Readers comments 9-8-17
The claim is being made that removal of statues commemorating leaders of the Confederacy is an attempt to erase history or to forget something of our past. Those statues were erected during a time when the aim in the south was to keep freed slaves and their descendants in their place. It was the time when there were about 4,000 terrorist lynchings of blacks in the states of the former Confederacy. That is the piece of history that has been erased.
I thus suggest that we leave the Confederate statues up and put next to each of them a statue depicting a lynching with a plaque reminding viewers of the forgotten facts of our history and the connection between the two statues.
The left isn’t for free speech
Interesting to see that Ellen Taylor and the League of Women Voters are not pro-first amendment enough to take a stand against the hatred displayed by the leftist protestors.
Ms. Taylor’s lack of acknowledgment of the racist ideologue’s right to peacefully assemble and march as a cornerstone of our democracy stands in direct contrast to Justice William O. Douglas’ opinion on allowing provocative and inflammatory content of speech which can potentially be seen as positive.
As demonstrated in Charlottesville, the left has tried to squelch all forms of expression and exercising of rights (the Second Amendment is a great example) that don’t go along with their drumbeat to build a “1984 utopia.” Why is the left afraid of civil rights? I sincerely hope that the emotional outrage, hatred and intolerance used by leaders of the left to prey on their flock gets toned down for our society’s stability.
Cool heads must prevail in challenging times. I have family members who lived in Europe during World War II and who, at considerable personal risk, hid Jews from the Nazis and saved them from the death camps at Dachau and Auschwitz.
After the war, many remorseful citizens asked themselves how rational, peaceful people like themselves could have allowed such atrocities to happen. A frequent answer was, incredulously, that people simply got swept up in the frenzy of the times.
Ellen Taylor’s letter on behalf of the League of Women Voters prompted me to reflect on recent public demonstrations where people on both sides have displayed elements of the fear-based, reactionary frenzy reminiscent of European history.
People on both sides seem to have a righteous indignation and a sense of entitlement to the right to their own opinion with complete disregard for the rights and opinions of others, to the point of justifying unlawful and anarchistic actions.
I heartily agree with Ms. Taylor that free speech and the right to peaceably assemble are cornerstones of our democracy. However, peaceable assemblies can develop into dangerous oppositional melees that fuel violent adversarial actions rather than wise, authentic, collaborative solutions. The adrenaline-rushing, news-making protests and counter-protests can lead to ill-designed and regrettable political decisions.
Ms. Taylor, as VP for Advocacy of the LWV, offers opportunities for individuals to act through certain faith and social justice groups whose positional biases are well-known and are supported by many. In all respect to Ms. Taylor and these organizations, I would like to suggest an alternative course of action.
I find hate hateful, but it is precisely that contradiction that allows me to listen openly to hateful speech and behavior. It is only by truly hearing the underlying fears and fallacies of others that we can begin to develop a clear understanding and reach a long lasting peace.
Racism is morally wrong, but I can see that cultural preservationism, ethnic diversity, personal individualism and social justice (in its multitudinous definitions), are understandable sentiments.
Rigid positional thinking is not unlike Chris Rubel’s schnauzer who snarls at disagreeable news, forcibly silences it and holds hostage the control, which rightfully belongs to others.
Ms. Taylor’s suggestion, albeit well-intentioned, misses the point of the bigger picture of the potential of harmonious interaction among people of diverse viewpoints. Humans are called to be thoughtful, compassionate and respectful toward one another, not confronting each other with self-centered agendas.
Rather than joining and supporting a group we would be willing to fight for, perhaps we should reach out in genuine kindness and friendship to a group with whom we disagree, and perhaps develop a relationship where fighting would be the last thing on our minds.