There’s no need for task force, and there are no good Nazis
“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson — who’s next, Washington? Jefferson? So foolish! Also, the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!”
Welcome to DonaldWorld. That’s what the president had to tweet about the effort to remove Confederate statues and monuments from the public sphere.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings wants a task force to study the issue of whether to take down the two monuments and then make a recommendation.
There is a vast difference between Trump and Mayor Rawlings — all of it positive for Rawlings. Having said that, they are both wrong when it comes to Confederate monuments.
Trump is quick to say that removing these monuments would be destroying history, and that good people want those monuments to remain.
Just so we’re clear about this: There were no “good people” marching in Charlottesville, Va. on Aug. 11-12 in that well-organized group espousing hatred and chanting slogans used by the Nazis in World War II. If you want to argue about that, Trump, call me!
But there are good people who want the monuments to remain because they believe the monuments are part of our history, our heritage. Putting aside the fact that these monuments were erected as a reminder to blacks that they would never be equal in the South, let’s examine the “history” we supposedly want embrace to justify the continued existence of these monuments.
Historically, the War Between the States was fought for at least three major reasons: the fact of slavery, slavery as a necessity for the economic survival of the Southern States, and the struggle between federalism and state’s rights.
Let’s take the fact of slavery. Is there anyone in their right mind today who would argue for slavery? Remember I said “right mind.”
Yet, clergy from mainstream religions made exactly that argument during the Civil War and thereafter, using Bible passages as justification. Even today, there are clergy in Dallas who use Bible verses to espouse mass deportation.
“The real Jesus of the Bible said ‘render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,’ that is obey the government,” First Baptist Church Pastor Robert Jeffress said in declaring support for mass deportations. The “real Jesus,” he added, cared more about American citizens who were victims of violent crimes committed by immigrants than about those who come to this country fleeing persecution or seeking better lives.
Caesar was a tyrant, and Rome raped and pillaged it’s way across the map. But apparently, based on some Bible verses, we are to bend our sense of morality to tyrants. I won’t do it
Mr. Trump and Pastor Jeffress — and neither should any of you, including you, Mayor Rawlings.
Here’s the bottom line: Slavery became unacceptable and evil the first time one man shackled another and called him slave. Whether we recognized it or not is of absolutely no consequence.
It was always wrong, from day one, even if biblical passages seem to condone it.
This reminds me of the question U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia asked attorney Ted Olsen during debate over marriage equality: “I’m curious. When did it become unconstitutional to exclude homosexual couples from marriage?”
My answer would have been: About the same time women were first treated as chattel, about the first time women were only allowed to work in menial jobs, about the first time people were first enslaved, about the first time … .
There are some fundamental truths; that slavery is evil and always has been is one of them.
So that can’t be the “history” that supposedly justifies keeping these Confederate statues vertical.
What about the economics of slavery? The argument goes that the South would have been economically devastated without slaves, so they had to fight.
Let me get this straight: a fundamental evil is justifiable if it’s vital to the country’s economy? Did I get that right? Guess I should rethink Japan’s use of slave labor during World War II.
So we’re left with the struggle between federalism and state’s rights as a reason for these monuments to remain. That’s the “history” we’ll use to justify letting these monuments stand.
In other words, the issue of slavery should have been left to each state to decide, and that was a major reason for the war.
A while before the Obergefell decision on marriage equality, a gay friend of mine told me that gay marriage should be left to the states because these kinds of decisions, like Roe v.
Wade, had caused so many problems.
I told him if civil rights had been left to the states, blacks would still be drinking from separate water fountains in Mississippi.
When fundamental rights are being denied or trampled upon, it’s up to our federal government to act, especially when some states won’t. Slavery obliterated human rights for a segment of our society. So that’s not the kind of history to justify these monuments remaining upright, either.
Here’s what it all boils down to: There is no justification for these monuments to remain standing!
Plain and simple.
Just because “good people” want to keep them is not a valid reason for them to remain. Mayor Rawlins, you don’t need a committee to reveal the truth, it’s right in front of you; it’s in your heart.
Just do it!
Jon Nelson is an attorney who was a cofounder of Fairness Fort Worth. He and his husband, Tony Nelson-Ngyuen own Home Helpers and Direct Link of Rockwall.