Anti-Heroes

stone mt

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.

rosa

Rosa Parks with Dr. Martin Luther King in the background

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2 responses to “Anti-Heroes

  1. The first picture is of stone mountain in Georgia that shows a “Mt. Rushmore” type picture carved in the rock of the confederate army leaders correct? Well my understanding is that this mountain is located in a state park majority funded by the Daughters of the Confederate Army. With Georgia still dealing with racism as well as most of the southern states, it would be a positive move to remove these type of symbols. Keep them in the history books and continue to teach about our history but it’s time that racism in the south starts making more progress. Just my opinion.

    • We’ve made progress, but still have a long way to go. The very idea of buying and selling people (or being bought or sold myself) is difficult to fathom. However, greed is powerful, and if a business can eliminate the cost of labor, it often will – look at businesses today that use third world workers who make pennies per piece and then switch countries when they find someplace else cheaper.

      Add to that the propensity for people to accept a view and never evaluate it. Politicians have been famous for this for years. “I don’t like [fill in the blank], and I’m willing to take the whole country down to prove my point!”

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