Dallas removes Robert E Lee statue from city park


#1

I find this whole carry on bizarre from a non-US standpoint. So for 81 odd years this statue has sat there and it has now become a major issue to remove it suddenly?


#2

It is good that they did, otherwise it may have become necessary to invoke the “fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel”.


#3

Yes, this is getting ridiculous. Actually it is not ridiculous - this level of ignorance and activism is truly worrying for the democratic tradition in this country. History has been gone for over 50 years as any sort of shared cultural knowledge, identity. Poorly informed, very simplistic, rigid ideological puritanism has taken over the Left. And it is getting increasingly irrational and vindictive. This is the kind of thing they did to the Church in the French Revolution. I used to be on the Left…I am not any more. There is a reason for that I assure you. I am not the one that changed.


#4

Whilst I can understand people not identifying with the side General Lee fought for, there seems to be a worryingly reductionist trend whereby abstractions are replacing people. I’d really hate to come back in a century and find what happened to my family memorials as whilst they don’t weight six tonnes or anything like it they are distinctive and include a Soviet Star, Irish iconography and text in Russian, Irish and English. If someone walked around the cemetery my family are in they would find similar graves as well with mixed cultural heritages. Will someone at some future point decided a certain part of the story of those lives no longer fits the official party line and airbrush it out retrospectively by whipping out the major monuments to war dead and so forth? The American Civil War is a story that has a lot of ugliness in it but if you ignore it or pretend it was not there or reduce the actors to black hats vs. white hats you tell a false tale and do disservice to those who fell on both sides.


#5

My family settled in Ohio from Alsace, so I don’t really have a horse in this race so to speak, but I am reminded about the old saying that people who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. By taking down all of these old confederate memorials, people are in a sense trying to erase history. Speaking of history, I doubt it will be kind to the “statue removers” who are just a few steps above book burners in my mind.


#6

Those who start by burning books tend to end in burning people to echo one German writer. My own country did this business of knocking down statues once we became independent, surprise, surprise we didn’t all suddenly become wealthy and wise or get rid of the past, in fact it was pretty stupid all told.


#7

This isn’t a “sudden” problem. It’s been a problem since the end of the war. And it isn’t revisionism. Nobody is trying to erase history. People are re-evaluating whom they want to honor with public memorials. The history is in books and museums and battle fields preserved all across the country.

A book burning is about destroying knowledge. Removing a statue is about no longer choosing to pay tribute to a person or thing. These are different.


#8

Who is choosing though, it would seem plenty of people still do respect General Lee and that this is a decision been forced from above. It seems akin to knocking down statues of previous regimes or those not deemed to fit the historical narrative any longer.


#9

The Dallas City Council. The elected representatives who may lawfully make these decisions. A private citizen can erect any monument they want on their own land.

And talk of regimes is a bit hyperbolic. It’s been what… five or six generations since the Civil War. The national opinion will grow and change. Lost Cause readings of history are falling out of favor for a reason - it doesn’t add up.


#10

Perhaps it’s different perspective, for me in my own country six or seven generations is not that long ago and we regularly remember events from a thousand years or more ago. I don’t view it as a Lost Cause, That term is amusingly enough used for our Civil War in Ireland also by the way for the losing side. Probably universally applied to numerous Civil Wars. The US regime seems inclined to push an agenda led version of history where abstractions and causes tend to matter more than the people or the reality that all on every side were fellow humans. Not uncommon and certainly not unique to the USA. It takes time to work through this sort of history, the UK went through this with memorials to it’s own Civil War before finally coming round again and now you find memorials to individuals from both sides at this point in time.


#11

I just finished a history of Russia - 20th century. This is what the Bolsheviks did - destroying the past, removing all symbols, statutes, and imposing a whole new national vision - no dissent allowed. I realize this an extreme comparison; but what is worrying is that it is not as extreme as you would think. A lot of people are not even aware of the danger. Ideas don’t have much currency in the US. History is subject to ideology. Mutual respect, tolerance in any real sense of the word is simply not part of social discourse anymore. The South were considered our brothers; it was a Civil War. Not anymore. The enemy is inhuman. Past OR present. Politicians, civic leaders now bow to this mentality as the new norm. It is the result of the Obama era - that is the truth.


