True to form, in the days following the press conference, the media’s reporting on his remarks was twisted to make it look as if Trump had offended the American people by noting that “there was more than enough blame on both sides” in the confrontation over a statue honoring Civil War Confederate General, Robert E. Lee—a man who was a resident of the State of Virginia.
Today, a caller to a talk radio program said that he had been in Charlottesville during the melee as part of an organization whose mission is to help preserve our nation’s history and its markers. The group includes Whites, Blacks, and Latinos and they do not attend rallies to protest but to bring people of all walks of life together to help them understand the importance of our history and the need to preserve it. He indicated that in Charlottesville, his group was directed by the police to a cordoned-off area that had been designated for the demonstration. The area had only one opening that served as both entrance and exit. Once the demonstrators from both sides entered the area, it was apparent to his group that they were in a dangerous situation, but they were trapped. When the opposing camps clashed, his group was caught in the middle of the violent exchange. Based on his recounting of the event, it is apparent that, as President Trump indicated, both sides bore blame for the altercation.
President Trump later noted that the Charlottesville confrontation was about pulling down Robert E. Lee and mentioned he had heard that Stonewall Jackson was also in the crosshairs. Then he asked a pointed question: “Where does it stop?” Is it with George Washington? Thomas Jefferson? When is enough, enough? Ulysses S. Grant is rumored to have owned a single slave or as many as four slaves while overseeing his father-in-law’s farm near White Haven, Missouri, and yet he became the Commanding General of the Union Army. Should we topple any monuments to him, too?
The Civil War included battles such as Bull Run, Gettysburg, Lookout Mountain, and Vicksburg. Those memorials remind us of what took place on those sites and many honor the dead on both sides of the conflict. One only has to tour the park at Vicksburg to realize how many Union soldiers from Illinois perished there. Do we tear that down because although it was also a struggle over states’ rights, it did include a fight over slavery? What exactly does eradicating memorials mean?
The people of Virginia chose to honor General Robert E. Lee with a statue because he was a favorite son of that state in acknowledgement of his service in the Confederate Army. He did not choose to lead the Confederate Army because he was a proponent of slavery, but rather because he chose to stand with Virginia when the conflict evolved. Robert E. Lee shed just as many tears for the blood shed by his soldiers as General U.S. Grant did for his Union soldiers. Those who wish to replay the Civil War and assign right and wrong are nothing more than Monday morning quarterbacks who, in hindsight, believe that everyone involved at the time could see the error in their thinking. That was not true then and it is still not true today. The Civil War was far more complicated than that, and it was not simply about slavery. General Robert E. Lee’s statue does not celebrate or promote the practice of slavery; it is simply a testament to a time in our history.
The American people must realize that this effort to eradicate symbols of what we now find unsavory is something far different from what it appears to be on the surface. Once again “political correctness” has enflamed issues, and the American media is gladly fanning those flames. Members of the alt right and alt left--as the media refers to the right but not the radical left—are nothing more than pawns being manipulated by those who wish to destroy this nation. This is not the time to destroy monuments, while everyone is riled up. Last Monday, protesters (some of whom were no doubt Soros-funded) pulled down and destroyed the Confederate Soldiers Monument that said on its pedestal, In memory of the boys who wore the gray. They then proceeded to kick it, spit on it and give it the finger. No doubt they were taking selfies, too.
I can’t help thinking about the boys in gray who gave their lives. Some went hungry. Some fought in a war not of their choosing. And here we have a bunch of lawless thugs destroying public property and pretending to be enraged by a statue commemorating these young men. The protesters claim they are anti-racist and anti-fascist, but with their actions, they are both. They claim they will win. Win what? If it’s the end of civil society—as it seems to be—then it is up to us to stop them. When President Trump asked, When will it stop, I wonder if he was asking another question as well. Ever since his election, the paid and unpaid agitators have been out protesting his every breath, wishing to overturn an election result they did not foresee and detest. Must we endure three more years of insanity?
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