Remove this, rename that. The push to replace and resist celebrating people and things that violate humanity is admirable. However, in America, the trend is counterproductive, partisan and will create a predictable, political cycle.
Each year in the middle of October, the nation gathers to celebrate the controversy of Columbus Day. Christopher Columbus, being Italian, it was fitting that among the first lobbyist for a holiday come from the Knights of Columbus, an international Roman Catholic fraternal society. Their aim was to make October 12th a legal holiday. Colorado became the first state in 1907. It has been celebrated on the second Monday in October since 1971.
Opposition has existed as far back as its establishment, with American faction from common White citizens to the Ku Klux Klan pushing against immigrant expanse and influence in the states. The most intense movements against Columbus Day have occurred in the 21st century along with more public outcry for international human rights. The genocide of the various tribes and nations after the arrival of Columbus and other European explorers, being the reason for the objection. It is not only the memorial days that are being checked, but also the symbolic statues in cities like Pittsburgh and Syracuse.
The reasoning behind the movement is clear. The nation and world want to correct what is perceived to be wrong. One cannot simply discover a land with people, take it over, kill, manipulate and annihilate the communities, and then erect statues, and recognize such people on a federal holiday. Other reasons are rather emotional. Many of the relics run parallel to the opposition of terroristic, criminal behavior. It is the reason why particular ethnic slurs are taken seriously. These things represented a time and place when it was legal to violate people and their innate rights. There are a plethora of rational reasons why these things should be removed, replaced or changed.
Another issue, particularly with the confederate flag and other Civil War era relics is allegiance. When is it ever proper or patriotic to put a symbol of rebellion to the United States of America on public property? If the war was lost, the flags, statues and days consistent with an enemy of America should never be tolerated.
That much is agreed and understood.
However, in a nation like the United States of America, a republic, it is not that simple. Of course, if there is a vote to remove, replace or demote a day, then that is fair. There are several reasons why, days of commemoration, statues and boundaries should never be moved or replaced. First if the statues, flags and days were established legally, regardless of future change in laws, they should remain in place. Again, the only exception would be if these things represented war opposition. Sitting generals, of the Confederacy would be unwelcome in public settings in this country.
Instead of removing and renaming, one option would be to add to, for example a street name. Instead of renaming John Doe Avenue to Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, the street is named John Doe Ave./MLK Ave, with the year by each name. This gives the whole story, and lets people understand who, and maybe what and why. Symbols are here for us to learn and celebrate. If something was celebrated by a segment of the population for generations, it should remain. When we start tearing things down, a question needs to be asked. What are we going to replace it with? Surely there will be the same opposition to certain names that are approved in legislative activity. In several generation, depending who is power and what is discovered, it too may fall out of favor.
The same intellectual descendants that oppose the statues, are of the same systems that allowed them to be erected, as Jim Crow flourished unchecked. It is too late to pretend that it is a concern, simply because we are war politically, in a battle with the left and right. How many of the statues could many of us even name? Education, the fact about the events, will do more wonders that simply dismantling what may be embraced or celebrated.
So, leave the statues, the holidays, the relics. Oh, and the gerrymandering, the redistricting lines? Let’s leave those alone, too.