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By: Darwin Campbell
Author of column series “The Black Whisperer”

It was the late Maya Angelou who said, “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

As America lives through the nightmares of its own history, it continues dog us like an inescapable bad dream that we keep torturing each other with over and over again.

We lie to ourselves and say we want to forgive and we want to forget, but just like Bill Murray in the movie ‘Groundhog Day’ we keep waking up and repeating and reliving the same things – an it appears we like this kind of dramatic torture.

Today’s Americans are a nation of sick, spoiled and coddled bunch of belly-aching milk toasts who don’t understand how to be thankful and have failed to count the blessings we enjoy and take for granted.

Freedom – the bedrock founding principle in the United States Constitution.

For 241 years this great democracy has survived and endured the aches and pains of war, hatred, slavery, hardships, disasters, bad leadership and financial ruin and we still survive because of our courage and endurance as a people.

Many of the complainers about President Donald Trump did not even have the patriotic gall to go to the polls to cast a ballot on election day, so You got what you paid for… at least for four years.

Now, what are these sniveling whimp masters trying to do. Erase American history?

Is it bad enough that history has been bungled and taught improperly in public school systems that now its visible remnants are under attack and being vandalized across the country.

The First Amendment is For ALL Americans – Like it or not…

As both a dedicated military veteran and a career journalist, I support the principles of the First Amendment – even if I disagree with something another American holds dear.

Now we stand at the crossroads where if you don’t like my position, the only alternative is to shut me out or shun my ideas. That is not the American way.

The right to protest is protected whether we like what is being promoted or not.

I am not a fan of hate and really dislike the idea that someone would promote hate in our great society, but I served in the military to protect that person’s right to hate as much as another persons right to love.

Some actions and words may get on my nerves, but as long as that individual practices and promotes his beliefs withing the framework of the law without attempting to hurt or violate my personal space or freedoms, I can stay away from him or her and don’t have to go and find him, get in his face or to tell him I disagree to the point of wanting to eliminate his voice.

God gave all of us free will and it is not in my power to force hatred on a person no more that it is to force love on a hater.

Force creates friction and that friction results in Chaos like that of New Orleans, Charlottesville, Virginia and North Carolina and other places.

I am a proponent of what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. espoused as a Christian and a peacemaker. Hate has no place in creating the kind of Republic where we respect one another’s right to free speech, protest and to agree and disagree.

But tearing down and destroying historical statues goes too far. Erasing history is not the answer.

Cases in Point

Located in downtown Washington, D.C., the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial honors Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy and the struggle for freedom, equality, and justice.

Crowds gather for the unveiling of the new Martin Luther King Jr. statue at MacGregor Park on Saturday, May 24, 2014, in Houston. ( J. Patric Schneider / For the Chronicle )

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the most prominent leaders of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, becoming an icon through his incredible speeches and his use of nonviolent resistance. He led the famous March on Washington in 1963, where he gave his legendary “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Opened to the public in 2011, the memorial is the fourth in Washington, DC to honor a non-president and the first to honor a man of color. The site was designed as a lasting tribute to Dr. King’s legacy and will forever serve as a monument to the freedom, opportunity and justice for which he stood.

Stone Mountain in Georgia is set up and preserved by state law as a protected Confederate memorial and features the famous Confederate faces of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

Three Confederate war leaders on the face of state-owned Stone Mountain who defended slavery and tried to destroy the union but now talk has surfaced about facing the possibility of erasure of the monument using a large sandblaster.

Both monuments from two different eras of history and both still sharing key lesson about living in America.

We must be very careful because the passion we share for MLK Jr and his accomplishments to Black history and civil rights is in a parallel weird kind of way the same passion that those whose believe in the historical failures of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

Our sister Maya Angelou was correct is here assessment that we cannot undo the pains of 400 years of slavery or the wrongs committed against us or our ancestors.

It our duty not to be judges or relive past historical black holes or dwell in them forever.

We have to develop a stronger positive mindset that nurtures the kind of unity that overcomes, dominates and towers over the hateful words, actions and messages of those who want constant conflict, division, chaos and destruction to befall the land of the free.

Angelou asserted that Part of having history means learning from it.

What Have We learned?

Pulling down statues and erasing history does not change the fact that history happened.

It fuels and stokes the flames of hatred and totally unravels the ability to communicate and solve conflicts.

I don’t like what the Romans and Jews did to Jesus Christ, but I am not ready to boycott Jerusalem or tear down all wooden crosses or destroy the Roman Coliseum where thousands of my brothers and sisters were ridiculed and brutally murdered by hungry lions.

Acting out and projecting anger against history does not change history. Erasing it does not either.

Gen. Robert E. Lee is not one of my all time favorites list and neither is President Andrew Jackson, but both are part of American History. I accept that.

America is what she is today because our freedoms helped frame our national personality and preserve the freedoms we all enjoy and take for granted daily.

Before we get too emotional about tearing and ripping down monuments, think about how some of those same people you now are offended by could turn on sacred symbols and statues representing Christ, the Apostles, Mary and other monuments, including great markers reminding us of our rich heritages of Black History and Church History.

History… “if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

 

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