Why Do We Have Statues?

We put up statues to celebrate human beings in our past whom we revere. Man has always venerated his ancestors. The Greeks erected statues of their Gods, the Romans of theirs, in most parts of the world and in most cultures, there are statues and monuments that venerate those who glorified the local or regional heritage.

When members of a new group come along who are no longer connected to that heritage, they will not have the same affection towards those monuments because their values and their historical viewpoint are simply different. Eventually statues topple because they become a reminder of the old order, of values that may no longer apply. It is conceivable that one day in the future the Statue of Liberty may come down because it is a symbol of whatever future societies make of it.

Celebrating freedom yesterday, in the new Woke era, has become the honoring of slave-owners, who themselves were part of a system that oppressed people of color.

When we get offended by those who tear down our statues, it’s because what we put value in our heritage and we see now it under attack. We love our founding fathers; they exhibited courage, wisdom, a kind of manifest destiny principle that made it possible for me to enjoy my liberties in the present day.

But look around. It hasn’t worked as well for the common black man, so for him, those statues are now a reminder of a system that has failed. True that this message has come from those who have chosen to view the past as something sinister and in need of destruction, but the fact remains that we project meaning onto our symbols based on our own world view. As they say, history goes to the victor. And with new victors come new history to be celebrated, new heroes to venerate, new statues to construct.

It is in this vein that I suggest no more statues be erected. They are relevant only to the victor of the times, they are also a golden calf of idol worship that no man dare expect, nor deserves. 

They are symbols of our desire for justice and fairness, but they are more of a fervent prayer of our desire to live up to that which those men represent in human form, nothing more, nothing less.

To those who say we are having a cultural revolution and capitalism is being destroyed with each crumbling statue, I say that the principles of America are stronger than any statue, and unlike the wall of communism that came down in ’89, America has no such wall, no such barrier to liberty. 

Our statues are not America, America is and always has been its people, and we are more than just bronzed or marble carvings depicting a onetime era when we were not so enlightened. Our ancestors honored their warriors just as we honor ours today.

We are still a free country, we are still the light of the world. Of this I am sure. Let the statues fall, the principles of liberty and freedom will not change and the will stand as long as man desires freedom from tyranny.

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