#12

Not “a lost cause”. Lost Cause.


#13

FDR was the one who helped dedicate it.

I am very happy to take part in this unveiling of the statue of General Robert E. Lee.

All over the United States we recognize him as a great leader of men, as a great general. But, also, all over the United States I believe that we recognize him as something much more important than that. We recognize Robert E. Lee as one of our greatest American Christians and one of our greatest American gentlemen.

I think a big problem was the way Dallas handled it. “Let’s have a committee and weigh this issue thoughtfully! Let’s get input from the community and proceed in a measured manner!” and but from the get-go, it’s really “Let’s steamroll this through; let’s pretend to get community input from maybe 5 or 10 people; let’s pretend to have a vote; but let’s already have the crane in place before the vote even happens.” And then they discover the crane is too small. And then they have to ship off to get a new crane from 300 miles away. And then that new crane has an accident on the way to the site, and kills someone. And that’s not even touching on the practicalities-- how much does this cost ($450k or more); where did the money come from; were there other things that were a little more pressing than a statue that’s been there longer than 95% of the population can remember, of a guy that no one alive has ever met, and probably no one alive has ever met anyone who had met him, and a war that was almost 70 wars ago– but 90,000 Texans fought in (on one side or another), and presumably, have left a handful of descendants?

A little virtue-signalling can be annoying, but spending half a million on it is a luxury reserved for communities that aren’t already swamped by unfunded pension debt. You don’t have to celebrate all aspects of your history— but you don’t need to pretend it never happened.

Lee Park includes not just a statue, but a 2/3rds replica of the Lee-Custis Mansion from Arlington, VA. Millions were spent on the renovation about 15 years ago, and the gardens continue to be expanded. Why not just burn the replica house down while they’re at it, if they’re so offended by the statue of the guy who lived in the original for 30 years?


#14

Yes Rhubard I’m familiar with the term and how it is used in the US to refer to the C.S.A… However one of my problems with the whole removal of statues etc. is that a nation that is essentially built on what might be called treason is now going nanas about these statues and blathering on about them being monuments to racism and treason. The whole rather late in the day moral about face strikes me as rather convenient and not a touch hypocritical and reminds me of the line that the face of smug virtue can be more deadly than that of evil at times.


#15

I just find the removal of these statues after they have stood for so many years a sad
footnote in our history.


#16

Surely burning down the mansion would add an authentic historical feel to the proceedings. I say that as black comedy but I would not be surprised if someone is seriously suggesting demolishing it.


#17

I don’t really follow the idea of “choosing to honor someone else.” That argument was never put forward. I think it is more accurate to say that the confederate monuments are no longer politically correct, and the “progressive” movement has made these monuments their next place to make a statement.

There are people in and around Washington that see and fear that an upcoming target will be the Jefferson Memorial, as Jefferson was a slave owner. People are even knocking Lincoln now. I never liked Andrew Jackson, but they are booting him off the 20.00 bill. This has nothing to do with choosing to honor someone else, with all due respect.


#18

We’ve been through this silliness in Ireland about 20 years ago where people kept finding this or that other peccadillo by national figures in our history and trying to argue therefore they should be revised out of the history of the nation or the role they played ‘de-emphasised’. My wife refers to this sort of carry on as, “Stalin’s airbrush”. Those familiar with pictures of that leader which were retrospectively altered to remove figures no longer high in the regard of those in power or who had fallen into disfavour will be aware exactly what she means.


#19

“No longer politically correct” is a right wing spin to “these people don’t deserve to be honored”. Why do you think it’s no longer politically correct? Because the association offends people. That’s what being politically correct means - talking or behaving in a way that doesn’t offend voters.


#20

I also worry about this beautiful monument, The Lion of Atlanta


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