Arlington National Cemetery is the only monument we need to Robert E. Lee


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/08/23/arlington-national-cemetery-is.html


#2

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#3

"Arguments attempting to equate slave owning founding fathers of the United States, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and their resultant memorials, with statues of Confederate General Robert E. Lee that are currently being removed across the nation are ridiculous. "

A very fair point. So, if there are any attempts to remove memorials to Revolutionary War heroes who also owned slaves, will you be standing in opposition??


#4

Was the revolutionary war almost exclusively about the right to own slaves?

The Civil War and the Revolutionary War are not morally equivalent. And trying to say they are says a lot about your own beliefs on slavery.


#5

There’s always the compromise:

Slave holding confederates: traitors.
Slave holding presidents, and revolutionary war heroes: flawed individuals, remembered for other things.


#6

I would listen to the folks attempting to remove the memorials state their argument on a case by case, monument by monument basis. “Heroes” are also “humans” and flawed. Washington was a flawed example of his time and a Hero of our revolution. We should acknowledge both.


#7

No, I was agreeing with jlw, if what he is saying is that the heroes of 1776 are worth honoring and the “heroes” of the CSA are not.


#8

Looks to me like you were JAQing off.


#9

Traitors are not worth honoring. Arlington points out Lee’s dishonor.

Revolutionary War heroes are heroes, their flawed participation in an ugly societal practice is notable but not damning.


#10

"Arguments attempting to equate slave owning founding fathers of the United States, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and their resultant memorials, with statues of Confederate General Robert E. Lee that are currently being removed across the nation are ridiculous. "

Calling everyone that disagrees with you on this “ridiculous” seems to me about as illiberal a viewpoint as you could have.

There are people that believe that slave owners shouldn’t be honored.
Schools have changed names of buildings because the namesakes were slave owners.
Pundits on CNN have said that monuments to slave owners should be removed:

“George Washington was a slave owner, and we need to call slave owners out for what they are, whether we think they were protecting American freedom or not,” Rye said. “He wasn’t protecting my freedom. My ancestors weren’t deemed human beings to him.”

“So to me, I don’t care if it’s a George Washington statue or a Thomas Jefferson statue or a Robert E. Lee statue. They all need to come down,” Rye said.

Ridiculous? Maybe not.


#11

But… that practice (and the continued war, land expropriation, and genocide) against native Americans is why nobody else anywhere in the world cares at all about the American revolution. When you first hear about it you ask about the native Americans and the slaves… It takes an awful lot of propaganda for a bunch of Anglos complaining about tax or something to be more important than slavery and genocide.

I should probably express that a bit less harshly. My children and I (okay me chiefly) really enjoy singing along to Hamilton (so they already have much more reference to the American “revolution” than I did as a child) but slavery comes up when we talk. And Native Americans.


#12

“Slave holding confederates: traitors.”

Traitors to a country they wanted no part of, sure.
Perhaps they read the 10th amendment to mean that the federal government of the United States was arrogating rights to itself no one agreed to give it.

It’s ironical that people complain about Democrats being the party of big government when the Republicans made the biggest power grab.


#13

i was trying to have a discussion with my younger son about this last night (he’s 30 btw and a native texan as am i). i told him that monuments commemorating confederate generals and jefferson davis are, in my estimation, the moral equivalent of putting up memorials to hitler, goering, keitel, or rommel on the one hand or like putting up a statue of osama bin laden or ayman al-zawahiri on the other. he did not like the comparison but he understood i have strong feelings about the issue and a serious argument for my point.


#14

I must be missing the point. Why on Earth would Lee belong in Arlington Cemetery? This is not where we bury the enemy.


#15

If they wanted no part of the United States of America then the United States of America has no place building them memorials.

The war was always about slavery, not so-called “states’ rights.” The Articles of Confederation Declaration of Causes of Seceding States make clear that the South had no major grievances whatsoever which weren’t related directly to slavery. The Confederate Constitution actually granted its member states less freedom and self-governance than the U.S. Constitution did, because any state that joined the Confederacy could not choose to voluntarily end slavery within its own borders or advocate for ending it elsewhere.


#16

Could it mean that the memorialized fallen in the cemetery are his legacy and tribute enough?


#17

Other than the fact that it was once his family land?


#18

Read the Smithsonian piece.


#19

Short version: Washington and Jefferson were memorialized for fighting to increase freedom and democracy, Lee was memorialized for fighting to restrict freedom and democracy. (And no, fighting for the “freedom” to buy and sell human beings as livestock doesn’t count.)


#20

Agree but a minor point – the Articles of Confederation probably isn’t what you meant to refer to. That was the US Constitution in the years 1777-1789 prior to the document that we call the “Constitution” being adopted. I think you meant the Confederate Constitution, which was basically a copy of the US Constitution with additional pro-slavery verbiage added. As you say, it is difficult to seriously claim that it was about states rights when their own revised constitution didn’t give them any more rights than US states.