I recently became aware of the call to remove a Civil War statue in Bastrop. I had planned to write and offer several arguments based on historical facts and logic, but sadly, I didn’t become aware of the issue until the city council had made a decision. This led to a quite wordy letter that I admit had quite a bit of emotion poured into it. I referred to over the top continence of erasure of history and even some only slightly direct reference to the “Bastrop 5.” Again, what has changed since the decision has been made?
Therefore, I can only ask this. Has the removal of the statue instantly ended racism in the area or removed the blight of slavery from the history? You see the presence of a statue at courthouse or park does not make all that walk by to read it to became a racist nor does its removal have the power to dictate how I treat my fellow man or woman.
While I applaud the motivations that prompted the drive for its removal, I can’t but question its relevance. How does a piece of stone affect human interactions? The statue that was removed had been there for 110 years. Am I to believe that its magical power to incite intolerance had just now awoken?
I understand the desire for change, I just believe it can be better directed into something that might actually be impactful, like feeding the needy, access to non-biased education, job creation, and more rehab programs. The list is endless. Free financial counseling could teach others how to become financially secure which itself will alleviate many issues. Memorials of stone or the names of parks and bridges do not drive how to be a better person. Societal woes were not created from objects.
I am not sure which fills me more with apprehension, the thought there is a belief that we can change can only be effected toppling/or tearing down something instead of building something up, or elected officials basing decisions on what was last trending on some social media app, or was this a city wide vote?