Should we be destroying history?

For years at Castleton, I’ve studied the words of men who have made impressions on history. I’ve studied dates and events, the people that influenced them and the things they’ve written. I realize that I’m very fortunate for my ability to see all sides of history.

This is why I hate to see monuments and statues being defaced, destroyed and sometimes removed by the city it resides in for fear of future conflict. It seems as though we’re eager to get rid of the history we have, simply because we can’t stand to look at it.

Do the statues need to be removed? Probably.

I understand what a lot of people see in these monuments. They believe that the Civil War was fought over slavery and only slavery. I understand that thinking about this time period makes a lot of people angry, and if not angry, it makes most others feel ashamed of what happened.

With that being said, we can’t do things like we have been.

According to the Boston Globe, last month nearly 20 statues and monuments were defaced or even toppled by vandals. Most of them were spray-painted with slogans like, “Black Lives Matter,” and a few were hit with hammers and one was even tarred and feathered.

Does anybody see the point in this?

This, to me, is like a sibling playing a movie in your living room that reminds you of a hard time. So instead of telling them to take it out of the common space in your house, you take the movie, paint hateful things on it and then eventually throw it into a woodchipper.

Now your sibling is upset with you because you destroyed their movie that was left in the living room for the family to watch, but you tell them that it’s for the best because the movie made you feel bad about the past, ashamed, or someone on Twitter told you to do it.

I know that this analogy is ridiculous, but it’s sound. If you see something in a public space that offends you and others similarly, it’s your civic duty to bring it to the attention of the town, not to topple it over and destroy it like it’s a statue of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

These people who do this don’t see the irony of what they’re doing. They’re so caught up in the moment. They don’t understand that while doing what they think is right, they’re destroying the statues of people who did what they thought was right at the time. The only difference is that in the future, people aren’t going to learn the names of the people who deface statues.

– Zach Castellini-Dow

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