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Don’t be distracted by monument debate

Excellent editorial reprinted from Wilmington's Star News on August 23. I realize, as an Irish American, that I would oppose statues of Oliver Cromwell in Ireland. Mentioned in the editorial were Lee and Jackson, both of whom were heroes in the Mexican War; Lee was Commandant of West Point, so they have more in their resume than the Civil War.

It is interesting to note that most of the officers and cadets at the Point in the mid-1800s were from the South, as Northern young men did not see the military as an attractive career. As a Northerner whose ancestors served in Rhode Island Battery A, I can still understand to a degree the anger over the removal/destruction of statues and memorials of Southern war heroes. It has long been known that winners soon forget a war while losers never do. Nonetheless, times are changing, which is alright, but history is history and is only rewritten by fools. To judge people of centuries past by today's standards is imprudent, and today we seem to have a vast collection of such people on our campuses - the last places to find any semblance of free speech. It appears that impressionable minds are taught not to think independently, but to participate in groupthink, and despise anyone who has a different point of view. Remind anyone of Mao? 

Regarding memorials of soldiers of the Civil War, it is a concern that the issue distracts from actual problems, which are setting back minorities in our country. The vast majority of children of color are receiving a sub-standard education every day. It causes a ripple effect; they are cheated, which often leads to their children and grandchildren being cheated.

They enter first grade happy and enthusiastic and leave schools 12 years later often unprepared for the future. Argentina often used The Falkland Islands as a way to rally its citizens together when they were getting angry about the economy and government corruption.

Many believe that Putin invaded the Ukraine to distract Russian citizens from a rapidly declining economy in the face of the decline of oil prices. Is there a group in our USA who are intentionally distracting people from their real problems and rallying them around things which may briefly make them feel better, in order to keep the status quo in education alive and well?

Perhaps that’s something to think about.

The writer lives in Georgetown.

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