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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:14 pm 
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I propose that there is a difference between a statue of Lenin vs. one of Christopher Columbus... or Abraham Lincoln... or even Robert E. Lee. There is also a difference between erecting a statue vs. tearing an existing one down. When a society, caught under the grip of an oppressive dictator, wiggles free of that dictator the statues, paintings, and depictions of said dictator are certainly destined to be removed from public view and buried in a lost chapter of the history books.

But, what of Abraham Lincoln? Some numb nut made the existence of statues into a social issue. Now we should go back and re-evaluate every statue and monument in existence? Lincoln played a pivotal role in our country's development and history paints him as a saint. He wasn't. There are accounts of slaughtering native Americans and overseeing a concentration camp - not to mention presiding over the army which fought against his own countrymen in the Civil War.

Statues and monuments to historical figures are often a tribute to the great which was accomplished, not their failings. We don't erect statues of boring people. Take Christopher Columbus - an explorer, yes. He did good against great odds. Was he a good man? eh, probably not by most accounts. Should we erect a statue of him? Today? No, probably not. Should we tear one of him down? Again, no, probably not. Taking into account man's shortcomings, should we put up statues of anyone anymore?

The statue of Christopher Columbus in Columbus Circle is a testament to foundation of our country. We didn't erect a statue to celebrate Christopher. The statue is a memorial of what he did and not who he was as a person. Any man is remembered by his deeds. This is what defines us and lifts us above the nature of man. Often it is our evil tendencies, our ambitions, our greed which push us to explore, to create, to conquer.

Statues are not erected to celebrate men; they are erected to glorify the greatness a man can achieve by overcoming his failings. Great explorers and leaders are often not the kind of people you'd want to socialize with. Look not at the man - look at his resume.

Robert E. Lee. The Confederate Flag... actually, it's the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia which comes to mind. Let me say right off that I'm a New York'er, a Northen'er who does not, cannot relate or hope to be a part of the South. The Civil war was just a blurb in the history books for me. The only depiction I had of "The South" as a kid was from a television show entitled, Dukes of Hazzard. yea... well... you think that's bad, most of the country thinks that New York is accurately depicted on Saturday Night Live.

When I see the the Confederate Flag it makes me smile. In an alternate reality, Key West once seceded from the U.S. In 1982. They called themselves The Conch Republic. They, too have their own flag and story to tell. Fortunately nobody died and the "battle" was over before anyone had a chance to ask, What the fuck? Then, there is our friend Che Guevara who became an idol for the rebel in all of us. I can relate to him... but, uh, you realize he was a Marxist terrorist who tried to start World War III?

For me, the Confederate Flag, Dixie, and Southern Hospitality are all elements of a country within a country. I love the South and the people who live there. When I visit, despite my New York accent, I'm given a warm and friendly greeting wherever I go. The Southern accent, use of terms like, Y'all and Sweet Tea, the Mint Julep... Bartles and Jaymes and of course, Jack Daniels Whiskey. I know I'm probably getting some of my facts muddy and I'm too lazy to fact check - so, feel free to drop me an email if I'm way off base.

One bit of observation, if you ever find yourself in Atlanta you'll likely find yourself on a street, road, avenue, or highway called Peachtree. Once, I actually stood on the corner of Peachtree and Peachtree. and, if you hear the words, "Southern Fried..." (anything) you know that is the prefix for something good. The only problem I had in Atlanta, due to my New York accent, was when I asked for a soda and the waitress thought I was asking for a Pepsi. Dude... you do NOT want to be asking for a Pepsi in Atlanta. (chuckle) For those who don't know, it's the home of Coca Cola. No Pepsi!

Robert E. Lee was an American. He loved this country and rose through the ranks of military on his deeds. Although he found himself on the wrong side of history, I recognize his military accomplishments. Should there be a statue of him? In truth, he opposed statues which depicted the Civil War. He believed the country needed time to heal. When I look at statues of Robert E. Lee I think of Che Guevara, the rebel. This country was founded on rebellion. Only history will sort out who was on the side of the "right" vs. the "wrong."

Statues as art. You wouldn't find yourself smashing statues of Egyptian Pharaohs. Perhaps enough time has passed that we have long forgotten, or never recorded how evil they may or may not have been. I look on all statues as art, even the ones depicting controversial figures. Just as the Hatfield's and the McCoy's have called a truce, so too have the North and the South.

Statues to me are ghosts of the world's past history. When I see a hand carved statue I always smile. I read the dedication. If I don't know them from history, I look them up - like when I saw a statue of Garibaldi and thought, Babylon 5? Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it - George Santayana. What wonderful words. Remember your past. Embrace and celebrate your differences. Understand that we are all human. They never erect a statue of a boring person. Statues glorify a person's deeds, not the person. What makes a person great is that they were able to overcome the condition of being human to leave a mark on human kind. And, should it come to light that the person in the statue was not a good man, the statue should remind us of our history and our mistakes so we can avoid making those mistakes in the future.


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