Let’s Stop And Think About This

You could write a book.

Perhaps someone should.

A “conversation” we Americans should have had years ago is occurring now. Trouble is, we’re not talking with one another. We’re not pausing to consider the other person’s point of view. Instead, we’re screaming epithets at those with whom we disagree.

Those who know of my interest in the Civil War understand my desire to weigh in on the call for statues of Confederate leaders — and now, private soldiers — to be removed. I have very strong opinions on the subject.

So do many other people, and their thoughts go far beyond the knee-jerk emotions that seem to be ruling the day now.

This is not a simple question with a one-sentence answer. People on both sides have reasonable arguments to make.

Think, for example, about how black people feel when they view some of the Confederate statues that may have been erected to convey a message about how local officials viewed racial equality.

Think, too, about how the descendants of Confederate soldiers who, in their minds, were fighting to defend their homes, not to perpetuate slavery, feel when a crowd destroys the statue of a private in Robert E. Lee’s army.

By my count, incidentally, there are two statues of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson in West Virginia. One is at the Harrison County Courthouse in Clarksburg. The other is on the state Capitol grounds in Charleston; a bust of Jackson is displayed inside the Capitol.

In addition, there are six statues of Confederate private soldiers, located in Greenbrier, Logan, Monroe, Randolph, Summers and Wood counties.

One could go on and on about all the ramifications of the current hysteria aimed at anything Confederate. But what to do about Confederate statues is being decided now in the heat of a moment when very little thought seems to be going on.

It’s time to call a halt.

Surely we Americans can find ways to acknowledge the concerns of both sides in the debate. Placing some of the statues in museums where context can be provided may be one option.

Allowing the current chaos to continue should not be seen as a viable path.

Someone really should write that book.

Then, we ought to read it.

Myer can be reached at: mmyer@theintelligencer.net.