Removing Taney statue was the right thing to do
Much has been made about Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) opinion and later his vote on the Maryland State House Trust to remove the statue of Roger Taney from the Maryland State House grounds. It seems a vocal group of people have decided this is “political correctness” run amuck or, better yet, the whitewashing of American history. However, I would suggest every single person that has had time to comment on Facebook instead take the time to explore exactly who Roger B. Taney was and what he believed in.
As a U.S. Attorney General and subsequently a Supreme Court Justice, they would find no shortage of his writings available on the internet. A bronze memorial on the hallowed grounds of the Maryland State House should be reserved for the most revered of Marylanders. Maybe in 1872 when the memorial was unveiled this was the case, but times change. We don’t have to accept the fact he was revered in 1872 and continue to look at a memorial of someone that considered 29 percent of the state’s current population inferior to the point that they could be “bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, wherever profit could be made by it.” The majority opinion that he authored on Dred Scott vs. Sanford is appalling in a way that it’s impossible to believe that the statue has remained on the grounds until now.
I spend a fair amount of time in the state’s capital, and the grounds of the State House are absolutely inspiring in their beauty. They should be enjoyed by every citizen of Maryland, without having to observe a memorial to someone that held beliefs so counter to what this state stands for. I truly believe statues and memorials are meant for someone that should be revered and celebrated for their actions, not simply as a historical reminder of that dark chapter in American history. We should continue to teach about Roger B. Taney and his writings; they are an important part of our history and I don’t think anyone’s arguing that. I just cannot fathom why anyone would want to continue to have his likeness displayed at what is supposed to be the People of Maryland’s house. How could I explain to my son why this man was so worthy of the admiration of Marylanders?
Maryland is one of the most wonderfully diverse states in the country and we are all lucky to be its citizens. I truly believe Gov. Hogan made the correct decision, and that the large majority of the state’s citizens agreed with him.