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Erasing History?

Justin M. Kiska

(11/2016) The past is what has made us what we are today. Good or bad, our history is our history and cannot be erased and should not be forgotten. In this day when political correctness is running rampant, one of the most visible targets of those trying to white-wash our past is the Confederate flag.

This historical Civil War symbol evokes all types of emotions. To so many, it is a symbol of a very dark time in Americaís history when slavery was a large part of our culture. That is completely understandable. But before going on, I want to make sure everyone remembers that the Civil War was not just fought over slavery. In fact, there are a large number of scholars and historians that argue slavery was a minor part of what brought about the fighting that literally tore our country apart.

While there are those who equate the Confederate flag to slavery, there are others who say it is a symbol of statesí rights. Regardless of which you believe it to represent, it is a part of our history.

There is a wave now sweeping across the country to try and remove anything that has to do with the Confederacy or our nationís association with slavery.

A bust of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney in front of Frederick City Hall is being removed because he wrote the Dred Scott decision in 1857. As a member of the High Court for twenty-eight years, Justice Taney wrote a number of decisions, but because his name is directly linked to the one preventing the government from restricting slavery in federal territories, his likeness must be hidden away. Since Justice Taney is on the black list now, does that mean Taneytown will be changing its name?

The Civil War is a large part of our areaís history. So much so, that the National Museum of Civil War Medicine is located in downtown Frederick. This summer, Destination DC notified the museum that an ad they had placed in the September visitorís guide was not going to be run because its logo included the Confederate flag. Imagine that, the National Museum of Civil War Medicineís logo includes the flags of the North AND South.

For all those who say the Confederate flag belongs in a museum, in this case, it is, but it still cannot be seen. At what point do we say things have gone too far? A Civil War museum canít even use a Confederate flag?

Removing symbols like the flag and bust of Roger Taney arenít going to change what happened. Are we going to start seeing whole chapters in history books blacked out because they reference the Confederacy? Itís history. Itís our nationís history.

I think trying to remove any possible image or symbol that could just maybe be connected with a period we all agree wasnít the best is the worst thing we can do. We need to know it happened so that we cannot forget that it happened, so we never allow it to happen again.

The Confederate flag may be offensive to some, but nowhere in our Constitution does it say we have the freedom from being offended. These events, as terrible as they were, cannot be erased. They cannot be forgotten. They must be used to teach and educate.

Removing a statue from public view or refusing to run an ad because it has a Confederate flag, albeit for a Civil War museum, is ridiculous. These actions are political correctness completely out of control.

Read other articles by Justin Kiska