We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Mr. Kronman comes down on the side of addition, not subtraction—for building new memorials, not toppling old ones. He’d like more context. But essentially he asks: Why erase history? Why not face it? Are we really “disfigured by emblems of unrighteousness”? Must everything be leveled and scrubbed clean?
He quotes Milan Kundera ’s “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting”:
“You begin to liquidate a people by taking away its memory. You destroy its books, its culture, its history. And then others write other books for it, give another culture to it, invent another history for it. Then the people slowly begins to forget what it is and what it was.”
OMG, I've never thought of erasing a people and culture by erasing their history. Ancient people always had a community story teller that kept the stories alive. Whether a shaman or medicine man or great Gramma, they were more important than the wisest chief to the longevity of the people. Paying homage to the elders is no more, sadly.
Years ago I took an elective course in Library Science. One the big takeaways was that the erasure of arts, public records, and libraries is a necessary component of genocide. The dissolution of Yugoslavia was the obvious case study.
Erasing our history and culture is exactly what they intend, but they are such idiots they call abe lincoln a racist and threw paint on his statue in Chicago and attacked a statue of Joan of Arc in New Orleans. It is entirely possible to look upon historical figures and see that they did great things AND were flawed. Napoleon was a great general and law-giver AND an ego-maniac who marched his army into disaster in Russia. But this is not possible for the current crop of absolutists.