Dis­cus­sion

Smithsonian Magazine - - Contents -

I found “The Costs of the Con­fed­er­acy” in­cred­i­bly one-sided. To lump all those linked to the Con­fed­er­acy as pro­mot­ing a white agenda is wrong. To­day’s val­ues should not be ap­plied to peo­ple who lived in the past. South­ern states have a right to pre­serve their his­tory—the good, the bad and the ugly. Ar­ti­cles like this do more to pro­mote ha­tred and divi­sion than to bring us to­gether.

— Se­lena Le­vitt | Wild­wood, Mis­souri

His­tory is just that, his­tory. Peo­ple should learn from his­tory, not tear down and de­stroy the sym­bols of it.

— Daniel S. Poko­r­ney | La Grande, Ore­gon

There are two types of Civil War mon­u­ments. We should keep the his­tor­i­cal ones, erected right af­ter the war to honor dead and wounded com­mu­nity mem­bers. But her­itage mon­u­ments, erected long af­ter the war, were in­tended as pro­pa­ganda, pure and sim­ple. Voltaire said, “If we be­lieve ab­sur­di­ties, we shall com­mit atroc­i­ties”; the her­itage mon­u­ments of the Con­fed­er­acy are ab­sur­di­ties, and have directly lead to atroc­i­ties. If we can’t bring them down, then at least we should de­fund them.

— Co­ryn Wei­gle | Alexan­dria, Vir­ginia

As long as our lead­ers fail to ad­dress racism (which is not lim­ited to the South), tax­pay­ers will con­tinue to sup­port what is ul­ti­mately a white na­tion­al­ist cause. Un­like Ger­many, which ac­knowl­edged its hor­rific his­tory, we are mired in sen­ti­men­tal­ity for a past that never ex­isted.

— Dar­ryl En­gle | Chan­dler, Ari­zona

While tax dol­lars should not sup­port Lost Cause mythol­ogy, the ques­tion is how to deal hon­estly with this shame to our na­tion’s his­tory. This ar­ti­cle is a step in this long strug­gle.

— Robert Wil­lett | Pasadena, Cal­i­for­nia

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