Tearing down statues of the Confederacy, abolishing the rebel flag, changing the names of schools will not change our history (we must own that) but it will lay waste to the symbols of horror that has been hanging over our country for hundreds of years. Germany doesn’t have Nazi Swat-skiers on their buildings or Hilter statues in their country for a reason, they represent horror. It doesn’t erase their history or the Holocaust, you can read and remember the horror in books and in museums.
I recently painted a picture for a friend who didn’t understand the tearing down of statues.
Image you are a black man who is serving in the military. You have taken an oath to defend this country with your life and you have to walk past a statue everyday while on post. It’s a Confederate General who fought against emancipation, he wanted to keep your black ancestors as his property. His flag was the rebel confederate flag you see at Trump rallies. He was willing to die to keep slaves in the south.
That general died a traitor to his country to which you are now serving. His symbol of oppression and slavery lives on in a statue. Why? Timothy Berry, a West Point graduate wrote about the Confederate statues back in 2017.
Symbols, statues, ideal all have to be re-evaluated as we grow together as a country with shared values that we pledge to live by. That is why there were 27 amendments ratified to the constitution, so we could re-evaluate. America, something is wrong with remembering our values.
America has been brought face to face, time and time again with circumstances where we needed to re-evaluate, re-discover and remind ourselves of the values we stand for.
The statues are of cement and steel, not flesh and bone. When you care more about a statue than you care for health of this country, America something is wrong.
When your symbol of freedom is owning an automatic weapon like the one that kills babies at Sandy Hook, buy yet you say “every life matters” (it really doesn’t), America something is wrong.
When the President of the United States is colluding, extorting, giving favors or hosting foreign countries at his private resort in order to aid in his reelection and increase his profits, American something is wrong.
When the symbol for a national crisis is a graph that spikes above all other countries in the world, with 127,368 dead Americans, a fact some want to ignore in order to attend a rally, go to a restaurant or office with no national plan in place to address the pandemic, America something is wrong.
When your symbol of greatness is MAGA, you must own racist remarks like “Kung-Flu”. A giant American flag on your truck doesn’t make you more of a patriot than the Black, Asian, Hispanic Muslin solider, police officer or essential worker that is pumping air into your mother’s lungs or cleaning the floor under her ICU bed, America something is wrong.
When your symbol for immigration reform is a wall and detention centers with children separated from their parents sleeping and dying on the floor, America something is wrong.
When your symbol for justice is a corrupt Attorney General Barr who tried to remove a U.S. New York prosecutor with a false resignation letters because the office is currently prosecuting people in Trump’s camp, America something is wrong.
America, it’s time to channel our energy, talents and speak the truth. It’s time to get to work. We will tear down symbols of horror and we will erect new symbols that stand for our values and renewed understanding. We will vote in new people who stand for truth, honor and justice on both sides of the isle that have proven themselves with actions that support the office to which they serve – at our pleasure – with our values.
We will be better because we know better.