“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”
Sound familiar? It’s from George Orwell’s “1984.”
If Orwell were alive today, wouldn’t he just love this spiraling in place the revisionists are doing in their pointless attempts to change or at least sanitize history? What happened happened. It was good or it was bad, but the operative word is WAS. Either we learn from it or we don’t. We can’t be lured into writing all history books in pencil to be re-written as tomorrow’s rules of political correctness dictate. —Frank S. Johnson, Kalispell
Trump doesn’t get it; slavery was a bad cause
So ... on Aug. 15 President Trump said this about the recent protests in Charlottesville:
“This week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”
Really. He asked that.
I can answer the question.
Look, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee led an armed insurrection against our country. They did so in defense of slavery. Period. These men do not deserve to have statues erected in their memory. What does it say to our children, our citizens of color, visitors to our country when we revere the memory of people who were willing to use violence in order to protect the “right” of one person to own another?
The Confederates may have been brave people, but they served a terrible cause. It’s analagous to the Germans who served in the world wars. They may have been brave, but it would have been more courageous to stand against the cause their army was serving.
So, I can answer the president’s attempt to invoke the “slippery slope” argument. People will stop protesting the display of Confederate symbols when they are removed from public spaces. That’s where it stops: when we do the right thing. —Tom Woods, Bozeman Democrat, House District 62
You can’t make Civil War disappear by dumping statues
I wonder how the galvanized Yankees and post Civil War settlers who came to Montana to restart their lives would feel at the course of current events. I guess if we remove all the war memorials we will be free to rewrite history to make ourselves more comfortable. The lessons of history are not all pleasant or quaint conflicts to accept. They are a measure of where we are and how far we have come as a people and a nation.
The Civil War and its legacy will not simply vanish in to the dust bin because we wish it. To do so would be to dishonor all of those men that struggled in that Great Rebellion as my Maine ancestors called it.
All who participated in that war are worthy of our recognition regardless of the color of their uniform and cause. They paid in blood and toil for a wrong (slavery) that existed from the founding of this country.
This new conflict (memorial removal) was artificial, brought about by persons with their own agenda. The decisions have not been made with public input but a select group of individuals have decided what they think is best. This is elitism at its worst.
Now is the time for the people to stand up to rein in public officials who undertake such actions. The CSA Fountain in Helena is prime example. A privately funded memorial to those that fell for the South and a cause they believed in.
Like a thief in the night, officials have removed numerous statues who serve as reminders of the Civil War. The scope of this activity is ever expanding and now wants to involve Supreme Court justices and the Founding Fathers. Only when we the public exercise our voice collectively will public officials take notice and stop. —Mark L. Stevens, Kalispell
Helena council no better than Taliban?
Gov. Bullock has praised the Helena City Council’s decision to remove the Confederate Memorial Fountain in Helena.
Really, Governor? In my opinion, the feckless City Council disgraced itself by removing a symbol erected to honor some of our nation’s bravest! The council capitulated to ignoramuses bent on destroying symbols of American history. When compared to the destruction of historical artifacts by the Taliban and ISIS, removing the fountain differs only in degree.
Americans from the North and the South fought and died in a civil war defending what they held dear. They fought for their homes, their families, their states and for their rights and freedoms. Led by honorable men with high ideals, both sides felt justified to preserve their way of life even through bloody conflict. Yet afterward our people came together during Reconstruction to rebuild a mighty and wealthy nation of promise to which millions have migrated.
Reminders often prevent repeating past mistakes. Those intimidated by a statue or fountain or any symbol dedicated to the honorable dead might consider seeking mental help!
So, Governor, where does this stop? What idea, what figure of speech, what belief will next be attacked?
Shame on the council for its ignorance! —Al Smith, Vaughn
Tribes also have checkered past
I see where eight Indians who requested a monument in our state’s capital be removed succeeded. I say they bullied the Helena City Council and the mayor into granting their wishes. Personally I see no problem with being reminded of this country’s past, the good and the bad, but there are those who prefer to hide their heads in the sand.
They said the monument in question represented oppression and slavery. I am with the Indian leaders 100 percent on the oppression if they want to talk about how our government murdered and robbed them of their land but they themselves did the same thing to other tribes, and when it comes to slavery they are either ignorant or hypocritical when they ignore their past as it was common for tribes to take prisoners for slaves, and when it comes to black people protesting slavery I always thought it was common knowledge that it was blacks who captured other blacks to sell to the slave traders, but it’s pretty easy to just skip over the parts that don’t fit our agenda, isn’t it? Glen Hook, Kalispell
Well, now that we have done away with monuments to the Ten Commandments, Buddha and whatever else happened long ago that’s offensive, what do we do when we can’t find that monument dedicated to IDIOTS! —Paul Fossler, Coram