How interesting it is that so much emotional energy is being spent over an issue that was settled more than 160 years ago. When slavery was abolished by the 13th amendment, it was universally accepted, and no one in his right mind any longer wished to reinstitute it. Americans, North and South, rolled up their sleeves and went back to work to heal and rebuild what the war had destroyed, and the nation became, not perfect, but better and strong and more prosperous than ever before. The monument on the courthouse lawn, as well as those that sprung up over the rest of the South, were not altars to slavery, but memorials to the bravery and sacrificial services of sons and brothers and loved ones in defense of their homeland from what they perceived to be oppression and invasion by a tyrannical government. That they were wrong in their perception is indisputable, but that they were wrong in their endurance of the pains and privations and sufferings of war for their sincere beliefs is honorable and commendable in every place and in every age.

Today, not a single former slave nor a single former slaveholder remains, yet there are those who are attempting to instigate division among us. The effort to erase everything that has any connection with the Confederacy is reminiscent of Orwellian practice, so adeptly utilized by the Soviets for the past century, of continually revising the historical record by expunging everything not in alignment with current political correctness. If there is a “cancer that needs to be excised” from our midst, it is, ironically, the same spirit of resentment, bitterness, vindictiveness, and division that sparked the Civil War in the first place.

History is what it is. That we may not like what happened doesn’t change what happened. What matters is that we either learn from what happened, or we are destined to repeat it until we do. No generation in any place or at any time inherited a perfect world, nor left a perfect world behind when it passed. Imperfect people with imperfect knowledge did the best they could with what they had at the time, and the result was imperfect progress, but progress nonetheless. May God grant us the wisdom God grant us the wisdom and the humility to do no less.

D.M. Brown


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