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Education, not obliteration

The scenes we’ve seen recently of hooligans destroying and pulling down historic statues are things we have only witnessed before in third world nations and dictatorships. They should be horrifying and chilling to every American.

For one writer who thinks another writer is foolish for thinking a doughboy statue could be pulled down, he does not understand the mindset behind those who are bent on this destruction. We are not seeing outrage about statues that represent a past of slavery. We are witnessing anarchists bent on the destruction of our history and our country.

Today, it is the Confederacy which is evil. Tomorrow, all war will be deemed evil and thus demands for a doughboy statue to be removed could easily occur. There is already a movement in our country to remove books that teach about the Civil War era from our schools. There are already groups ready to tear down statues of Washington and Lincoln, destroy the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.

The question of “Where will it end?” is a very cogent and important one. The German public did not believe that books would be burned in the public square either when the National Socialist movement started. We should have no misconceptions about what current movements such as Antifa really want.

We are a nation of laws, not men. We have legal ways of addressing issues such as the removal of a statue or monument. Those legal means do not include mob rule.

But, more importantly, why can’t we use those statues to teach about our past? Every statue or monument has a plaque of explanation. How about coming together to write new plaques that would educate the viewer of the statue as to the reasons it was erected, what it meant at the time, and what it has come to mean now?

We cannot change history by obliterating it. Shall we send people to re-education camps like the Soviets and the Communist Chinese? Those are just two nations that chose to obliterate their pasts. Is that who we will choose to emulate?

We are not and were not a perfect nation. Learning history allows us to learn from our past mistakes as well as our achievements. We must study both to continue our success as a nation.

Education or obliteration. Quo vadis, America?. 

Stuart R. Goldstein, Green Creek, N.C.