Long before the Charlottesville tragedy, America has debated whether Confederate monuments should remain in public places. These monuments remind us of an extremely bloody and racially-charged period in the United States history, which led to the death of more than 800,000 people.
The Confederate Monument Debate
During the Civil War, the country was greatly divided, and some divisions survive to this day. For instance, while slavery is illegal, there are still racial tensions which are worsened by voter suppression efforts, police brutality, the KKK, and white supremacy.
People who want Confederate monuments gone argue that these symbols promote the theory of The Lost Cause, which states that the Confederates were the ones to be oppressed by people not allowing them to live the life they wanted. These people think that the monuments better belong to a museum or Confederate graveyards than to public parks.
Defenders of the monuments argue that the statues are part of America’s history, and getting rid of them is an attempt to erase history. They are concerned that the move may end up as a slippery slope.
One of the staunchest defenders of Confederate monuments is President Trump who recently condemned the destruction of the relics. On Twitter, he said that destroying the ‘beautiful statues’ would create a void that could never be comparably filled.
Trump Destroyed Historic Building and Statue
Trump is right that destroying the monuments is not the way to go. The symbols should be moved to a museum instead. However, calling some recently-constructed statues a piece of history and culture and things of beauty is far-fetched. Critics of the monuments claim that the most recent ones were created to remind people of the Lost Cause.
Ironically, Trump forgot that he demolished one such statue in the early 1980s too. In 1979, when he bought the historic building named Bonwit Teller, he promised to donate the statue of a couple of dancing women on its façade to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
However, he quickly changed his mind and destroyed the statue along with the Bonwit Teller to make room for Trump Tower. His organization said the statue was “without artistic merit” and wasn’t worth the cost of safely removing and transporting to the museum. His organization saved $500,000.
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