Controversy is swirling over what should be done about the Confederate statues established throughout the United States. Now with tensions at an all-time high, politically-motivated demands are being made of the American people regarding these monuments.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is at the forefront, leading the removal of these historical statues at the US Capitol, according to Politico. Pelosi believes that people should be so outraged about these monuments, that the decision to keep or remove them should be stripped from the individual states, which is where the choice has belonged. The push from Pelosi came after Senator Cory Brooker (D-NJ) started crafting legislation that would remove the Confederate monuments.
Directly after the horrific events in Charlottesville, Virginia, Democrats were virtually silent about the removal of monuments depicting historical figures who owned slaves, as evidenced in history. But now things have changed. Rep. Pelosi has started to thump the political war drum and is even attempting to recruit Republicans to her side of this issue.
Pelosi stated, “If Republicans are serious about rejecting white supremacy, I call upon Speaker [Paul] Ryan to join Democrats to remove the Confederate statues from the Capitol immediately.” In other words–agree to remove the statues, or risk being labeled evil supporters of racism.
Congressional GOP leaders cautiously addressed the issue when the word first came out that the Left wanted to remove the historical monuments from public display. In some locations, the statues have been displayed for over 100 years. Ryan said that it ought to be up to the individual states to decide whether or not Confederate statues should be removed, and left it at that.
In response to Pelosi’s demand, Doug Andres, a spokesman for Ryan reiterated that “These are decisions for those states to make,” Independent Journal Review reported.
However, according to the law establishing the National Statuary Hall, statues permitted in the collection must be supplied by the States and depict a deceased citizen of that state who is considered “illustrious for historic renown or for distinguished civic or military services.” In other words, the federal government both recognized and granted State governments the discretion to determine which citizens to commemorate at the Federal level, without criteria excluding one’s commemoration. It is, then, inconsistent to challenge statues that have been erected through the power granted to municipal governments, and which have stood uncontested for many years.
Pelosi stated, “There is no room for celebrating the violent bigotry of the men of the Confederacy in the hallowed halls of the United States Capitol, or in places of honor across the country.” The only problem with that statement is it doesn’t seem that anyone on the Left or the Right is celebrating their violence or bigotry.
Racism is obviously reprehensible, and it is unacceptable to say otherwise, but context matters. The statues are not in place because people want to celebrate racism.
Nancy Pelosi thinks the federal government should pass a law to get rid of Confederate statues. Should this decision be left to the states?
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill accused Speaker Ryan of “hiding behind states,” instead of just doing what Pelosi demands of him. Sadly, this is the prevailing tone coming from the Left: Ignoring this demand is unacceptable.
Now, Booker is working on crafting legislation that would remove the “offensive” statues from locations all across the country, whether they exist on federal land or not, and with or without the consent of the sovereign local authorities. However, the odds of Booker’s legislation making through Congress are slim, especially considering Ryan’s pro-State policy.
All of America is watching and waiting to see how this game of political chess plays out. These monuments have been on display long before any of us were born. Hopefully, they will continue to be displayed around the country throughout our lifetimes. Should they fall at the demands of political opportunists, we risk the beginning of the end of the accurate accounting of US history.