Our History… The Statues… Our Checkered Past

There’s been a lot of animosity surrounding statues lately. And in many cases rightfully so.

Christopher Columbus statues across the country are coming down or being boxed up, in a case of Philadelphia.

It is a time of reckoning about our past in this country. Symbols of oppression and hate need to come down.

But this is where I have trouble. I’m a history buff. I was a history major in college, along with journalism. I grew up going to see Civil War battlefields with my dad. I grew up amongst the remnants of the American Revolution.

Our past is spotty. There is no arguing that. I agree with taking down statues whose only reason is to remind people of white power and racism.

But I get concerned when history gets erased.

Being Jewish the Holocaust is burned into my brain at an early age. There are many who want to erase that past, but there are many reasons why we should not and cannot. But this post isn’t about that past. It’s about America’s history.

Today in the New York Times there was an excellent article about the statues coming down across the country. The author made a good point. Put many the statues in museums with documents detailing why they’re not erected outside anymore and about the history of these people. So that we can learn from the past, not erase it.

When some people in Philadelphia turned up with bats and firearms to protect a Christopher Columbus statue, we know we’ve got a problem. That’s taking your heritage way too far.

It’s a statue. If anyone knows a good Italian family, you know you can’t take that culture away from them. Nor would you want to.

Yet I’m the same breath, I struggle with taking down statues especially at historic places, like Gettysburg and other battlefields. I feel like the statues help explain what happened on these hallowed grounds. But having a Robert E. Lee statue from the 1950s in downtown Richmond is inappropriate.

Having Confederate statues in our nation’s capital building is ridiculous.

I’m not saying destroy these monuments. I’m saying put them somewhere where we can learn about the history behind the people depicted.

I guess where I stand is, take down these monuments, but preserve them so we can learn from them — our past.


Is History Repeating Itself?

Originally Posted on:

Contributing Writer/Columnist for Raging Chicken Press

Is History repeating itself? I’m not sure. Am I afraid? Yes.
It’s been just over a week since Donald Trump became President and already he’s managed to polarize the country into two camps.
One camp is eating his dog food and firmly behind him. The other camp is the resistance. The latter is growing by the day.
It seems that a day will not go by without Trump creating another controversy with his pseudo-draconian executive orders and “alt-facts.”
I’ve voted since the 2000 election. Though it’s not a long time compared to others, I’ve never seen such a blatant disregard for the institution of president.
Most, if not all, politicians lie or “bend the truth.” But what Trump is doing is insane and extremely dangerous.
With every lie, people are doubting not only what comes out of his mouth, but what the people and/or organizations he’s targeting are saying.
This is dangerous, because like the boy who cried wolf, when it comes time to tell the truth, no one will believe a word his administration says. Also people will doubt what his opposition say as well.
Trump is not only discrediting himself, but everyone around him, regardless of what side they’re on.

Is History Repeating Yourself

There was a post that was widely shared on Facebook that hits home for me.
Step one for Hitler was to discredit the media.
Step two was to silence scientists and government employees.
Hate crimes against minorities grew to the highest in their country’s history. Clashes between parties became so extensive that Hitler ended civil liberties (Step three), giving “law and order” as the cause. Those who opposed Hitler were ridiculed and threatened.
In Step Four wealthy supporters purchased media outlets, employing only those faithful to the ruling party.
In his final step (Step Five) Hitler declared that the only way the country could be unified was to restore traditional values. Minorities including gays, the disabled, Jews, Roma, and people of color were considered “inferior” and sent to death camps for slaughter.
We’re between Step 2-4. This is in case you were always confused by how so many people could go along with Hitler’s Final Solution, this is exactly how it happened.
Silence and fear keep it all going forward. I would rather speak up against it than be seen saying this is okay by saying nothing.
Say what you will about the parallels, but they are there. It might not be the Jews this time, but we need to stay vigilant and make sure history doesn’t repeat itself.

What do you think?

Should we be scared? Should we protest? Should we hold Trump accountable? What do you think?