Confederate statues are a part of history, but protestors need a better understanding on why these statues were put in place.
The methods protesters are using to get their point across isn’t justified. As tempers flare and emotions are at an all-time high, the debate has become more than the statues themselves. It is a tug of war between those who favor removal and those who do not; those who see them as monuments to white supremacy and those who believe the removal is an attempt to erase history.
“The US, having a history of systemic racism, now has many elected officials who are black, even a black president. So, let [the] state[s] fly their confederate flags and let the memory of the confederacy remain. Let us remember and move on,” said David Alvarez, an 18-year-old economics major at West Campus.
While race does play a part on this issue, it isn’t what current officials represent and they are not the reason why the statues are up. The confederacy is not hard to explain. It was a time in our country when southern states wanted to secede from the union because they were what we call “white supremacists” today and wanted to maintain slavery, while the North abolished it and told the South to do the same. Of course, slavery is not something I agree with. However, there is still debate on whether the reason why people want to keep the monuments is in support of southern pride and not in commemorating a pro-slavery piece.
Like Alvarez, many think the solution is to increase diversity in our government or local municipalities, but politics have fanned the situation.
“I wonder: Is it George Washington next week, and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself— where does it stop? ” said President Donald J. Trump in a press conference in August.
He later reiterated these arguments on Twitter calling it “foolish” to take down Confederate monuments.
“Trump is not [although he is] an alt-righter himself. POTUS’ actions and tactics such as attacking his opponents on a personal level and humorously are tactics generally seen on the alt-right. But also his bombastic personality has inspired the movement, especially through the use of memes,” said Alvarez when asked if Trump has impacted these protests.
I highly believe that the President’s campaign actions have fueled the flames of the United State’s racism and has awoken conservative views.
But, whether this debate is a racial or political fight, we must respect other people’s opinions and try to do what is right for this divided nation just as Abraham Lincoln once did to preserve the union.