Connect
To Top

Column: If Confederate Statues Have Historical Value, Erect This One Too

The Trickle Down

The Trickle Down is Salute Magazine‘s weekly column by Political Writer Amanda Godula.  The Trickle Down is a weekly look into what’s need-to-know, fresh takes on trends, and the inevitable controversies from the political arena. Let’s dig in and see what’s happening this week.

If we allow Confederate statues, then this one shouldn’t be a problem.

The tragic event of Charlottesville is sparking the conversation about Confederate historical value.  The Virginia statue memorializing Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed, but many are arguing its historical importance, like the President.

The historical importance is nuanced in the retelling of the stories.  Most Confederate monuments were erected well after the war during the Jim Crow era – the the Robert E. Lee statue, finished in 1924.  These Confederate monuments were not a memorial to military service, but a reminder of white supremacy.  Some, like VA Mayor William Bell, find it celebrating treasonous activities.

“Think about what it represents. The Confederacy was an act of sedition. It was an act of treason.”

Yet, the President’s messaging is resonating with some.  These Confederate statues are history and removal of them might be whitewashing.

So here’s a test for those in favor of history over cultural sensitivity:

Let’s erect a statue of Edward Snowden.

Snowden is a notorious whistleblower who outed American spying initiatives by the NSA.  Feeling that the mass collection of data of American citizens without their knowledge or due cause was an intrusion of American rights, he became a whistleblower.  Snowden’s leaking forced the Obama administration to declassify documents about its spying.

Edward Snowden is heralded as a hero and lambasted as a traitor – similarly to the Confederacy, depending upon which side you lean.  Even more so, it’s a defining part of American history.

If you “can’t change history, but you can learn from it”, erecting a Snowden statue is well within reason.

It reminds us that the government can be Orwellian if unchecked and admonishes the government for overreach.  Snowden’s actions lead to a huge national, and international, conversation about privacy and rights.

Let’s modernize our historical argument – let’s memorialize Edward Snowden with the rest of our Confederate reminders.  It’s history.

More in Culture