I do not think we should sanitize history. Slavery was a real and morally reprehensible era of our history. The Confederate flag was flown by, and represents, those who wanted to keep people of color enslaved. It was used by those who were traitors to the Union of the United States as they sought to leave the union in order to keep human beings enslaved. The Confederate flag is as much of an offence to Blacks as the Swastika is an offence to Jews.
Some say it represents their heritage and not slavery. Yet the heritage of the South is too great, rich, and wonderful to be devalued by a flag that was flown by those who fought to keep others enslaved. The Confederate flag represents the sin of our past and a sin that we need to confess as evil and a sin that we need to be seeking God’s Grace to overcome. Therefore the Confederate Flag has no place on any public property.
Because free speech is a fundamental right of Democracy flying the Confederate Flag on private property is, and should be, allowed. But anyone who chooses to display it must realize that to tens of millions of people it represents an evil that we fought a war to eradicate. They have the right to align themselves with that evil if they choose but they need to realize they have stepped outside the bounds of a civil society.
The removal of the statue of General Robert E Lee from Emancipation Park is the catalyst that sparked the Alt-Right’s show of force and the subsequent violence in Charlottesville. The Mayor of Charlottesville, Michael Signer, has become a vocal critic of President Trump’s callous response to the violence in Charlottesville. Interestingly enough he did not support the removal of the statue. Recently Condoleezza Rice, in defense of keeping the statues up, said history should not be sanitized. I too think the statutes should not be taken down but they should not become monuments either. We should simply call them statues of southern generals. Actually we have sanitized history by making these men heroes; men who may have been great military leaders and strategists but were morally bankrupt. The nation was coming to grips with the sin of slavery and these men chose to go to war, fight and kill, for the right to continue to own slaves. That was wrong. Plaques at all those statues should be placed on them for every future generation to see. Those plaques should say “These men fought to keep blacks enslaved. Thank God they lost.”