How will we honor history?

Martin Trujillo, Staff Reporter

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It is almost universally agreed that history is something that should be remembered. It is how we celebrate our culture and remember our ancestors, and it is how we reflect on our past mistakes and swear to never let them occur again.

It was George Santayana that said the familiar quote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Humans usually learn from the past; even if the mistake is repeated twice, or thrice, sometimes even more than that. History is such an integral part of our lives. Children read “The Magic Tree House,” students have history class everyday, and adults hear about new artifacts found all over the world.

Unfortunately what history should be celebrated is not universally agreed upon. This disagreement has turned violent in cities that are discussing removing statues that commemorate Confederate Army generals. Opponents believe that The Confederate States of America is an important part of southern history, and erasing it would be degrading southern culture. Confederate pride runs deep in southern states in America.

Proponents of removing statues believe that these statues are being worshiped instead of being remembered as their opponents claim. Their support for the removal of these statues is based on several things. First, the Confederate statues are closely linked to inhumane slavery. Second, these statues are of people that illegally decided to secede from the union.

This clash between the two opposing groups turned deadly when a protester in Charlottesville drove his car into a group of anti-protesters killing Heather Heyer. The events in Charlottesville became about more than just the removal of a statue when white supremacists and Neo-Nazis began chanting Nazi slogans.

After these horrendous events, President Donald Trump claimed there was violence “on both sides”, yet failed to specifically condemn Neo-Nazis and white supremacy. A few days later President Trump tried again, and again Trump blamed “both sides” specifically blaming the “alt-left” and, finally, white supremacists and Neo-Nazis.

The question then becomes whether President Trump is responsible for enabling this type of behavior. He may not be responsible for their behavior, but he is responsible for creating an atmosphere where the KKK and Neo-Nazis do not feel the need to hide their faces and can proudly spew their hate.
In Trump’s second speech regarding Charlottesville he brought up an interesting point. Where will the taking down of statues stop? He brought up that the first president of this country, George Washington, owned slaves.

I think this is a bad example, considering Washington helped build this country while Confederates tried to break it apart.

Still, should the positive contributions of the historical figures be disregarded due to their ethics, or should their unethical actions be overlooked?

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How will we honor history?