Surrender: University of Texas Makes Confederate Statues Disappear
The University of Texas is getting out in front of the anti-Confederate movement sweeping America this month by removing the statues of Robert E. Lee and other Civil War luminaries from a conspicuous area of the campus. UT President Greg Fenves ordered the immediate removal of the statues on Sunday night, declaring that they had turned into “symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism.”
Crews were in place Sunday night to prepare for the removal; the university announced that the statues would be gone by midday on Monday.
This is not the first time the university has taken aim at Confederate statues. In 2015, after the shooting at a black church in Charleston, S.C., the university moved a statue of Jefferson Davis from its prominent place near the campus clock tower to a history museum. Fenves has announced that statues of Lee, Confederate Postmaster General John Reagan, and Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston will now join Davis in the Brisco Center for American History.
“Last week, the horrific displays of hatred at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville shocked and saddened the nation,” said Fenves in a statement. “These events make it clear, now more than ever, that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism.”
While Fenves isn’t entirely wrong about that last part, that fact only makes it more shameful that his school (and so many other cities, towns, and campuses) are giving in to this movement so willingly. Now is the time when academics and historians should be pushing back – hard – on any attempts to re-categorize these memorials as symbols of white supremacy. They were never intended to stand for hate, nor were they intended to stand as apologia for the Confederate cause. They were certainly never intended to invoke an argument for slavery! So why should neo-Nazis get to tarnish everything these statues truly symbolize?
Far from memorials to evil, these monuments are a living testament to some of the most heroic, brave soldiers and leaders this country has ever produced. Were they ultimately on the wrong side of history? Few would disagree. Then again, few would argue in 2017 that there were not at least a few moral issues with the war America’s first pioneers waged against the Native American population. That’s the thing about history. It ain’t always pretty. But we can acknowledge that truth without severing our link to it.
Tearing down statues of Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis will accomplish exactly NOTHING when it comes to issues of modern-day racial equality. In fact, it accomplishes just the opposite. It lumps proud Southern men in with the absolute dregs of society. It forces them to choose between their own heritage and the absurd demands of political correctness. It ultimately dooms this country to continued division along scar lines that the LEFT – not the right – is opening anew.