Defy Mob Justice by Celebrating the Life of Robert E. Lee

Crisis Magazine | 12/31/1969 | Elizabeth Anderson
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On October 12, 1870, a good man closed his eyes on this world. Although loved by many, and respected by most at the time of his death, history has since laden Robert E. Lee with abuse and hatred. The change has been long coming, but Dylann Roof’s 2015 racist shooting raised disgust to a fever pitch, and provided a call to action for all who already thought sourly of General Lee. Following Roof’s violent outburst of hatred and white supremacy, the southern region of our country underwent a purge of much of its Confederate history. The acting assumption seems to be that if only we can erase any memory of the Confederacy and slavery, finally, racism will be a thing of the past. In the days of #metoo and #believewomen (as if women had but one mind among them), and Kavanaugh hearings, it’s worth pointing out that before we tear men apart, or tear down their statues, we are duty bound to know the facts of the case, no matter our personal feelings toward, or disagreements with, the male in question.

Both Brett Kavanaugh and Robert E. Lee have been victimized by mob frenzy, an approach to disagreement that bypasses any search for truth. While Kavanaugh’s story remains unfinished, Robert E. Lee’s completed life provides food for thought. This man, known primarily for his dignity, his dedication, and most of all his outstanding leadership and military prowess certainly merits honor. He should be remembered with respect in history, with prayer on the day of his death, as well as being commemorated with statues. Toppling statues of Lee will not remove the shame of slavery from American history. Rather, refusing to recognize nobility among enemies—even historical ones, demonstrates symptoms of a culture purposefully ignorant of history, as well as one unable to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Crisis Magazine
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