Playing the Indian Card

Monday, August 21, 2017

No Statues of Traitors?

Statue of Louis Riel in front of the Manitoba legislature.

I have now seen a new justification for tearing down Civil War memorials.

A commentator on CNN argued against the statues of Lee and other Confederate figures on the grounds that they took up arms against the US. So why on earth is public money being spend on memorials to traitors? Treason should not be commemorated.

It sounds reasonable—but. By that standard, consider what other statues must come down. In Canada, no commemorating Louis Riel, William Lyon Mackenzie, or Louis-Joseph Papineau, all of whom are honoured and mostly revered. Mackenzie’s house in Toronto is a public museum, and the tone is entirely laudatory. No memorials or commemoration of Sitting Bull, Pontiac, Crazy Horse, Chief Joseph, Geronimo, and many other Indian leaders. Sound good? Also, no John Brown commemorations. He was hanged for treason.

Statue of Crazy Horse in progress.

And, then too, the only difference between Lee and Washington is that Washington's treason succeeded. Washington wanted independence from the home government in London. Lee wanted independence from the home government in Washington. Washington won; Lee lost. The only difference between Robert E. Lee and Sam Houston is that Houston won, in separating Texas from Mexico, and Lee lost, in separating Virginia from the U.S.

Is that really enough to claim such absolute moral high ground?

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