The monument we have at the Galveston County courthouse is a symbol of Confederate war service.
Many like it are being removed in the South.
The reason many people find them offensive is that they represent outdated values and honor a group of people who defended slavery. Of course, historians will argue that it was much more complicated than that.
The problem with the words on the monument is that they refer to those who fought as having the highest “purity of motives.” There was nothing pure about those motives.
When some people of European descent think of those monuments, perhaps they don’t think of what an endorsement like that means.
The Confederacy was a cause that stood for slavery. Honoring it means that you think it’s OK to buy a human and to keep him or her in bondage — to use that person relentlessly to satisfy the economic and sexual needs of a dominant group of people.
Look at the bald truth of it. Those Confederate symbols represent an acceptance of access to the bodies of black men and women.
So when people celebrate a system of subjugation, they are celebrating a system in which people of color are at a severe disadvantage — economically, sexually and socially; supporting those monuments that honor the Confederate cause is like saying you think it was acceptable to exploit people in this way. Perhaps it even implies that you think it’s OK to continue exploiting others.
We still have wage and social problems, but we don’t build monuments to celebrate the vast disparity between the rich and the poor.
We know this is a problem and, as voters, we try to address it.
Instead of celebrating rape, lynching and economic objectification as a right, why not celebrate an effort to make things right, not only for the vast numbers of African-Americans upon whose backs the nation was built, but also the millions of other people who are struggling from paycheck to paycheck?
Instead of investing angst and energy into preserving outdated and irrelevant values, let’s turn our attention to those who we elect to represent all of the people.
Let’s get rid of the symbols of oppression, but also look carefully at those who do not realize what is important. If there are those who can’t do without the monument, take it down and put it in a museum. But don’t use my tax dollars to maintain it.
Let’s begin to think ahead to the next election, to those who seek to represent us, to whether, partisanship aside, they can make responsible, fair changes that move us forward, not backward.
Let’s get rid of the reminders of economic and social subjugation and move forward. By the way, are there any monuments to the many people, especially African-Americans, who made sacrifices to build this country?
Let’s get registered to vote, and let’s vote. Let’s pay attention to what candidates have to say and work for the ideals that are inclusive and considerate, not exclusive and vicious.