- The Washington Times - Monday, May 15, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Revising history, tearing down history and carting away history — all for the sake of saving someone’s hurt feelings — is a despicable trend of late that’s been prompted in large part by minority groups that have finally found a voice.

But Richard Spencer, you’re not helping. You’re actually fueling racial flames and aiding the other side’s arguments.

Spencer, a self-described white supremacist, just led a chant-filled protest — complete with torches and calls to preserve “white heritage” — to save a Robert E. Lee statue from being removed from its Charlottesville, Virginia, spot.

In April, the City Council voted to sell the statue, which has stood in its Lee Park spot since 1924 as a proud symbol of the Confederacy. The Confederate Veterans, Sons of Confederate Veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy were given charge of unveiling the monument, which was seven years in making.

“It was … presented to the city on May 21, 1924, during a Confederate reunion,” according to the “History of Lee Park” section at Charlottesville.org. “As part of the ceremony, one hundred cadets from the Virginia Military Institute paraded through the center of Charlottesville decorated with Confederate colors.”

The monument was a memory of the South’s struggle, the inspiring and courageous leadership of one of America’s greatest strategic generals and a recognition of those who fought and died in the fight against the Union.

It was not, as today’s special rights groups would have it believed, a symbol of racism.

But Spencer, one of the leading voices to keep the statue in place, is making it seem that way.

“What brings us together is that we are white, we are a people and we will not be replaced,” he said, during this past weekend’s protest and march through the city, New York Magazine reported.

And in another and earlier protest, broadcast on Periscope video, Spencer also said: “You will not replace us. You will not destroy us. You cannot destroy us. We have awoken. We are here. We are never going away.”

How is this rhetoric helping, though?

Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors and a contender for governor of Virginia, has made the statue one of his political causes, saying it has historical value and its removal is little more than “political correctness” run amok.

And on that, he’s quite correct. Removing the Robert E. Lee statue is a travesty. Charlottesville isn’t the only city facing such a fight; in fact, hundreds of similar Confederate symbols are planted in spots across the South.

Rightly so: The region is rich with Civil War history. These statues and monuments recognize those who fought. Stripping the South of these memories would be as wrong as stripping the country of the likes of the monuments of Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson in Washington, D.C. Feeling offense should not be the standard by which our histories are recorded and recognized in monuments.

But Spencer’s only fueling the side of the anti-Confederate monument crowd by giving voice to their concerns — that the monuments are testaments to racism. It’s the same argument that stripped the Confederate flag from places of public property flying, like South Carolina’s Capitol.

The only hope for those who truly want the monuments of the South to stay for reasons related to somber historical record is to disavow the rhetoric of Spencer and to stand as far apart from the guy during protest gatherings as possible.

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