The white nationalist rally that turned violent in Charlottesville, Virginia on Aug. 12 has infuriated the public for weeks. The Robert E. Lee statue controversy ultimately reintroduced attention to U.S. monuments across the country.
Who do they represent? What is their message? Our nation is again confronting the legacy of its most divisive war.
A majority of the statues were not created as a result of the Civil War. They actually date to the end of the Reconstruction era or the period when Southern political leaders were introducing systematic segregation, Jim Crow laws, in the early 20th century.
A number of states in the South have passed laws banning cities from moving memorials. In some places, people have decided to disregard these rules. Days after the Charlottesville incident, protestors in Durham, North Carolina toppled a statue of a Confederate soldier outside a local courthouse.
So it seems we are looking for the perfect solution. Should we leave them be, tear them down or just move them?
One solution is Confederate cemeteries. Decorating the graves of fallen soldiers on both sides of the Civil War would be an effective way to preserve history respectably.
The creation of historic museums is another way to commemorate the past without having it publicly displayed, making people feeling uncomfortable or belittled.
Furthermore, history is not static like words in an old textbook. Our collective memory is shaped by what we have forgotten as well as what we’ve remembered.
We must also keep in mind that it is impossible to please everyone because someone is always going to have something to say.
So, no matter if they are left standing or completely demolished, no one’s feelings will ever be suppressed. We are on the brink of a new era.
We need to stand together and come to a general consensus on what the next step is before more misfortune takes place. Open discussion between all sides must take place for our country to move forward. What could be a better place for open discussion than a college campus?
This editorial was written by a member of the editorial staff and expresses the general opinion of The Spectator.