Most people are familiar with the phrase, “We must learn from the past.” Yet, as a nation we seem to have forgotten this ideal. National monuments, plaques, and statues all over the nation have been removed in recent weeks, partly due to the events in Charlottesville, Va.
Taking down a statue that has represented a time when slavery was legal or because of race will not change the past; it will prevent us from learning from it. History textbooks will still mention the famous generals of the Civil War, the Supreme Court judges who voted in favor of the Dredd Scott decision, and discuss both the Union and Confederate soldiers.
The removal of all “unorthodox” statues will only make the problem worse, due to the fact that the statues will not be there to remind citizens of what has happened and what can not happen again. Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston, and John Reagan’s statues on the University of Texas at Austin’s campus were extracted and Roger Taney’s statue was removed in Annapolis, Md. without any notice.
The removal of the memorials highlights the ideal that not only are the statues being taken down but the task is being done in the early hours of the morning. By doing such activities in secret adds to the fact that as a society we should forget these monuments ever existed.
With all the violence and racial tensions going on today, more and more statues are being vandalized by protesters and then being removed for good-by authorities. The person represented in the memorial or statue may not be a great hero or leader with good morals but they are people who were part of a worse time during our history and now stand to remind society of how far we have come from those days.