Why Confederate Monuments Should Not Be Torn Down

Why Confederate Monuments Should Not Be Torn Down

You can't hide your history, America

New Orleans (especially the French Quarter) is a city very near and dear to my heart. From the winos on Canal Street to Doreen Ketchens and her clarinet filling the air with sweet music on Royal Street, my heart and soul belong to New Orleans.

On Thursday, city council members voted 6-1 to remove four Confederate statues and monuments, including the 131 year old statue of General Robert E. Lee which stands in the center of Lee Circle.

Robert E. Lee on Lee Circle next to Lee Drive by the Lee Railroad leeleeleelee

The initiative is an attempt by the city to sever ties with Louisiana's Confederate past and move forward into a new age of enlightenment, understanding, and love.

And I am wholly against it.

I am a Southerner, born and raised. I am proud of that fact to no end, especially because our food, manners, and accents just can't be beat.

What I am not proud of is our often-parodied, much-maligned (and rightfully so) history. In fact, the quickest way to get me to shut up about my southern pride is to mention the 1600s to the 1960s. I will never say "heritage, not hate", because whether we like it or not, hate is our heritage. When it comes to the treatment of persons of color, our track records is abysmal, and anybody who can't recite Dale Earnhardt's stats at the drop of a hat will agree.

These monuments to once-venerated men deserve to stand as gleaming reminders of our history mired in prejudice and hatred and warnings against future injustices. These statues should serve as a constant reminder of what we once were and must never allow ourselves to be again. Our national history is not an Instagram profile; we cannot simply delete the unseemly aspects to make ourselves appear to be innocent.

These statues are, over a century after their erection (stop laughing, grow up), no longer points of pride intended to evoke reverence and respect. They are tangible reminders of a not-too-distant time when black Americans were considered property. Of a time of "separate but equal" ideology. Of a time when basic human liberties were still denied to many a mere 30 years before many of my generation were born.

When one sees "Jefferson Davis" emblazoned across a plaque shrouded in patina, disgust should be the instinctive reaction. Disgust, hatred, confusion, the entire gamut of negatively charged emotions. To remove them from the public sight is to confine the tragedies of yesteryear to the classrooms and libraries, where they will become distant, caked with dust and, over time, forgotten.

These symbols of hatred are not time capsules which hold America's prejudices within their copper lining. They are not some kind of Gone-With-the-Wind-themed "Pandora's Box", locked and loaded to fill the world with hate. There is no next step to confronting the horrific ideologies which these men fought to defend after this. Tearing down a statue will not do anything to alter the bigotry that lives on in the hearts and minds of so many. The only thing that this sudden wave of mob mentality will accomplish is relegating America's past to just that; its past. Racial inequality is still a persistent problem in contemporary America and, at the risk of sounding like a pessimist, will more than likely be a problem long after I die. This isn't a matter of mere history. These statues' very existence into the 21st century is an act of defiance against the romanticization of the Old South. The sins committed by these men do not deserve to be forgotten. To remove the statues is to absolve those that they honor, and any attempt to do so is both foolish and insensitive.

Monuments such as these should be treated as the scars on the face of our great nation that they are; we should cringe when we look up at them, we should tense up when we walk past them. These statues should humble us, sadden us, embarrass us, infuriate us, force us to confront the past in our daily routines and consider their implications in the modern day.

So to those advocating for the removal of these statues, attempting to (no pun intended) whitewash history, I say:

You can sweep everything under the rug, but you still won't have a clean house.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.scvtaylorcamp.com/lmfiles/LA-JJ-9a%20-%20New%20Orleans,%20Orleans%20Parish.jpg

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?


Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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