Controversy over historical statues is not necessarily a new thing. But pulling down statues is not something we’ve seen a lot of in America. Sure, it’s happened before but not to the degree it’s happening now. There are stories all over the news about the removal or vandalism of statues in cities around the nation. Some of these statues are associated with slavery or the civil war, but others don’t have any true negative connotations. So, have we let irrationality and hate take over to the point where we believe history can be erased with a few destroyed statues? You cannot erase history. In fact, it’s essential that we don’t erase history. The idea of erasing history one statue at a time is ridiculous. It does nothing but create more division. We have to remember our country’s history, the good and the bad, so we don’t repeat our mistakes.
The importance of historical statues
Historical statues were created to remember important accomplishments. While some may not value the significance of these accomplishments, we have to remember our past. Statues of historical figures help us see the human side of history, both positive and negative. Most people who have a statue in their honor did something valuable for our country. But these people weren’t perfect and they lived in a different time. We can’t expect to hold them to today’s standards. These people are the reason that we’re able to speak out about something that we disagree with. Some of them directly instituted our rights to free speech and peaceful assembly. The people represented by many of the statues in question fought for the rights being exercised through peaceful protests. It’s ironic that some people want to remove statues of figures who fought for freedoms that we now take for granted.
Statue vandalization is not the answer
Vandalizing statues is not only irrational, it’s illegal. It’s a little shocking that people seem proud of their vandalization of public property and actually post videos of it. The misguided attempt to try and erase history doesn’t give anyone the right to damage or remove property that doesn’t belong to them. While many disagree with the removal of most statues, there is a right way to do it if it must be done. There are processes to be followed to remove problematic statues in the right way. Just remember, the removal of a historical statue will never take away the accomplishments of that person. In fact, it may have the opposite effect and cause even more controversy and division. If we forget the negative things that have happened in our country’s history, we run the risk of repeating our mistakes.
It’s essential to keep our statues and remember them in their historical context. We can’t hold people accountable based on today’s standards and laws when many of them lived centuries ago in completely different times. Statues serve as a reminder for how far we’ve come as a nation and how far we have to go. Most of these statues represent patriotic Americans who did great things in their time. Did they make mistakes? Absolutely. Some made very serious mistakes and did things that today are unthinkable. But they were human. No one is perfect and it would do our nation good to focus on the positive. We need to remember the good things done by those people represented in the statues. We have to use their mistakes as a teaching point so we don’t repeat their errors.