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Opinion

“Correcting” History

history erasing pastTo those who want to sanitize history by erasing painful events from the collective memory, I would like to ask…Who gets to decide what can stay and what must go?

Are statues the only objects subject to the censorship ‒ Or are paintings, historic sites, books, movies, music and plays also on the purge list?

We already see that speech is being monitored by self-appointed arbitrators. So many in media like to neatly box everything into a Left or Right container. These same people rarely see things in terms of good or evil, or true or false. However, when it is politically helpful to classify something as evil and attribute it to the Right, the pronouncement is quick and final.

Framing things within a left and right border is not seeing the big picture. Frames have an up and down dimension, as well as a left and right. To place events, issues and ideas into compartmentalized positions is not freedom.

Those who pride themselves on being nuanced and seeing shades of gray in so many instances have become rigid when it comes to defining “hate” speech. Somehow, they know exactly who gets to speak in a public forum and who must be shut down and prevented from speaking ‒ or being heard if they do attempt to speak.

The speech police know which terms can be used and which must be banned or else consequences such as boycotts or job termination will be the verdict, often imposed by boisterous assemblies.

The scenario George Orwell created in his novel “1984”, seems less and less like fiction. Winston Smith, the main character, worked at the Truth Ministry where he “corrected” records. The internet was not yet the route where information flowed. It was newspapers, books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound tracks, cartoons, photographs and every kind of literature or documentation which might contain any political or ideological significance that were subject to “correction”.

As soon as Winston’s “correction” was made, the original was destroyed. Day by day, and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. All written records were to agree with the Party version of the past. Anything that was not in agreement was to be thrown in a memory hole, never to be recalled again.

Hmmm…George Orwell wrote “1984” in 1948, but there certainly seems to be a strong whiff of that atmosphere that can be sniffed today.

I say we must snuff out that urge to purge history, before it ignites into a 21st century book burning bonfire.  We must not give in to the effort by some who insist on “correcting” history by disposing it in a memory hole, where it can never again see the light of day. Where no one can learn from it. Where we will all be doomed to repeat it.

Diana Erbio is a freelance writer and author of “Coming to America: A Girl Struggles to Find her Way in a New World”. Read her new blog series “Statues: The People They Salute” and visit the Facebook Page.

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paul z

the thought of tearing down historical statues sickens me and reminds me of nazi germany and muslims destroying christian art and monuments

PaulE

Excellent and timely article Diana. Especially with the current media-driven frenzy to encourage wholesale historical revisionism aimed at ultimately delegitimizing our Founding Fathers and thus the basis for our country itself. That is the ultimate endgame for the left. Going after the Confederate War memorials is merely the first step in gaining public acceptance and a degree of legitimacy for that whole process. The recent reports of defacing the Lincoln Monument in D.C. and a few instances of similar actions against Washington statues around the country is just a prelude for what the left has planned. I’m sure we’ll soon hear cries from the left for major school textbook publishers to further redact references to numerous historical figures that the left opposes from their future offerings. The Soviets and the Red Chinese were both famous for “sanitizing” out scores of both people and historical events that had fallen out of… Read more »

Phyllis J Iles

Leave the statues alone. That’s our history.

June Ann Humphrey

I agree 100%.
We citizens are letting the anarchists rule!
Bad decisions.

WGS

If you delete history that is considered bad, so it is no longer available; how will you know not to do it again? History is a story, good and bad. Hopefully, we can learn from past mistakes, but it doesn’t seem to be so. History repeats itself, good and bad.

Bob M.

As ugly as it was, the Civil War is just as much a part of our history as the Revolutionary War. Most of the Confederate generals were West Point graduates and made a choice…

JA Smith

Erasing traces of our memory of the horrors of slavery and bigotry only guarantee their return under other guises.

We need to remember our past mistakes.

To paraphrase a quote: Those who ignore history are condemned to relive it.

Most of those actings as vandals or pushing the political process to erase our history don’t seem to understand the message. Our history allows future generations to show their children where we have been, where we are, and how far we must go.

Jim G

Perhaps the biggest problem we have is the lack of vision, leadership and backbone in our representatives who seem to bend to the will of the most vocal group at the time regardless of their small numbers

William B. Weldon

Thank you Ms. Erbio. The Civil War did happen. Americans fought Americans. All the monuments, statues and other memorials honoring those who fought in that war belong as a reminder of that war. So many people have been brainwashed by our government (Public) school system the Civil War was fought to end slavery. The truth is; The southern states seceded and waged war to protect each states rights Slavery just happened to be included among those rights. When some malcontent(s) propose the removal of a monument it should be subject to a vote by the state’s citizens. Meanwhile; Someone needs to grow a thicker skin. If you don’t like memorials to American history, don’t look at them! But let the rest of us American patriots enjoy the symbols and memorials of our history.

Linda

Where will it end? I even understand ad American’s reasons but there are so many things that offend all of us: music, movies, the liberal media outlets, disgust in the name of art. Why don’t our reps have the guys to stand up to the liberal’s & pretend republicans like john McCain? We need reps that can stand up to this garbage like pres trump.

Hank

Media shows a gnat of truth, but makes no mention of the elephant of contradiction.

Mercedes Diez

Well, if we decide to re-write history we put ourselves at the level of Russia. when they figured that selling Alaska to us was a mistake they eliminate the chapter from history books. Smart move or stupid is as stupid does.

Cheryl Ward

People have rewritten the Bible to say what they want it to say so we should not be surprised at this attempt but this America belongs to all of us legal tax paying citizens and the good bad and ugly is a part of it.
Our personal family history has all these components also and while we don’t wallow in the muck and mire of our past we cannot amputate it from our destiny.

Leslie

Great article, thank you! Hope everything settles down and we can keep our history

Janelle Bates

If we forget our history, the good and the bad, we will repeat it. Not in having slaves, but in how we treat people of all kinds. We cannot stop or cure racism, someone will always hate someone else for an unintelligent reason. Racism is taught, it is not a trait one is born with, so teach your children well. My mama didn’t teach racism and I have friends of all shade of skin, taught school 21 years, mostly what could be called minority, underprivileged young people. It didn’t matter to me, as long as I taught and they learned.

Respecter of History

Only those that are incapable mentally of living with facts and reality want to change History. Another way of explaining “Mentality Impared”!

Don

I totally agree, most everybody finds current violence in the world offensive, will some group say that since war is very violent and offensive that ALL war statues and memorials should be removed ? My understanding of Civil War history was that the war was about resistance to Federal Government invasion of a state’s rights and that slavery was just part of the movement, a “last straw” you might say.

Hazel Hedrick

History is what has made this country….. like it or not!

No one should be destroying any of it because of personal reasons. We need to accept where we’ve come from and move forward by learning from those events!

deb

Well said

Hank

Watching “Last Man Standing” [popular comedy] one of the characters comments in a matter-of-factly, non-comedic way that the deficit actually went down under Obama’s administration. If at any point it truly did go down, it was a blip now eclipsed by the debt. Very misleading.