Archive for June 15th, 2020

Service of Set in Stone: Make Changes but Leave Statues Alone

Monday, June 15th, 2020


I disagree with the downing of statues. A piece of history and art is gone. But what has the destruction done to change the lives of injured parties?

I maintain that most citizens haven’t a clue about the people depicted in the statues much less anything about their lives.

John McDonogh Photo:

I hadn’t heard of John McDonogh until this weekend when his statue landed in the Mississippi River. A successful entrepreneur, some highlights about him in addition to his being a slaveholder according to Wikipedia : “He had devised a manumission scheme whereby the people he held as enslaved could ‘buy’ their own freedom, which took them some 15 years. In his will he provided large grants for the public education of children of poor whites and freed people of color in New Orleans and Baltimore.” He also supported the American Colonization Society, which organized transportation for freed people of color to Liberia.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants the bronze statue of Christopher Columbus by Jeronimo Suñol in Manhattan to remain in place. “He said he supports the iconic Manhattan monument because it has come to represent the assimilation of Italian-American people,” Jon Campbell of reported. “Protesters, who have also targeted Confederate monuments across the country, say Columbus’ exploration shouldn’t be idolized because it led to the massacre and forced migration of Native Americans,” Campbell wrote.

While the New York Governor isn’t keen on pulling down statues, he actually DID SOMETHING to face up to police brutality: he signed a bill banning police choke holds and other modifications while implementing executive orders demanding changes with teeth for towns throughout the state. If local administrations want state money they must comply.

Jay Leno Photo:

History isn’t our strong suit. Like me most Americans couldn’t identify the 19th and early 20th century people represented in most statuary so they could hardly be offended by it. Remember Jay Leno’s “JayWalking” segments in which he’d ask questions of the public like “who is this?” showing a photo of Barack Obama when he ran for President–the respondent didn’t know–or “Where is Bangkok?” Answer: “a hotel” or “What was the disaster of 1986?” Answer “Pearl Harbor.”

Is there a single public figure who hasn’t infuriated one or another group? If we take down one statue shouldn’t we take them all down and make it a law that no statues be allowed in public places in future?

Don’t most prominent figures have a few redeeming virtues and accomplishments along with what we find repugnant about them today? Is removing a figure of someone whose behavior, in hindsight, is considered atrocious supposed to change what happened or substantially help the offended?


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