There are those who say the statues memorializing Confederate generals such as Robert E. Lee are nothing more than symbols of history and heritage. But we must be clear on what that history is.
These soldiers fought for the Confederate States of America, which seceded from the Union to keep 3.5 million men, women and children enslaved. It was built upon the grounds of white supremacy. This is not a new interpretation, or a view through any liberal prism. Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens said, in his "Cornerstone Speech" given a few weeks before the start of the Civil War:
"Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science."
These monuments aren't reminders of history. They glorify a slave nation. Their removal does not wipe away any of American history. The racism that exists today, the inequality between whites and blacks in all factors of our society and the recent violence in Charlottesville are stark memorials to our legacy of slavery and the Civil War.
One would not expect to see monuments to Hitler or Goebbels in Germany, nor hear German leaders say that keeping such statues are important to their "heritage." Why, then, do so many here, including the president and Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, want to keep statues to those who defended the atrocity of slavery?
Kevin Necessary is the editorial cartoonist for WCPO. His opinions do not represent those of WCPO.