Our country is known by its iconic name of “The United States of America.” That’s how it is in the Pledge of Allegiance, after all.
United. Now, more than ever, we need to be that way; be allied, be one. But instead, it feels like each spot on the political spectrum is taking sides and unraveling what is hundreds of years’ worth of progress made in this country by defacing Confederate statues with phrases such as “F*ck Trump” and “Black Lives Matter”.
Hearing this on the news disgusted me. Many Americans on the Democratic side look back on Confederacy during the civil war and immediately want to get rid of that part of history because their race was discriminated against. However, during one time or another in world history, some minority struggled: African Americans in slavery, Jews in the Holocaust, Native Americans during the Trail of Tears, Irish immigrants traveling to America in the 1900’s, homosexuals in the 20th and 21st century, discrimination against woman all throughout history, and even Muslim Americans today as terrorist attacks appear on the news. The list goes on and on, but to sum it up, discrimination against others is as old as time itself. If one were to erase the history of prejudice and bigotry, there would be no history left.
Slavery was an awful, horrible thing, no doubt. Our country is ashamed of it, but we shouldn’t hide our faults. These statues of Confederate soldiers whom supported slavery are not here to show us that in the 21st century, slavery is defended and encouraged. Instead, it remembers our history and the progress our country has made. We recently had our first colored president, and before that, the African American race made several milestones, such as the first African American to blast into space, the first African American to win a Grammy, etc. These milestones, and many more, are evidence that our country has come from black people being whipped as slaves to sitting in the White House, ruling our country. With these statues, our future generations can sit in awe at how much the United States has moved forward. Instead, many of these statues have been removed, showing how our country bows their head in shame towards the past (when really, we should be celebrating our progression).
The statues of Confederate soldiers are simply reminders to remember those terrible times, but also to beam in pride at how far we’ve come. We cannot move forward with equality and peace if we keep going back and (attempting to) forget that part of history; it will only make matters worse. Damaging these statues with so much value embedded inside of them and forcing them to be removed is not the solution to try to forget slavery and Confederacy. In fact, there is no solution. We, as a country, need to accept it 148 years later and move on, or we will find ourselves repeating history.