Statues, history and context

Since nothing is funny anymore ever, why not another serious topic sure to alienate people more? Here goes! Recently, my feed takes a short, occasional break from summer vacations and Trump related posts for other things and now it’s all about history. And about everyone is wrong. “WHAT MAKES YOU KNOW HISTORY, COMEDIAN BOY?” Well, reading helps! One thing I have observed recently with the internet, is that there is so much agenda driven information out there, you can find anything, whether correct or not. So here goes.

Statues. I like statues. Sculpture is my favorite form of art. No, I’m not counting stand-up as art, dummies. I’ve been to too many open mics. I generally don’t like statues being pulled down. That said, I have no issue getting rid of statues glorifying Confederate generals. Why? Well, let’s take the views of Robert E. Lee. Lee said after the war he was against monuments to the Confederacy as he thought it would further divide the country that needed healing after the Civil War. (He also thought gravestones should be left alone, which again, I agree with.) If the statue is of the war in general, related to a battlefield or honoring the common soldier, I can see an strong argument to keep it. If Lee and Meade are monuments at Gettysburg, makes perfect sense. A statue honoring an individual in a random town over the greater theme of reminding society about the high cost of the Civil War and importance of ending slavery? See ya, Nathan Bedford Forrest on a horse. Plus there’s the whole thing of statuing (I made up a word) up people that openly rebelled against the country the statue is in, but whatever, right?

Now for Christopher Columbus in my adopted town? Goodbye statue. First, he never even set foot in the continental US, let alone Ohio, let alone Franklin County. Second, while his achievement was monumental, he was not the first (Vikings) European to find America, just the first to cause people to write it down and seek to migrate here. Third, he was a real scumbag. YES EVEN IN THE CONTEXT OF HISTORY. Even Spain, which doesn’t exactly have a glorious track record of fairness to native populations, removed him from the governorship for cruelty. Smallpox and disease did the most damage, but he almost single-handedly wiped a race from history with forced labor, slavery and sex crimes. Should he be removed from books? No, we need to know these things. Should he have a big ol’ glorious art piece? Not in Ohio.

Changing the name of the city is another issue, to be honest, I don’t think of Columbus the man when someone says the city name, so I don’t think there’s a need, unless the city decides it should be Coenton. Seriously, the cost of changing the name and signs and municipalities would be much better sent on resources to help the citizens over taking the extra effort over the name. I’d rather see public park or a rec center go up than have the city spend millions redoing the name.

I believe we have to watch, however. Since the protests started, a memorial of the 54th Massachusetts, the first black regiment in the Civil War, was vandalized. People vandalized statues of Lincoln and even Revolutionary War hero and abolitionist Thaddeus Kocuiszcko. If you’re going to scream for the statues to come down, know what the hell the statue is. Kocuiszcko was a Polish fighter who fought against the British here and the Russians in his home country, then left his estate to be used as a home for freed slaves. The 54th Mass. is now known to most of us from the movie Glory, a stirring film showcasing the dedication and bravery of these heroic soldiers. Whomever spray painted that monument should be forced to watch the film then handed a bucket of soapy water. I also believe in context. Applying every modern sensibility to historical figures is absurd, but not knowing what you are vandalizing is even dumber when they agree with you or stood for something you stand for. Don’t be stupid, it tends to help in life.

To make sure I’m thinking of solutions, not just offering up removal, here’s who can replace Columbus in Columbus –

Captain America – punched Hitler, loves America.

Brutus Buckeye – representing brown and tan people, Ohio State probably has a extra 50 stored somewhere so it would be cheap.

A big can of Natural Light – bringing the rural and urban areas of Ohio together in one of the three things they agree on.

Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes, but peeing on a Michigan football helmet – same as above, representing all of Ohio.

Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson – Columbus’s biggest upset since picking Christopher Columbus to represent a city he’d literally never been within a 1000 miles of.

A huge middle finger – representing everyone in a suburb that still has to pay Columbus taxes also.

An orange barrel – if you have to ask why you’re not from Columbus.

A drunk person screaming “O-H!” – so all the drunks can scream back “I-O!” I don’t endorse this, just know this is basically Columbus in a nutshell.