Monuments of the Confederacy

I don’t think we should try to erase history but rather try to see it as it actually was. There will be different reactions to monuments and art depicting history. Some will see a glorious and romantic past while others will see subjugation and savagery. Perhaps some of the more offensive monuments (to some) can be placed more appropriately in museums, but they should not be destroyed. If nothing else, they can remind us of how far we’ve come from our having bought and sold human beings as property and that those who condoned it are still sore losers through their progeny a century and a half later and truly need to get over that loss and accept a modernity that includes everyone who obeys the laws we put into place for our collective safety.

History has witnessed shock, dismay, and horror at pieces of sculpture before that were too violent (The Rape of Persephone by Bernini), war monuments from both World wars, what were considered obscene statues and paintings in earlier times because of nudity. Who decides what should be demolished and what should not? The sensitive paintings of Shiller from the early 20th Century were condemned (along with other art by painters like Picasso) by the Nazis and burned along with books which the ruling powers decreed ugly and unfit for human sight.

The Margaret Mitchell past and stark reality are not, and can never be, the same, but we need to see them both and judge individually. Trying to eradicate history is, I believe, a mistake. We need reminders of the good and the bad to create an emotional and social sense of balance and truth. Time will show them to be exactly what they are from era to era as we become more enlightened in our quest to have more awareness and humanity. This is still America. Does anyone really believe that tearing down monuments (even ones depicting a flawed history) will improve race relations? Isn’t there already enough angst and resentment? I hope we can rethink our current rage and obsession with tearing things down and begin thinking about building things up instead….like tolerance and understanding. JB

About John

John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BA and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado. He spends his winters in Pompano Beach, Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on Amazon.com as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth and most recent book, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014.
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