Should We Remove Confederate Statues?

“When you remove history, you set yourself up to repeat it.”

– Lawrence Jones III

You’ve probably heard of a book entitled Fahrenheit 451 (1951) by Ray Bradbury. Fahrenheit 451 follows the story of Guy Montag, a fireman whose job is to burn books with disagreeable and contentious ideas. Initially, Montag takes a sadistic pleasure in torching time-honored pieces of literature and the homes of their owners, but as the story progresses, he experiences a change-of-heart and realizes that he’s been living a lie all along. This unforeseen existential crisis is characterized by Montag’s migration to an underground, secret society where all ideas are free and open to exchange, and the story ends with the atomic annihilation of Montag’s old society and an enterprise to usher in a new age of intellectual tradition.

Bradbury’s classic dystopian novel has been speculated to comment on excessive and unjust censorship in the media. When I was instructed to read it, I couldn’t care less about the premise. “Are you kidding me?” I thought to myself. “Firemen supposedly go around, and burn books because they don’t agree with the ideas they present? That’s absurd! That will never happen in my lifetime.”

But that’s exactly what’s happening to America in 2017. In the past week, multiple Confederate statues have been forcefully taken down and vandalized across the country. News headlines consist of “Philadelphia considers removing statue,” “Chicago Bishop Wants George Washington’s Name Taken Off Park in Black Neighborhood,” and “Confederate monument in Arizona tarred, feathered.” Another article asks about what will happen if America’s children lose our history.

I can’t believe that this is a discussion that we should even be having about political correctness. These statues have been up for 200 years, but all of a sudden, people are opting to take them down because they’re offensive. What’s my stance on the removal of these monuments?

On April 12th, 2017, I posted an article inquiring about the legality of flag burning, concluding that the act of incinerating the American flag is extremely depraved and thus should be outlawed. One-time offenders should incur a small fine, while repeated offenders should face jail time and a complete revoke of citizenship.

I have since reversed my position on flag burning because no matter how upset or disgusted that it makes me, it is nonetheless an exercise of free speech—outlawing it would practically equate to promoting censorship of any kind. Moreover, it would be quite hypocritical of me to say that we should outlaw flag burning but reject the removal of Confederate statues, because they’re two sides of the same coin. In other words, we can’t change the past in the same way that we can’t change the Constitution. Simply because they make us feel “uncomfortable,” we can’t shut them out of our lives and pretend like they don’t exist anymore.

So apparently, it’s okay to burn flags because it is an expression of free speech, but it’s not okay to display a Confederate statue in a state park because it’s a symbol of “bigotry and racism.” Are you noticing the flawed logic yet? Besides, if we’ve begun to normalize the removal and vandalism of historical statues, how long will it take until we literally remove entire passages in history textbooks that inform of Confederate generals and practices of slavery? Or worse, burn history textbooks altogether? What will TRULY separate our reality from the dystopian reality of Fahrenheit 451?

If we don’t want our children to learn about the horrible atrocities that our ancestors have committed, then we need to express to them that ignoring history won’t undo said atrocities. We need to get them to understand that the Confederate statues we’re taking down are not symbols of bigotry and racism, but symbols of what we WILL become if we regress to a state in which bigotry and racism are once again acceptable—symbols of a dark past and an even darker future if we repeat the same mistakes.

The issue, it seems, is as clear as day: continue to delete and rewrite history to push a politically correct agenda, and open the door up to the very things that you’ve already denounced. It’s sad that half of the country doesn’t see it that way.

Video: Why We Are Already Living in the Apocalypse: A Walking Dead Video Essay – Part 1 (Power)

Here is Part 1 of my 5 part Walking Dead video essay. Stick around for Part 2!

A Look Back on the Trump Campaign

With fewer than 5 days to go before Trump is inaugurated into the presidency, I wanted to turn the clocks back and discuss the most contentious election of all time.

I once made a Facebook post that took a bit of a stance on the controversy surrounding the unearthed 2005 tape. My take away message was that, despite Donald Trump’s vulgar comments, they weren’t enough to change my opinion of him, and that people shouldn’t take them as a personal attack. With all of that said, several of my friends still became enormously outraged, and it didn’t take long until the discussion devolved into an exchange of back-and-forth, ad hominem attacks.

In Trump’s defense, most men and women have objectified another human being in one form or another, so nobody is off the hook here. The major difference between Trump and the average person is that Trump’s objectification was exceptionally obnoxious. Did I mention that he was running for president?

The truth is, the “Trump said this” and the “Trump said that” drama could never quell my enthusiasm for him. In fact, it only reinforced my enthusiasm. Why? Because I became tired of the media always telling me what to do and what to believe.

I have traveled across time and space trying my hardest to hate Trump, but really what I was doing was subordinating to other people’s opinions, not my own. Really, I was afraid of the scrutiny I would receive had I revealed who my preferred candidate was. When Trump first announced his campaign on June 16th, 2015, people took it as nothing more than a joke. How could an outsider with zero political experience actually get a shot at the most powerful position in the world? And yet, as Trump’s numbers soured and his popularity increased, there came a point where it became essentially taboo to speak of him positively. Today, it’s not just taboo, it’s condemned. And that’s why I’m writing this article.

Let me ask, what business do mainstream media news outlets, Facebook Trending, or Hollywood celebrities have telling me that I’m supposed to dislike Trump? If people voted for and elected him, then obviously I should get to exercise some right to support him. Nonetheless, if you so much as lightly defend Trump these days, you’re asking to get dismissed as a sexist, a racist, a misogynist, or a bully. You can’t win.

While we’re on the topic of bullies, Trump’s success is mostly accredited to the ridicule he directed toward his opponents, and for the most part, it’s worked wonders. Can you really blame his first-time approach to politics when his strategies have propelled him to victory? I can’t. Furthermore, the 1, 2, 20, or even 100 offensive comments he has made over the years pales in comparison to the dozens of Hillary Clinton’s lies, crimes, and scandals.

Are we ever going to bring up the good things that Trump has done over the years, such as fly a sick child to the hospital on his private jet, donate his personal earnings to health organizations, and offer a $10,000 reward to the Buffalo bus driver who prevented a young woman from taking her own life? The list goes on (Wenkert, 2016). Also, with talks of Trump purportedly hating, devaluing, and demeaning women, let’s not forget that he appointed Barbara Res in 1980 to be the first woman to supervise the construction of a skyscraper, and that his second campaign manager was a woman.

Regardless, the prevailing argument against Trump is that he is simply unfit for the presidency. A business man? Running the country? That’s like a lawyer performing brain surgery for the first time. Yet something tells me (and I could be wrong on this one, so don’t quote me) that almost anyone could run the country if they were a natural-born leader who could handle the incredible pressure of the world’s toughest job. With effective delegation and a solid support network, I’ll hedge my bets with Trump if it means he’ll shake things up in a positive way.

I’ll close off by saying that I hope Trump performs well in office. If not, then we’ll vote him out in 4 years, and we’ll have every right to complain. But for now, can’t we just give the man a chance?

 

Reference

Wenkert, S. (2016, May 29). 15 Great Things Trump Has Done » REGATED. Retrieved October 13, 2016, from http://regated.com/2016/05/great-things-trump-done…