- - Thursday, August 17, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Along with the Confederate flag, to many Americans statues of Civil War generals have become symbols of a hateful and intolerant past. Relocation of these monuments is a difficult but reasonable compromise (especially given the alternative of having mobs topple and destroy them). Moreover, it is certainly more respectful and considerate to “debate and relocate” if that is the desire of a community. Unfortunately, the shadow of indignation that has gripped the nation now falls over those Founding Fathers who owned slaves. Already the future of the Jefferson Memorial is in question and calls to remove a statue of George Washington have reached the mayor of Chicago.

The problem is not with our blemished history; every country has made mistakes and slavery was certainly one of them. The problem is with an educational system and a culture churning out citizens who lack the maturity to weigh the good and bad of history and learn from the mistakes. Like spoiled children, these people lash out, thinking they can topple, erase and censor everyone and anything that offends them. The idea you can insulate yourself from offense is testament to these individuals’ total ignorance of the very history they want to erase. Besides, why limit the indignation to slavery? How about institutions that oppose gay marriage or transgenderism? Will the great cathedrals of our cities and the crosses over our churches be next?

While the institution of slavery is evidence our Founders were imperfect people, they did bequeath to us a nation where voices and ideas — even repugnant ones — have a right to be heard and expressed. As progressives continue to chisel away and remake society, you have to wonder what type of culture they will give to us if the overriding principle is freedom from offense.

THOMAS M. BEATTIE

Mount Vernon, Va.

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