Professor calls for “compromise” on Lee statue

At LEE University no less

During a Cleveland, Tennessee City Council meeting, Lee University communication professor Rondall Reynoso told council members that the city can take antiracist actions without removing its Confederate statue. 

Reynoso instead proposed that the city construct a partial cylinder around the statue to conceal it from most angles.

The monument in question is an off-campus Confederate statue that has become a prominent location for protesters, both in support of and against, to gather after Lee University students started a petition demanding that the statue be moved.

But because the local United Daughters of the Confederacy chapter technically owns the portion of land on which the statue sits, the city and state’s hands are tied when it comes to calls to move the monument. Reynoso, however, has come up with a possible workaround. 

Because the land immediately surrounding the statue is public, Reynoso proposed constructing a partial cylinder around the monument.

Good Grief! It is a monument, to Confederate soldiers, most of whom likely fought to defend their state, and not slavery. Their sacrifice and service deserve remembering, and should remain. Yet, nearly 11,000 have signed the petition, which gives a list of “appropriate” locations it could be moved to. Of course as soon as it was moved, some snowflake would see it, contract Offendeditis and demand it be moved again. But, we must grasp how deeply ignorant this woman is who started this petition

In downtown Cleveland stands a 1910 memorial dedicated to Confederate soldiers. This monument is located at the intersection of Broad, Ocoee, and 8th. It lies directly across the street from Lee University, a Christan campus teeming with racial and international diversity, and breeds discomfort for many students (and residents) of color.  Therefore, this petition is calling for the removal of this statue as it no longer represents the ideals of the great city of Cleveland. This statue was erected by the Daughters of the Confederacy (DoC), an organization known for its incredibly racist and oppressive history. The DoC built this statue in a period of significant racial conflict with the intent to intimidate liberated African-Americans and promote a “white” America.

Well, obviously she is a history major, given that she accuses the DoC United Daughters of the Confederacy or UDC of a long history of INCREDIBLE RACISM AND OPPRESSION!!! Really, you mean the group of elderly ladies that take care of memorials, Confederate graves and such? They are oppressors?

How about a different solution? How about those always screeching about tolerance, actually start practicing tolerance. After they have an adult read the definition to them first of course. Perhaps they could read some books about Confederate soldiers? They might start with a book by James McPherson What They Fought For reading it would, I think, educate our offended petitioner. DC McAllister reveals some very important facts from that book

Contrary to popular opinions today, Union soldiers did not primarily fight to free the slaves or to secure their equality. Most believed they fought to preserve the Union. Likewise, Confederate soldiers did not primarily fight for slavery. Most believed they fought to preserve the independence of the South from Northern invaders

In saying this, I am not making the case that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery. It certainly was, but it wasn’t only—or even primarily—about slavery. This doesn’t diminish the integral role slavery played in the war, but there was much more to it, and our judgments need to be based on the words of those who actually fought in the war, not on tales spun by propagandists.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author James McPherson, who wrote “What They Fought For,” researched hundreds of letters from both the North and South, and he found an intricate record of ideals and motivations among the soldiers. No side, no one person was all evil or all good. They were human beings, struggling with moral issues and perspectives shaped by beliefs, cultural biases and prejudices. Some of these were just, and others horribly unjust—there is no justification for the evil of slavery—but this doesn’t change the complexity of the individuals or their motivations.

Because of this fact, we should be circumspect in our judgments of human beings from the past even as we condemn their sin. Instead of casting them in a frame that makes them easy targets for current political gain, we should know them as they were, not as we imagine them to be. These men were our relatives—fathers, sons, brothers, real human beings with strengths and weaknesses. We should remember them this way, as men of their times, fighting and dying for what each individual believed was right, wrestling with moral dilemmas as real as those we face today.

Reading through these men’s letters, McPherson found that “themes of liberty and republicanism,” not slavery, “formed the ideological core of the cause for which Civil War soldiers fought, Confederate as well as Union.”

“Americans in both North and South believed themselves custodians of the legacy of 1776. The crisis of 1861 was the great test of whether they were worthy of the heritage of liberty bequeathed to them by the founding fathers. On their shoulders rode the fate of the great experiment in republican government launched in 1776. Both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis appealed to this intense consciousness of parallels between 1776 and 1861.”

Sadly, we have, as a nation tried to reduce the War Between the States to a fight over slavery and nothing else A war where a good North vanquished an bad South. A consequence of this is that many “educated” people think they are well versed on the war when, in fact, they are sadly and deeply ignorant. We have not forgotten history, we have learned a censored and dumbed down history. Those who made the history from 1861-65 deserve better, and so do our future generations. Erasing or cleansing history will never fix that

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