will not be lost because you take down a few statues.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/05/17/528745474/one-more-to-go-new-orleans-takes-down-civil-war-generals-statue

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The statue at the main entrance to the 1,300-acre City Park is one of four that the City Council and Mayor Mitch Landrieu have targeted for removal in an attempt to put post-Civil War divisions to rest.

"While we must honor our history, we will not allow the Confederacy to be put on a pedestal in the heart of New Orleans," Landrieu said as the latest statue was being removed.


Don't think this is a big deal. The city wants to remove them. Let them remove them.

Want to honor the past? Add some generals representing the North to go with it like Grant and call it a proper Civil War Memorial Park.

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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kevinswatch wrote:
Why do we need monuments memorializing losers?


Sometimes monuments to losers are necessary. Besides, the losing side of a conflict is still part of history and their side needs to be told, as well.

I am not an advocate of the Confederacy nor am I a Lost Causer--only a fool would have thought they could have won when the War started given that the lack of infrastructure and manufacturing capacity were major setbacks. I am an advocate of leaving all memorials in place where they were originally set, though--if a particular statue or plaque "offends" you then don't look at it.

The handful of statues in New Orleans (or any other city) is not a big deal, in an of itself. The entire movement of "we must remove all memorials honoring the Confederacy" is a big deal and is an attempt to revise history, to clean it up and make it acceptable to those who do not have the fortitude to see our past for what it was, both good and bad. The things which happened happened and we need to remember how and why they happened so that we can learn from those mistakes and not repeat them.

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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I pretty much agree with everything you're saying. I agree we shouldn't try to forget the Confederacy, try to rewrite history.

However, I can see the point of view that having a bunch of Confederate Generals on pedestals as monuments can be viewed as "honoring" the wrong cause. What was the motivation for putting up those particular monuments in the first place? Was it noble? Or was it part of some "lost cause" movement?

My only point is if you want to truly honor the Civil War, represent both sides, since Americans fought on both sides of that war. If anyone complains then, then they're an idiot.

Or really, if you want to truly honor the war, do as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial does (which you reference as a good example), and honor the lives of all of the individual men and women who's lives were lost fighting on both sides of the war. The soldiers themselves. Those are the real heroes of the war. Not these silly Confederate Generals. (Although Robert E. Lee was pretty bad ass.)

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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the line between "honouring" and "memorialising" and "commemorating" is always going to be a fine and subjective one.

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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kevinswatch wrote:
However, I can see the point of view that having a bunch of Confederate Generals on pedestals as monuments can be viewed as "honoring" the wrong cause. What was the motivation for putting up those particular monuments in the first place? Was it noble? Or was it part of some "lost cause" movement?


Truthfully, many of the monuments in question were probably Lost Cause commemorations. All those "daughters of the confederacy" type organizations who proudly traced their heritage and featured people who might have worn the gray held a lot of social power at the city level for a long time. Many people in the South, especially in the decades immediately following the War, latched onto an idealized and romanticized version of what the Antebellum South never really was much like the way people romanticize Medieval Europe (most knights were not chivalrous defenders of honor but that time's equivalent of "thugs with badges").

I don't mind monuments in city parks being moved, as long as all the monuments are placed somewhere in a more centralized location where people may still view them such as an outdoor area specifically dedicated to historical markers. This makes certain that history--generally local history--is not lost. Monuments in cemeteries should remain in place--wherever my great-great-great-grandfather's (I think that is correct--5 generations back) headstone is it might have a Confederate flag on it because I know for a fact that his discharge papers have General Lee's personal signature on them (I took them to school for show-and-tell once).

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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree. I'd love to see more memorials to our past to remember our history.

I think as Av says, the issue is that fine line between memorials and monuments. The difference between remembering something and honoring it. But I'm sure that'll be something that will always be under debate, where that line is.

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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kevinswatch wrote:
I agree. I'd love to see more memorials to our past to remember our history.

I think as Av says, the issue is that fine line between memorials and monuments. The difference between remembering something and honoring it. But I'm sure that'll be something that will always be under debate, where that line is.

-jay


So...are you saying I should not honor my ancestors service because they were on the losing side?
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't say that. You can do anything you like. Should the public honor them? Different question.

And I think I've made it clear, my own personal opinion is that if they are going to honor one side of this all-American war, they should honor both sides. Or as I said, better yet, honor the lives of the soldiers who fought (as the Vietnam Memorial does), not these generals.

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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kevinswatch wrote:
I didn't say that. You can do anything you like. Should the public honor them? Different question.

And I think I've made it clear, my own personal opinion is that if they are going to honor one side of this all-American war, they should honor both sides. Or as I said, better yet, honor the lives of the soldiers who fought (as the Vietnam Memorial does), not these generals.

-jay


Bet you didn't know that as a percentage by rank, Generals died at higher rates than privates in the civil war. Most of them lead their men from the front. (unlike subsequent wars).
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

People have forgotten the real history of these monuments. After the War of Northern Aggression, there was a significant amount of people that wanted to hunt down and kill everyone that was involved in the war in the South. Branding them traitors and outlaws. But calmer more measured thinking prevailed. One of the most compelling arguments was that if they chose to do so, the South would fight to the last breath, prolonging the war for many years and perhaps beyond the ability of the US to survive and to unify the country. Instead they chose the side of mercy, and to allow the South to hold on to their pride and build what monuments that they wished to, to go home and honor their dead and the sacrifices there-in. It wasn't lost on the people of the time that these were their brothers and sisters, not some foreign invaders.

