What have you ever learned about history from looking at a statue?
Speaking for myself, nothing. I know a lot about history though. Mostly from reading books, but I also watch a lot of documentaries and like to visit historical sites and monuments when I’m somewhere there is an occasion to. Hearing people say that pulling down Confederate statues is “erasing history” is one of the dumbest fucking things I’ve heard in my life. Again, I ask, what have you ever learned about history from looking at a statue?
I know a lot about World War II, the Third Reich, and the Holocaust. I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but with a bit of prep time I could teach decent undergrad summary courses on the topics, and I continue to read the most recently available scholarship. I’ve always been fascinated with the German general, Erwin Rommel. I might even go so far as to say I admire him, from a purely military standpoint. Even Winston Churchill praised Rommel saying, “We have a very daring and skillful opponent against us, and, may I say across the havoc of war, a great general.” Yet, I recognize Rommel was a loser on the losing side. He fought for fucking Hitler and I’m not going to put his picture on my wall!
Although I’m not quite as well-versed on the American Civil War, it’s still a topic I’ve read a lot of books about and know well. I’ll admit, the Confederate generals were often more colorful, interesting characters. But they were losers and traitors and fought to keep slavery. That’s it, end of story! They shouldn’t be immortalized in our public spaces.