Don’t Touch My Monument
The newest expression of political correctness sweeping the nation is the removal of our monuments. I get it, some statues are painful reminders of dark times in American history, and should be taken down. But not all of them! And it seems as if the monuments across our nation have been put on notice, boiling down to one question: Did you own a slave? If so, be prepared to have that statue taken down, and a nice, boring vase put in its place so not to offend anyone.
Well I’m offended! I live in Houston and this weekend protesters demanded the Sam Houston monument – the guy our city is named after – be taken down from Herman Park. This statue is as impressive as it is calming, set in front of a long reflection pond that leads to the Houston Zoo. Basically it’s a guy on a horse protecting our city. Any time I ride the children’s train around the park and see Sam on his horse, I am filled with the nostalgia of simpler times playing in this park.
The group released their official statement on why the Sam Houston monument should be removed: “Texans agree the disgusting idols of America’s dark days of slavery must be removed to bring internal peace to our country.”
Here’s the thing, Houston is the fourth largest city in America – we’ve got issues – removing this statue will not bring “internal peace.” And Sam Houston was much more than a man who owned slaves. Born Samuel Houston, he lived from 1793 to 1863, making it to the ripe old age of 70, which is a feat in and of itself for that time. After his father’s death when Sam was 14, his mom moved the family from Virginia to Tennessee. Houston joined the military and fought in the War of 1812, serving under Andrew Jackson. He entered congress in 1823, became Governor of Tennessee in 1827, and after he helped secure Texas’ independence from Mexico, was made the first president of the Republic of Texas in 1836. Houston was re-elected in 1841.
But here’s what’s important, after he served as president, during Houston’s stint in the Texas Senate, he was briefly ousted for not supporting the Confederacy. That’s huge, folks. During this time in our history you could be tarred and feathered for not supporting the Confederacy. Or much worse.
So my question is, what’s next? Should prior presidents be stripped of their title if they owned slaves? Here’s a list of the presidents who would be removed, according to Wikipedia: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson (who also fathered some of his slaves) James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James Polk, Zachary Taylor, Andrew Johnson, and Ulysses S Grant. That’s kind of a lot.
But why stop there? What about adulterers. I mean, come on, that’s in the Ten Commandments. Shouldn’t that be a statue deal breaker? Goodbye practically every statue out there!
Kidding aside, I was raised Jewish so I get that slavery is a very bad thing, but cool heads must prevail when considering the individual’s contribution to our nation as a whole. Sam Houston accomplished so much, but he lived in a time when something as terrible as slavery was permitted. Should we hold him accountable for what was common practice during that particular era? Or should we remove all statues that fit into this category so we can forget? Let me know your thoughts and sounds off below in the comment section.