by G. Brown
The debate over Confederate monuments went off the rails on FOX News Monday when a former Donald Trump spokesperson defended monuments as a patriotic part of American history. Katrina Pierson got into a heated exchange with Hopkins University professor Wendy Osefo.
The issue on the table was whether House Speaker Republican Paul Ryan should get on board with House Minority Leader Democrat Nancy Pelosi’s push to have all Confederate statues removed from Congress.
Osefo disagreed with Pierson’s argument that the monuments are cherished symbols of history saying, “While it is a piece of American history, it’s not necessarily the good part of American history, it’s actually nefarious. So it doesn’t deserve a place on state grounds.” Osefo argues that such artifacts should be in museums.
Pierson counters with “It absolutely deserves a place. because bad history is still good history for this country.” Osefo who seemed in total disbelief interrupts apparently hoping Pierson would correct her statement emphatically asking, “Slavery is good history?” Pierson responds–“Absolutely” and just keeps digging a deeper hole by throwing in a question…”Just think, where would we be today if not for that civil war ?” Osefo, still totally incredulous responds–“Where would be without slavery? Are you serious?”
At this point the anchor tried to step in and restore some order.
First, let me say that I haven’t missed this Pierson person at all in the last few months. She is typical of talking heads who say the most outrageous things possible to get attention. This is the same woman who once tweeted, “Perfect Obama’s dad born in Africa. Mitt Romney’s dad born in Mexico. Any pure breeds left?” And when asked during an interview on CNN about Donald Trump’s proposed Muslim ban she responded “So what? They’re Muslim.”
Pierson is no longer an official Trump spokesperson, but she remains a staunch conservative who now works as the mouth piece for a group called America First Policies. She may have changed teams, but the rhetoric she spews is the same. The same nonsense chatter that we heard from Trump who called removal of Confederate statues and monuments “foolish“. Trump added, “Sad to see the history and culture our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments….You can’t change history, but you can learn from it.”
Most of us don’t learn from monuments and statues. We learn from history books and classes. Monuments reinforce or corroborate what we’ve already learned.
Monuments were not about preserving history…it was the continued waging of psychological warfare to make Blacks believe that they are the inferior race. NPR recently noted in an article that many historians say “The majority of the memorials seem to have been built with the intention not to honor fallen soldiers, but specifically to further ideals of white supremacy.” The article quotes another college professor–Jane Dailey who teaches history at the University of Chicago. Dailey says, “Most of the people who were involved in erecting the monuments were not necessarily erecting a monument to the past, but were rather, erecting them toward a white supremacist future.”
The article surmises that most of the Confederate monuments were erected during two periods of the most extreme racial tension in the early 1900s(during the implementation of Jim Crow laws) and again in the 60s(during the Civil Rights movement). The construction and placements of these statues and monuments were intended to send a message. A silent but looming reminder that White supremacists believe they are the master race.
The Confederates were traitors who have been memorialized as heroes and champions when in honesty they were on the losing side. Yet, vestiges of the Civil War still linger. These are not as Trump called them “beautiful” glimpses of history, but painful reminders of hatred. The U.S. should learn from Germany. After Hitler’s reign Germany removed and banished from public viewing all relics, flags and reminders of their darkest time under his rule and the Nazi terror. The only real reminders live on in the pages of history books. No one there flies a Nazi flag chanting ‘long live Nazis’ or parade thru the streets yelling blood and soil to declare their supremacy. Germany learned from its brutal past…why can’t America do the same? And if don’t learn from the past, are we doomed to repeat it?