Ben Wright | July 17, 2017
How long must a grievance, disappointment, lingering anger,
or hurt endure? Will there ever be a closure on whatever
distress, anguish, resentment, or complaint we may have? What
does it take to try and make things right? When should something
be forgiven -- or, hopefully even forgotten?
This seems particularly poignant when reflecting on the many
opposing view points regarding the earlier ante-bellum South
-- both before and after the American War between the States.
Now more recently, there is a renewed resurgent effort in various
areas of our Country -- especially in former Confederate States
of the South, to remove any and all famed monuments and memorials
from public access places of notoriety or prominence, any past
persons or military leaders who fought and struggled valiantly
for their earlier considerations in that titantic encounter.
Such edifices apparently keeps re-awakening to some, persistent
ghosts of the past as prior symbols of hatred, brutality,
prejudice, and involuntary bondage, that to such persons:
These contemptuous placements should not be honored, glorified,
respected, venerated, or esteemed in any civil or other formal
It is felt that maybe some part of this demonstrated activity
can perhaps be attributable to constant changing demographics
-- wherein the earlier citizenry and generational residents
of given areas, felt a loyalty and long kinship of heritage
to their regions encouraging them to respect and recognize such
earlier personages as worthy of the fame, distinctions, and
deserving credit due them from those regional aspects.
Now more recently, perhaps because of continuing dramatic
population shifts from outside such previously affected areas,
newer inhabitants don't seem to particularly share such honored
aspirations and would appear to want earlier contrary visions
erased, diluted, and replaced with different versions that
contrast with the earlier state of living that then existed.
To those who might disagree with more widely publicized conceived
notions and assessments to the contrary, they suggest one can't
just arbitrarily trash and throw away any such earlier historical
memorials that have been in placement for generations, just
because they may perhaps be offensive to some. These are
authentic artifacts that express and denote a previous era in
history that actually happened, and just disliking it won't
make it go away.
Yet in reply, it may be reasonably argued why continue to embrace
and display that which is a continued reminder of a sordid era
in our history that violated the most basic rights of human
dignity, and therefore, by what measure can proper respect,
honor, and admiration be given to those who admittedly fought
bravely for an assortment of reasons, but also in doing so,
included the preservation and a continuation of a merciless
system of involuntary servitude and the disastrous consequences
it caused? Leaving us with a myriad of contradictions.
Even so, there may be some suspicion that some few vocal
minorities of deep racial prejudice and desired systemic racism,
would prefer these historical edifices remain as a more visible
symbol of their continued defiance and resistant challenge to
think otherwise. Perhaps it's best to deny them the confrontation
and celebrity they seemingly desire.
However, what seems to worry some, is if we start prejudging
selective areas of factual history as to who and what cannot
be publicly remembered and eulogized, not only could it seem
a serious infringement on the rights of free speech, but could
quickly escalate into a deep well of regrets, embarrassments,
confusion, paradoxes, and contradictions.
Least we forget -- many other famous personalities -- both before
and after the War between the States, now widely honored and
frequently publicized throughout America and held in equally
high regard today, also crossed bounds of questionable conduct
and behavior -- as would be evaluated in current modern society.
There's simply no escaping the fact that many of our earlier
founding Fathers were holders of people in bondage -- over
three-fourths of the signers of our Declaration of Independence
were slave owners, and numerous succeeding others of both myth
and legend of later eras were unfairly cruel, deceptive,
subjugated, and harsh to both Native Americans, and foreign
immigrants as well. Some leaders in history regretfully go down
further than others.
That's not to take away in any form or fashion from the notable
achievements and accomplishments of such paradoxical others
and their many praiseworthy and memorial activities, but to
also remind all of ourselves of the human frailties and errors
of misjudgment in us all.
We cannot change the actualities of history through misguided
or opportunistic revisionists. What happened -- happened, as
we live with the results and consequences.
In doing so, it helps greatly to continually remember that the
significant events and those notable persons prominent and
conspicuous throughout the flow of history, cannot be easily
viewed and judged through the auspices of our modern mores and
Such prior times are better understood in the eras that then
existed, and acknowledging the specific traditions, customs,
beliefs, and practices common and established in such
environmental earlier times then occurring and doing whatever
was specific to their particular cultural, society, place, or
period of time.
Besides, aren't we fractured enough in present American society
without opening old wounds and rekindling old arguments
generating a need to resurrect old animosities and hostilities
that only hastens and further divides us as a Nation confronted
with swarming hosts of many present problems and challenges
that will need the joint support and united actions of us all?
Let's try and focus on the inspired hopes of what a beneficial
future can be for us all -- as each struggles to be more of
what they have in them to be. That is what united is all about.
If we continue in the alternative -- choosing by choice to live
lives of distressed misery and anguish, constantly agonizing
over past historical wrongs and injustices -- possibly as an
excuse for more limited accomplishments in the present, such
persons will always be in the throes of mental and emotional
despair -- losing all ruining hope of a forgiving nurturing
life of promise and achievement.
Living in a confining prison of self-imposed emotional wrath,
rage, anger, and fury cananot undo what has already sadly been
done. There have since been many historical and more current
remedial efforts and appropriate laws promulgated that openly
declares and proclaims by its nature an apology to that which
has happened, and attempts to restore as much as possible of
that which was lost.
But we all know laws of conscientious due-diligence can only
codify that which is legally and illegally acceptable and
non-acceptable. They cannot always and often will not please
those so affected. People choose what they like or dislike.
Yet, no matter how sincere the intent nor how generous the effort
at restitution, there will no doubt always be some -- on all
sides of any given controversy, who will remain stubbornly
steadfast, aloof, resentful, offended, and never accept nor
agree with such pardoning efforts -- no matter how noble the
intent may be with incompatible emotional images or unrealized
distortions that can maybe never be fully satisfied.
To those of such persuasions, one can only offer sincere regrets,
sympathy, and compassion for their continued distress -- mourning
their loss in our forgiveness for their sad unhappiness and
perplex confusions in their forlorned perceived victim status
as neglected persecuted beings relating to times long ago.