On Thursday, the Democratic Party of Arkansas denounced the continued display of Confederate monuments on public grounds.Donald Trump accelerated this fight this morning, as I noted earlier. Such monuments and historical markers in Arkansas are so numerous as to be hard to reliably count.
From the Democratic Party of Arkansas:
“The time has come for these symbols of our past to be placed in museums and privately owned spaces rather than to continue to occupy public lands.
Monuments are symbols and symbols can sometimes have meanings that are not unilaterally shared across communities. Objects that romanticize the darkest days of our history do not belong on taxpayer funded public grounds.
Our nation was built on values of inclusion and free speech and it is incumbent upon us to always strive for a more perfect union. We can do this by filling our public spaces with new symbols of everything we hope to be rather than what we once were.”
When it comes to the debate about our historical monuments, we cannot change history but we must learn from it. We should not start taking down monuments just because they remind us of an unpleasant past. Refusing to face our history by dismantling it is a mistake. We should use our historical markers as teaching opportunities to provide greater leadership for the future. Part of the legislation I signed to separate the holidays of Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert E. Lee was to use the history of the Civil War as a teaching opportunity for our students.As a legislative matter, the Democratic Party's idea is almost a certain loser at the state level.
The legislator who sponsored the funding proclaimed the state had "no excuses to make, no apologies to offer." He said the statue was a testimonial of "our unconditional and unqualified endorsement" of the Confederacy. Gov. Jeff Davis called the statue an altar "to the cause we each know was right, the cause of the Confederacy." Featured orator Col. A.S. Morgan said the Confederate cause "is neither a lost cause, nor will the Confederate soldier be forgotten."The descendants of slaves perhaps don't feel the nobility when they walk by.