Before we start throwing stones

Before+we+start+throwing+stones

Photo by Breanon Cranford

Story by Joseph Rodgers, news editor

“One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present.”

This quote by Golda Meir can be specifically applied to America today as race relations and hatred boil over in the wake of the Charlottesville riots and “Unite the Right” protests. The rally has prompted a nationwide debate over the possible removal of Confederate statues nationwide, and many cities have already taken action.

Should we apply the values and morals of the 21st century to historical figures 150+ years ago?

No.

Not only is it unreasonable due to values constantly changing, but deeming our founding fathers and many figures that changed the world simply as racist slave-owners ultimately undermines our founding documents that they wrote including the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Slavery, the Civil War and the era of the KKK and the Jim Crow laws was a terrible time in our nation’s history. Yet removing the few reminders of this terrible time is the wrong action.

We should not be proud of what happened but we should still embrace it because it is still eternally a part of America’s history, and we should learn from what happened and vow to never let it happen again.

We should combat hatred and racism in our society, and the way of doing it is not hiding it in a junkyard or in a museum. America’s history is a public history that all Americans share, not something that is tucked away in a building with an entrance fee.

If we did remove these statues nationwide, where is the line drawn? What if Japanese-
Americans soon decide WWII statues are offensive, even after the millions of lives lost in the war? What if the Native Americans are offended by the very presence of American society and demand that they should have their traditional lands back? Will our country grow legs and move elsewhere? What if Mexico wants Texas and the Southwestern U.S. back? Will we give it to them?

Trying to appease various demographics of our diverse country is impossible without angering another group, and it is not where us Americans should be spending our time nor energy. We should reflect on the past and encourage others to learn about it and grow from it.

All humans are imperfect and no one is without their flaws. Muhammad owned slaves and even Gandhi was a racist and committed incest with his grand-nieces.

If George Washington was nothing but a slave-owning racist, what validity does the Constitution have? Should we take all paper money out of circulation and attempt to find ‘perfect, non-offending’ figures to put on the dollar bill?

Truth is if we start to appease different groups, others will be emboldened and continue to form unrealistic demands for our country and our people.

Let us stand together as Americans and embrace our history and each other. Let us learn from our mistakes and not tuck them under the carpet.