Letters: Do We Recognize Or Ignore Our Confederate History?

Finding $1 million Re: "Rebel memorial to go — In 11-4 vote, council starts process toward removing monument," Feb. 14 news story.No money to fix potholes, no money for raises for police and firefighters, no money available to help homeless, no money to feed the hungry children of Dallas County, but they can find $1 million to remove Confederate statues — something is wrong with this picture! That bunch is a joke!Frank Caldwell, PlanoSpend money elsewhereI have been heartsick for over a year not to see the beautiful statue of Robert E. Lee in what was formerly known as Lee Park. Now, City Council has decided to spend almost half a million dollars to remove or relocate additional Confederate statues. Our police and fire departments desperately need more money to recruit for their thinning ranks and our elected officials choose to spend Dallas dollars to obliterate American history. Even ugly parts of history are important to preserve because they can still be teachable events. What's going down next? The Alamo?Marcia Varel, ShorecrestI've changed my mindWhile I have been against the removal of these monuments, admittedly I do agree with the idea they no longer represent the viewpoints of most folks in today's society. So, I now say "OK, remove them." But to honor the intention of our predecessors who put them there (however many decades ago), I would very much prefer that a park be created in which they could be brought together and displayed in a manner befitting their original plan and in context of their historical significance. I don't want to revisit the issue years from now only to find them still hidden away in a warehouse. Robert S. Goodwin, North DallasWipe the slate cleanNow that Dallas City Council has voted to remove the Confederate War Memorial, what is next on the agenda? Maybe they can dig up all the Confederate soldiers and store them somewhere so they can't be seen either. If they are going to get rid of history, might as well wipe the city clean. And we should get rid of the Dallas City Council members.Karen Duggins, IrvingThat's a false binaryOver the past few months, I have read a number of letters to this paper that decry the city spending a half-million dollars to remove the Confederate War Memorial. The writers point out all the beneficial ways that money could be spent instead. These arguments present a false binary. If only we did not spend that money on statue removal, the argument goes, we could fix the potholes, give raises to police and firefighters, improve our schools, feed/clothe/house the homeless, etc. This is not how city government works. Financial decisions are rarely ever an either/or binary. That said, in the spirit of compromise, I'd like to offer a modest proposal to those who are so deeply concerned about the cost of removing the monument. Let's place a noose around the necks of the Confederates depicted, then spray-paint the word "TRAITOR" in red paint across their chests. We would thus place the monument in its proper historical context, but most importantly, we would save nearly all the cost of removal. Harry O. Davis, Far North DallasGood use of tax dollarsI have lived in the city of Dallas for over 25 years and I have faithfully paid my property taxes every one of those years. I am happy to see my tax dollars used to move the statue of Robert E. Lee into storage, to return the name of Oak Lawn Park and to take down the Confederate War Memorial outside the convention center. I hope this is comforting news to all of the concerned writers from neighboring communities. Dallas is spending its tax dollars in a way that pleases the majority of its residents. Linda Boroughs, Dallas/Oak LawnAn inexpensive messageI was a docent at the African American Museum for the "Slavery at Jefferson's Monticello" exhibit, or as council member Rick Callahan callously it, "the slave thing at Fair Park." The audience of my tours were minority middle school and high school students. Their inquisitive minds came to learn history, but their impressionable hearts were interested in something greater. Most of the questions they asked were about the present. They wanted assurance that even though slavery is a part of America's history, racism and white supremacy are rejected today.I applaud council members Jennifer Staubach Gates and Adam McGough for seeking a unifying creative solution to the address history and the Confederate War Memorial. However, after directly engaging a couple hundred schoolchildren on the topic of slavery, I think that removing the structure, thus delivering the bold and unequivocal message to the over 250,000 non-white kids in our city that we believe that "all men are created equal" and that we love them, too, is the best course of action. For less than $2 a child, there is no better investment Dallas can make. Free history lesson included.Woot Lervisit, DallasJoin progress toward equalityThe City Council has taken a positive, big step in voting to remove the Confederate War Memorial. Such monuments were part of myths that have grown up about the Confederate cause driven mainly by ideas of the South's exceptionalism and its separateness that have kept it rather backward in its politics and race relations. It's time to recognize the myths for what they are and join the world in its progress toward equality and tolerance.Brian Baldwin, Dallas/Oak LawnLeave our heritage aloneWhy is The Dallas Morning News pushing so hard to remove history from parks in Dallas — i.e., statues that honor people and events from the Civil War era? They represent the history of our nation and whether it is politically correct today or not is no reason to remove them. Yes, a small portion of your readership may object. But history is history and it cannot be changed. What happened 150-plus years ago is our heritage and people need to remember that. So, leave the statues alone!Frank Gentsch, WoodwayCleansing isn't overIt's is a sad day when 11 people with a political agenda can erase Dallas history so easily. I believe the fate of a monument that has been in Dallas for 123 years should be determined by a citywide vote. I and many others believe it is history to learn from (along with the Robert E. Lee statue). I would look for The DMN to demonstrate some type of rational reporting to try and save early Dallas history, but the left-leaning editors and staff writers have been the biggest cheerleaders in the scrubbing process — column after column supporting removal. I fear the cleansing isn't over because additional pre-20th century visual reminders remain in the city. The next targets: 1. Fair Park 2. Street names (Bryan, Lemmon, Marsh, Gaston, Young, etc.) 3. Replica cabin of Dallas' founder, who was also a Rebel soldier. Unless the citizens of Dallas demand a stop to the madness, say goodbye to Dallas' pioneer history (as it is laced with ties to the Confederacy). Once it appears on the City Council agenda, it won't be around much longer.David Jameson, Little ElmWe can't rewrite historySo, if the sacred ideas that define our nation are that all human beings are created equal, that we are invested with dignity and natural rights, and deserve the fullness of freedom, why then did the forefathers of our nation not set all slaves free from the very beginning? Had they done so, could the Civil War had been prevented? I, for one, feel that slavery was not the only cause for which the war was fought. A major issue yes, but not the only one. Regardless of how many statues and plaques are removed, you will never change the historical fact that at one time in the history of Texas, a Confederate flag flew over it. I understand how this issue is offensive to some, but what is next after we remove all statues and plaques? Are we going after the heroes of the Alamo next because some of them were slave owners and the fort itself is a painful reminder of Mexican history and how Texas gained its independence? We can't allow political correctness to rewrite or remove our history regardless of how painful it is.Kevin Loyd, Grand PrairieClearly, issue was slaveryRe: "Take down Confederate statues — This historian changed his mind about preserving these monuments," Feb. 6 Viewpoints.Finally, W. Marvin Dulaney ends the debate about why Confederate statues should come down. Thomas Jefferson wrote some 85 years earlier, "a decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation (in this case, secession)." The Confederate states made clear beyond question in their secession ordinances and the source material why they were seceding — slavery. I agree that historic preservation remains important, but that is a distant second to the purpose of public statues. The primary purpose of almost any statue is our fulfillment of the sacred obligation that honor is due. While the statued Confederate figures in our city may have struggled gallantly, they did so to climb a blood-soaked ladder we now know was leaning against an egregious, immoral wall — far from honor.Matthew David Wadsworth, Far North Dallas  Continue reading...

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