I don’t doubt that New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s removal of the statues of centuries old monuments of Confederate leaders comes from the right place, but he, as well as the rest of us, would do well to think carefully about what we wish to remove from our communities and by doing so our collective conscience.
Yes, Robert E. Lee and P.T Beauregard, two of the three statues removed recently form New Orleans, fought against the United States in the Civil War. But before that war they served honorably in the United States Army and Lee, in particular, resigned his commission with a heavy heart to fight for his home state. Two of the biggest monuments we have in our nation’s capital, one to our first president George Washington and one to our third Thomas Jefferson, were men who owned slaves. Is fighting for states’ rights, as Robert E. Lee and P.T. Beauregard thought the Civil War was about more than slavery, any less contradictory than two men who fought for freedom from England under a declaration that states “All men are created equal “ even as they owned other men? When do we pull down their statues? Or do we understand that all of those men were products of their time and place and what they did should be viewed from the context of the 18th and 19th centuries and not be judged by a sense of political correctness in the 21st century.
The South lost. They should let Lee and Beauregard statues stand as a reminder of history. Let Jefferson and Washington’s stand to reminds us that even men who owned other men could see it in themselves to rise above that wrong and build a nation.
Kathleen Butler, Wichita
I want to write a few words on behalf of the blue-collar laborers who voted for Donald Trump, and working-class men in general. Many of these men, most of whom don’t have college degrees, are outside my apartment building doing construction work, while I myself a former self-proclaimed “campus radical” write this letter in my air-conditioned apartment, unemployed.
These men don’t have the luxury of doing political campaigns because they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing – their jobs, while educated people peer down their noses at them in disdain. Should we really be surprised that many of them are angry?
Troy Cox, Wichita
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