Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Charlottesville: Two Sides to a Story


There are two sides to a story. I thought what took place was a horrible moment for the country, but there are two sides to a story.
               Donald J. Trump, Trump Tower, Aug 15, 2017


According to Donald Trump, both sides were responsible for the violence at Charlottesville:  the Alt-Right and the Alt-Left.  The Alt-Right was protesting the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee.  The Alt-Left, as Donald Trump now calls them us, was protesting the White Nationalist Rally itself.

On One Side:  Heather Heyer



On the Other Side: James Alex Fields


On One Side:  President Barrack Obama



On the Other Side:  Donald J. Trump




On One Side:  Donald J. Trump

Trump Tower August 15,  2017

QUESTION: Do you think that the -- what you call the alt-left is the same as neo-Nazis?

TRUMP: Those people -- all of those people -- excuse me. I've condemned neo-Nazis. I've condemned many different groups. But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists, by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, Robert E. Lee. So -- excuse me. And you take a look at some of the groups and you see -- and you'd know it if you were honest reporters, which in many cases you're not, but many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. So this week it's Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson's coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you all -- you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop? But they were there to protest -- excuse me. You take a look, the night before, they were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. Infrastructure question, go ahead. QUESTION: Should the statue of Robert E. Lee stay up? TRUMP: I would say that's up to a local town, community, or the federal government, depending on where it is located.

On the Other Side:  Annette Gordon-Reed, Harvard Professor of History,
Quoted in the June 28, 2017 issue of The Atlantic.


     ...Nevertheless, the concerns about erasure of history remain perhaps the most potent objection, espoused not only by irredentist rebels but even by those who declare strong disdain for the Confederacy. And Gordon-Reed offered two rejoinders.

The first was that removing a statue hardly constitutes erasing history. “We’re always going to know who Robert E. Lee is,” she said. “The question is where these monuments are. The public sphere should be comfortable for everybody.” 

But what about the idea that once the Lees and Stonewall Jacksons and P.G.T. Beauregards are pulled down, the revisionists will inevitably start agitating for pulling down monuments to slave-owning Founding Fathers like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

But Gordon-Reed, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her book on the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, said it was not hard to draw a bright line separating Jefferson’s generation of Virginians from the ones who tried to secede.

“We can distinguish between people who wanted to build the United States of America and people who wanted to destroy it,” she said. “It’s possible to recognize people’s contributions at the same time as recognizing their flaws.” 

“You’re not going to have American history without Jefferson,” Gordon-Reed said. Alluding not to the demise of the Lenin statues but to the infamous deletion of disgraced figures from Kremlin photographs, she added, “It’s not the Soviet Union.”



No comments:

Post a Comment