America has a dirty secret : we’re addicted to hate.
The murder of anti – fascist martyr, Heather Heyer, by a Nazi domestic terrorist is only the most recent evidence of this drugs destructive force.
Racism was there at our birth in slavery. The author of ‘all men are created equal’ was himself a slave owner. Near the end of his life when reflecting on our greatest original sin Jefferson wrote : ” When I consider that there is a just God I tremble for my nation.”
The treason of white Southern secessionists to destroy our Union democracy to preserve slavery sparked Civil War which killed more Americans than all of our other wars combined . Current day white supremacists are rallying now to mask their own bigotry, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia behind that infamous confederate ‘Lost Cause’. They want to re-write our history. We must not let them. Losers and traitors don’t get to denigrate the valor of our patriots who died to keep us all free. We must RESIST this evil revisionism of their noble sacrifice.
But as our own Somerville Tom has correctly noted : ” There are a multitude of ways to preserve the historical record. A common practice for government is to relocate these monuments to a museum or other setting where they are rightly interpreted as historical artifacts.”
As a Gold Star family member who protested against the war in Vietnam that took my brother’s life, I appreciate Tom’s important distinction : ” A monument is, by definition, a celebration of an individual or event. There is a reason why the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. is NOT a statue, why it was so controversial, and why it is so well – loved ; it is because it evokes history and tragedy without glorifying the event. These Civil War monuments were intended to glorify their subjects when they were erected and why they should be relocated or destroyed.”
Odell Ruffin, a 58-year-old black Bostonian who showed up to peacefully protest on Saturday, said : ” Here they don’t have their torches, their shields, they don’t have cans of tear gas. They say they want to make this country theirs. They don’t own this country. Slavery is over but they want it still to continue. I guess it’s one of those situations where they feel cheated that they lost something they stole.”
Unless and until we cleanse our souls of this hate addiction, we will never find peace – as individuals, as a united nation, and as a respected leader in an increasingly troubled world.