Thus we have in the south many monuments and memorials to the war. Those monuments that everyone is so ready now to tear down, helped unify this country.
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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am wondering. After all these monuments are taken down when will these
so call social justice warriors want to start rewriting the past history to
fit their own agenda?
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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's already happening. There's a meme running around Facebook with a picture of Nelson Mandela on it, and Trump's words about how he's the most persecuted politician ever. It's trying to point out that Mandela had it worse because he was imprisoned for years while Trump's just a hyperbolic blowhard. Trump's hyperbole aside, it's a BS meme. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned because he was a terrorist. He became a politician after he was released.
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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rawedge Rim wrote:
Bet you didn't know that as a percentage by rank, Generals died at higher rates than privates in the civil war. Most of them lead their men from the front. (unlike subsequent wars).


Actually I did know that (I spent a bit a time a while back learning about the Civil War as a hobby). But I don't see how that changes anything.

Maybe in this present age we need new ways of unifying this country. If New Orleans can accomplish that by removing these statues and putting something more unifying that we can all get behind in their place, then I am all for that.

-jay
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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kevinswatch wrote:
Rawedge Rim wrote:
Bet you didn't know that as a percentage by rank, Generals died at higher rates than privates in the civil war. Most of them lead their men from the front. (unlike subsequent wars).


Actually I did know that (I spent a bit a time a while back learning about the Civil War as a hobby). But I don't see how that changes anything.

Maybe in this present age we need new ways of unifying this country. If New Orleans can accomplish that by removing these statues and putting something more unifying that we can all get behind in their place, then I am all for that.

-jay


remind me again how removing the statues are unifying this country?
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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rawedge Rim wrote:

remind me again how removing the statues are unifying this country?
I think that Dems get used to saying, "Get along," "work together," and "unify" when what they really mean is, "Stop resisting us," "Do what as we say," and "Stop pissing us off." There is no attempt at compromise here, only the expectation that we adopt the Democrats' position. Whether the issue is diversity or unity, it always means the same thing.
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PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2017 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rawedge Rim wrote:

remind me again how removing the statues are unifying this country?


That won't happen because the two events (statues/monuments to people who were figures in the Civil War and racial disharmony in the United States) are two separate issues altogether. Even if every monument were suddenly removed today the other issue would not suddenly improve overnight.

Next will be the fight over monuments on private property. Will those have to be removed, as well? You know some people will push for that.

I must also reiterate that many of the people who claim that they find Civil War monuments "offensive" probably never knew an elderly relative who knew an elderly relative who was alive at that time. My great-grandmother died in 1985 and then I add a few years to account for the fact that knowing your elderly relative when you are younger than 5 isn't really knowing them, so anyone born after 1980 has absolutely no connection back to the Civil War era whatsoever. Besides, how long are people going to hold on to abuses and injustices in the past, abuses and injustices which do not directly effect them today? At some point you have to let the past go or the problem becomes *you*, not the abuses and the injustices done to your long-distant ancestors.

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PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thing is, I think that such "holding on" happens because it gives people a sense of identity.

Never really needed that feeling myself, (my identity is pretty solid), but I can see how people feel the need to identify with something greater than themselves or something.

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PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
Thing is, I think that such "holding on" happens because it gives people a sense of identity.

Never really needed that feeling myself, (my identity is pretty solid), but I can see how people feel the need to identify with something greater than themselves or something.

--A


Hi Avatar. You got me thinking, SA must also be dealing with this over the past years. And yes they are.

http://ewn.co.za/2015/04/07/Removal-of-apartheid-statues-an-insult-to-SAs-rich-history

But I'm not familiar with the cast of characters, sorry.
Or the Heritage Act.
I tried reading about Heritage Act but I couldn't find a good Wiki article on it that made it simple for me.

Are there any parallels in South Africa wanting to keep their pro-apartheid monuments to the Southern States in the US trying to hang on to their pro-slavery* monuments?

The Heritage Act passed in 1999. Not too long after apartheid ended.
Do you think it would pass today?

(*My apologies, I mean "pro-Southern right for the independence from Federal authority to continue slavery" monuments) Rolling Eyes
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PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
Thing is, I think that such "holding on" happens because it gives people a sense of identity.

Never really needed that feeling myself, (my identity is pretty solid), but I can see how people feel the need to identify with something greater than themselves or something.

--A


The failure here is that black people who build their self-identity around "black people used to be enslaved in the United States" are doing themselves a great disservice. Not every black person who came to the United States early on was a slave--in fact, not every black person in the Antebellum South was a slave--and not every black person in the United States today is a descendant of a slave. Building your identity around the past is a good way to miss out on both the present and the future. They cannot get past "yeah but slavery" to see the educational and economic opportunities which are here now, theirs for the taking if they would only reach out and take it.

Democracy Now! had an interview with Malcolm Suber, co-founder of the group "Take 'em Down NOLA". As I noted, not only does he also want all schools and streets renamed, but he thinks the monuments which have been/are being removed should be destroyed, not preserved in any manner. The IS is another group who like to go around and advocate destroying the past, as well.

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