Regarding the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, Gov. Paul LePage stated that taking down statues of Confederate figures is like removing a monument to people who died in the 9/11 attacks. To equate monuments of those two events completely ignores essential historical contrasts. People who died in the 9/11 attack were innocent victims of cold-blooded terrorism. The Confederate States of America was a movement to create a new nation based on white supremacy and slavery.

Monuments to honor innocent 9/11 victims are completely appropriate. Monuments to white supremacists and slavery — well, the problems with that should be self-evident. Unfortunately, monuments to the Confederacy do exist and many are worthy works of art. But monuments have meaning and Confederate monuments cannot be divested from their original cause.

We are now engaged in a national debate as to what should be done with the monuments to this discredited cause. They should come down; we fought a war over 150 years ago that makes that clear. But they need not be destroyed. They do represent an important part of our history, just not an honorable one. LePage should also note that moving these memorials to appropriate sites isn’t the same as “erasing history.”

And as to President Donald Trump’s lament to the loss of “these beautiful, beautiful statues”; there is no reason to leave the emptied spaces void. Great art can be created that is both beautiful and honorable. Have faith in the creativity of your fellow Americans. Make it a contest — a grand spectacle the likes of which the president is well suited to champion. It could even be an event where the peoples of this troubled country come together to decide on how to display the better sides of our nature. Lead us in a positive direction. It would be presidential.

Roy Estabrook

North Monmouth


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