Charlottesville is coming to a city near you — count on it.
In fact, it just did in Durham, where angry protesters surrounded the Confederate Soldiers Monument and pulled it down, crashing its bronze body that stood for more than 100 years, and kicking and spitting at it.
A woman was arrested in that melee — Takiya Fatima Thompson — and charged with two felonies tied to vandalism and participating in a riot. Local law enforcement officials are working off video of the incident to identify, arrest and charge others involved.
But Thompson’s remarks are insightful of the tone that’s been coursing through our national politics of late, springing up at various Confederate monuments and places of history.
She said at a news conference reported by Fox News: “I’m tired of white supremacy keeping its foot on my neck and the necks of people who look like me. That statue glorifies the conditions that oppressed people live in, and it had to go.”
Rightly so, the big question that follows is: Where does it stop?
Is the Thomas Jefferson monument in Washington, D.C., next?
But here’s a solution, one that should be met with agreement from both sides — the side that doesn’t want history revised or whitewashed and the side that sees some of these government-stamped monuments as harsh reminders of America’s time of slavery: Build more monuments.
Instead of erasing history, let’s add to it.
Instead of tearing down Robert E. Lee, let’s put up monuments that recognize, say, blacks who served honorably in the Civil War.
Let’s put up statues of notable minorities who spoke out for the cause of freedom, for the side of righteousness, for the healing of a nation and a people.
Tearing down is symbolic of dissension, hatred, anger, partisanship, violence.
But building more?
That’s not only a symbol of unity and healing. It’s also a means of enriching America’s public shows of history — of fostering deeper debate, reflection and discussion about the diversity of the country and about the multicultural contributions that made us the melting pot our founders intended and foresaw.
More building, less tearing down. That’s a solution that not only appeases, but unites. And here’s a thought: If the radicals who are demanding removal of so-deemed offensive monuments are truly offended at the monuments, and not just trying to use the cause to grab political power, they will seize on this solution. If not, then it may indeed be the whole furor over America’s monuments is being driven simply by those who are using the issue to stoke emotions and ride the wave of chaos to crumble the country from within.