On June 25, Jim Creighton posted an op-ed in the N.H. Union Leader excoriating protesters who damaged (or threatened to damage) some monuments honoring men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. Creighton wrote about the importance of preserving monuments to such leaders despite their shortcomings.
There is, however, a much more important issue at stake involving monuments — but it’s an issue that Creighton’s op-ed does not address. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, in 2018 there were 1,728 tributes (statues, place names and the like) that still celebrate the Confederacy. That includes 772 Confederate monuments in 23 states and the District of Columbia.
The long campaign to remove these Confederate tributes accelerated after the May 25 killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. After Floyd’s murder, Black Lives Matter expanded rapidly into what is now the largest political movement in U.S. history. Confronting white supremacy and the Confederacy’s legacy are front and center.
The world is, therefore, changing. Towns are voting to remove Confederate monuments from town squares. NASCAR has banned the Confederate battle flag. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is taking a “hard look” at renaming Army bases named in honor of Confederate generals — because, he says, those generals committed “an act of treason.”
The drive to eliminate Confederate tributes is work in progress. Because of Black Lives Matter and its allies, progress is evident. Jim Creighton’s op-ed about statues doesn’t even mention this campaign. Why not?
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