Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Taliban Like Attitudes in American South

The world cringed when the Taliban destroyed ancient Buddhist Statues in Afghanistan.  The Taliban destroyed the historic artifacts because Buddhist statues represented something the Taliban considered immoral.  They didn't want people to be reminded that people in the region had at one time been involved in something that was no longer considered morally acceptable.   Buddhist statues were not "politically correct" under the Taliban's view of the Muslim religion.  Allowing the statues to stay advertised that Afghans had once behaved in what the Taliban regarded as an immoral fashion.  Recent reports claim that ISIS may be doing the same thing to historic artifacts where they are operating.

People in New Orleans, La., and other southern cities want to remove statues of men who had the audacity to not have the same moral values people have today.   Many southerners prior to the Civil War accepted the African and Muslim moral value that it was acceptable for one person  to own others.   Africans had been  buying, selling and owning each other for thousands of years and they had no problem with selling their fellow  Africans to Europeans like they had been selling their fellow Africans to people in the Middle East.

The men whose statues are the subject of controversy in New Orleans were born into a society that had long accepted slavery.   They thought they had no other option for recruiting workers for their plantations because people wouldn't voluntarily do such work.   As far as they knew, plantations had always been worked by slaves.  They were not evil men.  They simply lacked the ability to "think outside the box" of slavery.

Instead of trying to censor history, southern cities should use the Civil War as an example of what can happen when politicians cannot find ways to resolve their differences.  Slavery had caused the United States to become two different nations with different economic needs and perspectives.   Politicians from the north and the south were so stuck in their own little worlds that they couldn't consider the  needs of the other part of the country. 

About the only thing the white people who controlled both the northern and southern states could agree on was that they both supported the myth that black people were inferior to white people.   Northern whites didn't want slavery in their states because they were bigots who hated the people who were held as slaves.

As the great grandson of a Union soldier I have never really understood why southerners would want to erect statues of losers.   I doubt that the statues were erected because without the actions of men like Jefferson Davis and Gen. Robert E. Lee slavery would likely have continued for decades. The decision by the southern states to leave the Union provoked northern politicians into acting against slavery.  Gen. Lee's ability to prolong the war even convinced northern politicians to guarantee the freed slaves and other blacks equal rights that many northern states denied to their black residents.

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