The social revolutionaries on the left understand that before they can impose a new future, they must separate a people from their past. Totalitarian dictators have understood this as well. Those old ties must be severed.
This is exactly what is happening with the destruction of historical monuments in the south. If you are okay with toppling a statue of General Lee, let me ask you: What is your threshold? Are you the moral standard? Whose image will remain standing? Will Thomas Jefferson make the cut? He had slaves, you know. There are hundreds of thousands of streets, schools, and parks in the United States with his name. You can’t spend a nickel without touching his image. Should we grind it off?
We could go right down the list of imperfect men whose names fill our history books. I challenge the millennials to put down the smart phone and pick up Lee’s biography. Read it and see if you still have that same urge to erase him from history. Of course, that would involve some mental effort, and it’s much easier to take selfies.
Now, what about Lincoln, your hero? You know what you’ve been told about him, and that seems enough. But, before you trade all your Jefferson nickels for Lincoln pennies, do you know how he treated the Indians? Some of them never lived to tell about it. In fact, if we collected Lincoln’s awful deeds and assigned them to another name, you’d probably march right out and look for a statue to deface.
History is full of mere men. Flawed men. But, we honor their contributions, acknowledge their mistakes, and take lessons from both. And we are better off for it.