I might like it aesthetically, but the Confederate flag belongs in the dustbin of history, a traitorous symbol of a rightly destroyed rebellion. You know that when even NASCAR has come around to my way of thinking, big changes are afoot.Â
Likewise, Iâ€™m very much in favor of renaming our military bases. I didnâ€™t even know they were named after Confederates. Whatever the process was to name the bases after Rebel generals, we should use it to rename the bases after Union generals or similar, non-traitor types.Â
Where it goes south (ha!) for me is the destruction of Confederate statues:
One hundred fifty-five years after the end of the Civil War, a sculpture of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, was toppled in the Virginia city that American secessionists called their capital. In Alabama, a statue of Robert E. Lee, the Confederacyâ€™s most honored general, was knocked over in front of a Montgomery high school that bears his name. In a blitz that burst out of the anti-police-brutality movement, protesters this month have vandalized and removed dozens of monuments to Confederate politicians and soldiers.
Across the South â€” from Virginia, where the Democratic governor embraced the removal of symbols that many whites once considered sacred, to Alabama, where Republican lawmakers recently made it illegal to relocate or remove any Confederate memorials â€” dramatic scenes of destruction recalled the fall of the Soviet Union, when crowds tore down statues of Lenin, Stalin and other icons of totalitarianism.
This is precisely the problem. The United States is not a totalitarian regime. However awful Trump might be, we are at least meant to be a nation of laws. There is a legal process for statue removal and whatever it is it should be used. If that legal process does not workâ€”say your representative votes against removing the statuesâ€”then you need to vote them out of office.Â
If you canâ€™t convince enough people of the rightness of your cause then the statues stay. Because thatâ€™s how democracy works, like it or not.Â
I would be happy to have Confederate statues removed. I remember visiting Austin, Texas a few years back and touring the statehouse grounds. I was stunned to find it littered with Confederate statues. Itâ€™s not for me to tell Texans anything, but wow.Â
Nonetheless, wanton destruction of public property, even statues to loser generals, is not okay. Stepping outside the law has consequences. Because in 20 years when somebody pulls down your favorite Barak Obama statue, what legal recourse do you have? When you go outside the law to achieve your ends, you lose the protection of the law during times when you need it. Thatâ€™s nothing to throw away on a sculpture memorizing a traitor.