George Orwell once predicted that “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” It might be thought that Orwell could see into the future with his book 1984 and other predictions he seemed to make. These predictions did not unfold though in 1984, they are unfolding now. It appears that there are those in society, especially in positions of authority with the government, set on denying and obliterating our understanding of history. These groups first targeted schools, and then national monuments, but they met more resistance with national monuments than they did with school. Once they ran into that blocked doorway of resistance, they opted for the next best thing…obliterate recent history that few people will be overly concerned about. Obliterate first Confederate history and that will open the doorway for a firm assault on U.S. History.
Dallas has again jumped onboard with a desire to deny history, and their target this time is a statue in a cemetery – yes, you read that right, a cemetery where we bury our dead to remember them. You may remember that a year or two ago as Confederate Statue Hysteria rose, many city governments said that the statues belonged in museums or in cemeteries. Well, Dallas targeted first Lee Park and successfully removed the statues there despite overwhelming opposition from the public. With that step done, they are now moving to cemeteries – “But Wait,” you say! They said these statues should be in the cemeteries, right? Well, you were told they would not put the statues in museums – remember those in New Orleans? They are still sitting in a city yard. The statues from Lee Park? Still in storage. Now, they are targeting Pioneer Cemetery and the Confederate Statue that will cost the people of Dallas over $400,000 to remove. You know there must be a need for immediate and fast removal! After all this statue has stood on the same location since 1896 or 122 years. Further, consider what was originally said about these statues – they are in public view and should be in museums or cemeteries to remain out of the general public view. At that time, many people warned that these governments would not stop with the public view, but that they would also focus on cemeteries and deny the statues a place in museums. The same people who warned of the cemetery assault also told us that attacks on the founding fathers would be next.
Now, you may not believe that these groups will target the founding fathers, but consider this – the last Confederate veteran died in the 1950s. Prior to that, the only honor that he had for fighting in a war came from his friends, family, the Union army, and the communities. Since there was no country, and they did not have veteran status at the time, the statues were erected around the country to honor them. They were erected, as almost all documentation indicates, to promote healing, unity, and to honor the people who lived through the Civil War on the Confederacy side. In the late 1950s, Congress made all Confederate Veterans, American Veterans. This now means that the government will place cemetery markers for those veterans, and that they are just as honored as veterans of the United States. With the consideration that the Confederate Veterans are American Veterans, then it is conceivable to view statues in their honor no different than those honoring Vietnam, Korean, World War I or World War II veterans and so on. However, over 100 years later none of the original daughters or sons of those Confederate Veterans are alive. There are small groups of decedents around the United States who honor, assemble, and remember as well as study the history. But the core group who supported and erected these statues are long gone. Since they were not “National” statues, they are generally not afforded the protections of a National Park or a National Monument after the late 1950s. The fact that they have a small direct defense base with no federal backing makes them the easy target. The goal is simple -remove the Confederate statues from public places, including cemeteries, lie about it if you have to – remember they wanted some of the statues moved to cemeteries, but they have not, and they have not put them in museums either- get them out of sight and then set the goal on others such as founding fathers. The target will shift to national statues once these groups have forced the nation to accept the removal of the Confederate statues. Once people are complacent and have accepted that the city government can and will simply remove statues at their own desire, then when it comes time to target Washington, Jefferson, and others, it will be easy. We will have grown to expect monuments and statues of and about our history to be taken down.
Ultimately it does not matter whether you like the Confederate Statues or not. It really doesn’t matter what your understanding of Confederate history is as far as that goes as well. The fact is, the Confederate Statues are a part of our national history. They were put up in the south, north, east and west to honor and help healing. No matter what anyone tells you or dreams up about them being put up to harass or cause fear in people, the actual history from the period does not support this – Even if you believe the history does support that these statues were put up to scare people, then you have to explain exactly who was being scared by a Confederate Statue in Pioneer Cemetery? Did the Daughters of the Confederacy have some great master plan that would scare away people by posting these statues in graveyards? Was their target the ghost of other people? It simply not likely. The fact is, the period of time when these statues were put up is collectively known as the “Cult of the Confederacy”. It is a period of healing, honor and remembrance. In many cases, it gave the only grave markers known for some soldiers who died in the war. It was a way to promote unity in the United States and Presidents, Congressional members, and others all supported and even attended the dedications for many of these monuments and statues.
So, once again Dallas is following the line and going against the public. They are going against what people have asked them to do, and they will be spending over $400,000 of taxpayer money to remove a 122 year old statue. They will be removing part of your history – whether you support it or not. Those who support keeping the statues have warned you – these people will not stop with the Confederacy. Their goal as Orwell said so eloquently is to deny and obliterate your own understanding of your history. There will come a day when they target Vietnam Memorials, Washington Memorials, Korean War Memorials, and others. They will not stop once they get past the Confederate Memorials. In some ways it’s ironic that those fighting to save the Confederate Memorials are really fighting to save all our memorials in this country. Over 154 years after the Confederate States surrendered, the decedents of those who fought for the Confederacy-Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic, and Native Americans, and others- are now fighting to save not only the Confederate history, but to warn us all that the history of the United States will be the next target on the agenda.