Don’t Be Too Quick To Erase Certain Aspects Of Our Proud American History

Editor’s note:  The following Op-Ed was written by State Representative Kelly Keisling (R-Byrdstown) about the destruction and removal of historical monuments.  We believe this article is very timely considering recent events taking place in communities across the nation.

Representative Kelly Keisling

By Kelly Keisling

When reflecting on our proud American history, it is important to consider both the good and bad moments that generations of U.S. citizens have experienced since the birth of our nation. The same can be said about the individuals who are a part of that history. Passing judgement on some of the men we honor in the statues and monuments that dot the landscape of our state and nation is a slippery slope that requires extreme caution.

If we strive to accurately perform this daunting task,two key factors need to be given serious consider-ation.  First, we must examine the entirety of the lives of the men we honor in memorials and all actions that helped define them. It is also critically important that we consider what was acceptable in society during the period of time they walked this earth.

What we are seeing with the destruction of historical monuments and the removal of statues in the wake of the tragic events in Charlottes-ville demonstrates that we as a society are being too quick to pass judgement and too willing to rewrite the narrative of our nation to make it more acceptable by today’s standards.

Slavery is a very painful chapter in the early beginnings of our proud history. I am grateful that this shameful and antiquated practice has been abolished, and I know we as a nation are appreciative that all citizens enjoy the same unalienable rights endowed to us by our great creator. However, other cultures have also participated in this inexcusable practice more recently than us, yet we are not seeing a demolition of their cultures or important history by new generations of their citizens like we see with our Civil War history.

Two years ago, the Tennessee Legislature passed a law that would halt destruction or removal of a historical figure or monument from government property unless the Historical Commission agreed by a two-thirds majority that the item needed to be removed.  I was one of the legislators who cosponsored this legislation that fought for the protection and preservation of history and was proud to do so.  When we allow anger to dictate actions, we let emotion play too important of a role in the decision making process. There is value in having all sides examine a hot topic or a trending issue, but we must make informed and rational decisions, not decisions based purely on emotion or haste.

Read the rest of the story in this weeks Fentress Coureir.