New Orleans city council leaders gathered Thursday to decide whether or not to tear down several Confederate memorials that have been under liberal attack since the Charleston church massacre in June. Democrat mayor Mitch Landrieu, an opponent of the memorials since before the killings, has been fighting hard to remove them in the wake of a national trend against anything and everything related to the Confederacy.
“It would be better for all our children, black and white, to see symbols in prominent places in our city that make them feel proud of their city and inspire them to greatness,” Landrieu said this summer. “This discussion is about whether these monuments, built to reinforce the false valor of a war fought over slavery, ever really belonged in a city as great as New Orleans, whose lifeblood flows from our diversity and inclusiveness.”
As of this writing, the decision has not yet been rendered. Perhaps sense will prevail at the last minute, but it’s doubtful. The proposal to remove the monuments has come from the council itself, and there’s little evidence to suggest they will back away from their crusade.
Even if they do, though, these memorials are not long for this world. Democrats everywhere have found a new and exciting way to attack Republicans, erase American history, and paint themselves as the moral conscience of the new millennium. Even though Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and the Confederate battle flag had nothing to do with the Charleston murders, these rancid politicians aren’t about to let an opportunity slip through their fingers.
These memorials stand not as lingering tributes to slavery but rather to a history that – uncomfortable or not – is part of this country’s legacy. Lee, whose 72-foot monument is among the statues under assault, once called slavery a “moral and political evil.” He isn’t revered by Southerners for his fight to enslave blacks; he is revered for his fight against unwarranted Northern aggression. His legacy is one of honor and valor, and it is a legacy that has informed generations of Southerners to this day.
One of the biggest (and easiest) mistakes to make is to judge men of another time by the standards of our own. To look back and call men “evil” for supporting philosophies and practices that were commonplace in their day. To see the folly of this, we need only imagine what future generations will think of us. Is it possible that Americans living in 2100 will regard our zoos in much the same way as we regard slavery? Would it therefore be appropriate for them to revile anyone living today as monstrous for allowing animal enslavement to continue?
Of course, you don’t have to get into all of that to see the absurdity of what’s going on, especially if you limit it to New Orleans. This is a city where violent crime jumped nearly 50 percent between 2010 and 2014. From January to September of this year, homicide jumped 15 percent as compared to last year. Rape went up a staggering 57 percent.
If Mayor Landrieu is concerned about what’s best for the children of New Orleans, perhaps he should spend more time worrying about crime and less time worrying about a few harmless statues.