In ligt of the recent events in Charlottesville, VA and other racially-charged events across our country, coupled with the election of Donald Trump (whom some deem a racist), much talk has been made in regards to removing Confederate statues.
Now, I get it. Some people see those statues, I’m sure, and think to themselves (and say to others), “the South will rise again!”. However, do you really believe, in your heart of hearts, that a statue makes them feel that way, or is it something they’ve learned along the way in life – a belief system that has made them the way they are today. I would suggest it’s the latter and not the former. Some people harbor racism, and it has nothing to do with a statue. It has to do with the heart.
Unfortunately, however we feel about it, the Civil War is part of our nation’s history. It just is. That doesn’t mean I think “hey wasn’t slavery great?! Why don’t we celebrate it?!”
What if we looked at these monuments and statues as a reminder of the horrible events our nation went through – the horrible loss of life and the ripping apart of a country, as a reminder that we never want to go down that road again?
Now, I certainly can’t speak for a person of color. I actually had to look up POC this year, BTW, because I didn’t know that’s what it meant, and I kept seeing it pop up all over the place. But if I could try to put myself in their shoes, I would try to see a statue I came across as motivation. Motivation that I can be a better person. Motivation that we CAN build a better country (as much of a mess as our country tends to be at times). Motivation that, despite our differences, we CAN come together and love our neighbor.
Here’s where I might sound harsh, but it needs to be heard I believe. A statue shouldn’t hold power over you, and you shouldn’t let it! If a statue is keeping you down, you need to re-evaluate and rise above.
To jump into the political side of things, isn’t it strange that for the past 8 years that we had a Democratic president and off and on Democratic control of the House and Senate there weren’t mass outcries for these statues to be removed? Or if there were, I certainly don’t remember them on this kind of scale. And isn’t it a little strange that they could have had them removed at least from the Capital area, and they didn’t? I mean, seriously. Here is a direct quote from former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
“The Confederate statues in the halls of Congress have always been reprehensible,” Ms. Pelosi said, putting pressure on the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, to act. “If Republicans are serious about rejecting white supremacy, I call upon Speaker Ryan to join Democrats to remove the Confederate statues from the Capitol immediately.”
But I won’t get too started down the political road, because I could be writing all day.
I’ll leave you with a status I wrote not long after the events in Charlottesville took place. I think it sums up how we can rise above. Rise above the hatred of racism. Rise above any “power” we believe a statue holds or represents.
What our country needs is some seriously soul searching and heart change. Doesn’t matter what race, gender, or religion you are.
Change starts with the heart.
We can shout slogans until we are blue in the face. We can topple all the statues.
But that won’t make a difference if there isn’t heart change.
Jesus preached love. He WAS love embodied. Perhaps we should take a cue or two from Him.
He didn’t go around chanting angry slogans, nor did he decry how terrible the Roman oppressors were.
Perhaps we should too.