Meeting free speech with arms and violence is tyranny, whether it be alt-right, Antifa, or otherwise. Imposing one’s philosophy by force of arms or violence is the vilest form of Anti-Americanism there is.
We are our own worst terrorists. 620,000 Americans died in the Civil war. More than any other conflict in our history. Our fear of external terror pales against this truth.
In the debate over removing Civil War statues, we are missing the point. In the statues are lessons, lost to the pandemonium of intolerance.
They should serve as reminders that subjugation by one over the other is un-American.
We can learn a lesson from the Germans, not the Nazis who these ignorant fools want to emulate, but the generations who followed. Every German student is taught about the Holocaust. To reinforce the lesson of how people driven by fear and ignorance are capable of horrendous things.
Auschwitz stands in Poland not as a symbol of history, but a reminder of evil. To ensure this never happens again.
Instead of tearing down these statues, we should insist every student understands the vile, evil philosophy they stood for. To ensure it never happens again and to remind us we still have a long way to go.
Brave men fought on both sides of that war. No doubt many in the south saw it as a “war of northern aggression.” Just as many brave Germans fought in their war. But their bravery does not mitigate the fundamental flaw in their cause.
Lincoln saw the Civil War in the terms of preserving the Union. Slavery was a primary motivation for the south seeking to divide the Union.
Lincoln, in a letter to Horace Greeley, addressed the key issue.
Washington, August 22, 1862.
Hon. Horace Greeley:
I have just read yours of the 19th. addressed to myself through the New-York Tribune. If there be in it any statements, or assumptions of fact, which I may know to be erroneous, I do not, now and here, controvert them. If there be in it any inferences which I may believe to be falsely drawn, I do not now and here, argue against them. If there be perceptable in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, I waive it in deference to an old friend, whose heart I have always supposed to be right.
As to the policy I “seem to be pursuing” as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt.
I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views. I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.
Lincoln opposed slavery but recognized the best hope of freeing the black men and women lie in the preservation of the Union and the brighter future of an intact Union.
Were that we had a President who recognized the need for “save the union the shortest way under the Constitution.”
Were that we had a President who didn’t hide behind mindless Tweets.
Were that we had an articulate, intelligent, and courageous President who looked at the nation as a whole and was interested in protecting Americans, not fueling the discontent.
If the media is “fake” news, the President should face them. Daring them to refute the truth in his words.
But we do not. Instead, we have a President who lacks the calm demeanor of a leader and panders to the uninformed bigots who no more understand the issue of the Civil War than do the Antifa zealots who see anarchy as a substitute for thoughtful discourse.
Tearing down statues won’t remove the ignorance of those who see the statues as a harmless heritage any more than marching through the streets with torches and swastikas will silence those of us who abhor this blatant ignorance and racial bigotry.
If the President wants to be Presidential, then he should place the full force and power of the Justice Department behind investigating and prosecuting anyone who promotes or engages in violence.
The time to tear them down will be when no could imagine anyone acting in such a callous manner to a fellow human.