My dad passed away on Father’s Day. Now I’m not writing this for sympathy, I actually had a thought about this while watching the news and seeing people who have lost their ever loving minds pulling down statues and trying to erase history. During this time with family and friends, I’ve heard stories about my dad I didn’t know. It’s cool to hear friends and family talk about him and remember the good times and bad. I have my own memories as well, and a lot of what I know about my dad helped to make me the man that I am today.
Now I see images of people defacing monuments and pulling down statues, acting out in a way they feel makes people realize the mistakes made hundreds of years ago were wrong and something should be done about it today. First off, I’ve never owned a slave, or been a part of the KKK or even thought any person of a color different than mine was in any way inferior to me. I live by the motto, live and let live. I may not agree with you, but as long as you’re not pushing your way on me, I say live however you want. (I do have opinions on what I feel is right and wrong, but I’ll only tell you if you ask).
The thing is about all this craziness and destroying things which are offensive to a select few people, is they are not changing anything by doing this, except to remove an object which could have been used to teach the next generation of what “not” to do. When you pull down a statue to a man because he owned a slave, you may end up feeling better about yourself, but wouldn’t it be better to leave it and use it to teach your children about a time in our history which was not really a good time?
Slavery is and was wrong. It has never been anything we as a people should have done or in many parts of the world still do. Getting rid of images which remind people of the past doesn’t change the past or even help the next generation learn about it. As the old saying goes, “Those who don’t learn from their past, are destined to repeat it.” The problem I have with removing historical things (besides the fact it seems like those doing it are children throwing a temper tantrum) is we are removing things now in America like despots in the past have done. And if you watch the reasons behind them, it becomes apparent it is a re-writing of history so they can move in and take over.
General Robert E. Lee did not affect me personally. I’m not kin to him, and I don’t know anyone who is. I don’t like the fact this military tactician chose the wrong side and fought against the union to continue the south’s ability to own slaves. But I can see a statue of him and understand what he stood for and teach my children and grandchildren what he stood for was wrong. If I never see a statue, would I do even do that?
What happens if during this time of visiting with family and friends and hearing stories about my dad, I hear something about him which is something I don’t want to know, or disappoints me about him? Does it mean I should go through the house and get rid of all his pictures and stuff and try to forget the person he was to me? It’s really the same thing as getting rid of our history.
What I think we need to do is make these places of history places of learning about the past; both good and bad. Because you know, even if one of these historical figures who is remembered in a bronze statue was a slave owner, I’m sure they actually did do some things good; they may have been good fathers or mothers, brothers or sisters, civic leaders who just happened to own slaves. I’m not condoning them, just thinking about how many things I feel I do right, but someone else may not think is right. It’s not really about right or wrong at this point, it’s about learning from our past so we do not repeat it ever again.
For the Kingdom and the King, shalom!