Daily Archives: February 10, 2014

Anti-Heroes

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There have been articles written about removing the names of certain historical figures from various public facilities. I’m speaking of significant figures from the American Civil War who fought for the Confederacy against the Union. To some these were traitors. To others, they were historical figures in spite of their allegiance.

First and foremost (on the least popular side) might be Nathan Bedford Forrest, who (depending upon which historian you follow) started the Ku Klux Klan, or didn’t start the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan was a “social club” that had a little problem with beating, lynching, burning buildings and people who were not white, or were Jewish, or Catholic, or anything except proper Southern men.

On the more popular side, you would find Robert E. Lee, who declined command of the Union Army because he refused to fight against his native Virginia. He married a lady whose lineage went to George Washington’s stepson. He was very dynamic when defending Virginia; much less assertive when venturing into the North.

The logical argument is that these were traitors who fought against the United States, so therefore, they should not be honored.

I can understand that argument, but it is not complete.

They are also part of our history – just like Dred Scott.

We are humans. Washington, Jefferson, Lee and Grant were humans. John Adams was as wonderful and as imperfect as they come.

As imperfect (and that term is extremely charitable) beings, we fail and we fall. If we’re strong, or stubborn, or wise, we pick ourselves up again and try to do better.

Fortunately these failings eventually succumbed to heroes like Rosa Parks or Medger Evers or Dr. Martin Luther King.

As Americans, they’re all part of the story. It’s not an easy story, but it’s a good one. Working together, it should be agreat one.

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Rosa Parks with Dr. Martin Luther King in the background