Columnist Gene Lyons, a Southern boy, spelled it out perfectly Aug. 31 the when, and why, the rise in Confederate statues began some 100 years ago. With laws promoting Jim Crow, Supreme Court cases like Plessy v. Ferguson, and the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan, white supremacists made their impact felt and statues rose on the landscape.
So, what is one to make of The Daily Record’s editorial cartoon Sept. 1? Does the paper embrace the "good guys" in America’s Nazi and KKK movements as President Trump did after Charlottesville, and suggest those opposed to the forces of hate are equal to the Taliban and ISIS? The cause of white supremacy is at the heart of the Confederate statues that began to be raised four decades after the Civil War ended, and the paper’s cartoon is haunting about where its editorial soul lies.
How does moving a Confederate statue from public grounds to a museum or a Civil War battlefield or a cemetery "erase" history? How does it nonsensically drive the Civil War out of history books? However, I would be comfortable leaving Confederate statues if Ohioans such as Grant, Sherman or Sheridan were raised beside Southern ones, or ones honoring African American units such as the 54th Massachusetts were offered as a counterbalance. That would represent a balanced history lesson, one white supremacists would surely rage against.
Confederate statues offer comfort to enemies of American ideals. Nazis and white supremacists ardently oppose the ideal expressed by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence that "All men are created equal." And despite Trump’s juvenile statement that Jefferson and Washington memorials and statues "would be next," the reality is that those men did something to create and preserve the United States. Robert E. Lee’s goal was to destroy the United States and maintain human servitude, two polar opposite concepts.
The paper’s cartoon, which could easily have been found on the Nazi website Stormfront, blindly attacks Jefferson’s words and unconsciously promotes white supremacy/Nazi ideals, concepts that millions of Americans fought and died for over seven decades ago. And please don’t think I am letting the Wayne County Fair off the hook. To allow the Confederate flag, which was so lovingly embraced by the forces of hate at Charlottesville, to continue to be purchased at a so-called "family" venue, should be seen as abhorrent to any right-thinking person.