The Corner

Politics & Policy

‘Mothball the Confederate Monuments’

I wrote about Confederate monuments in my column today:

Robert E. Lee wasn’t a Nazi, and surely would have had no sympathy for the white-supremacist goons who made his statue a rallying point in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend.

That doesn’t change the fact that his statue is now associated with a campaign of racist violence against the picturesque town where Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia. The statue of Lee was already slated for removal by the city, but the Battle of Charlottesville should be an inflection point in the broader debate over Confederate statuary.

The monuments should go. Some of them simply should be trashed; others transmitted to museums, battlefields, and cemeteries. The heroism and losses of Confederate soldiers should be commemorated, but not in everyday public spaces where the monuments are flashpoints in poisonous racial contention, with white nationalists often mustering in their defense.

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