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An unwarranted review of the Civil War

Controversial opinion time: the American Civil War was not the best thing in the world. It was fought for “complex reasons that totally weren’t just slavery” (or so I have been informed by a number of white male southerners) and resulted in enormous, staggering casualty counts on all sides. It’s the only war to occur on American soil since the Revolution. Some of you are probably saying, “What about the War of 1812?” but you’re nerds who belong in lockers and that war doesn’t count.

The Civil War means different things to different people. To some, it’s a reminder that their ancestors fought in a war over a century ago. To others, it’s an eternally damning reminder of the ongoing horrors of racism, systematic oppression and a country which has labeled them as undeserving of respect. So, as you can see, the two parties stand on completely equal footing. Ancestor fought in a war versus lived-in reminder of discrimination. Same thing.

The problem is that there are memorials all over the place reminding those minorities who said war happened and we are still, for some god forsaken reason, still talking about it in any positive way. What would really be awful is if phrases like “The South will rise again!” or symbols like the Confederate flag were still prevalent in our culture.

So, a few months back, in recognition of the grim reminder these memorials pose to minorities, the Charlottesville City Council voted to remove our Robert E. Lee statue.

Honestly, I am shocked it took us this long to reach that conclusion. I’m all for body positivity, sex positivity, even lizard positivity, but I have my limits with historical positivity. America should have the decency to be more ashamed of itself. I have the decency to hate myself every waking moment but somehow, as a nation, even asking for one day is too much.

I am a privileged person, and the privilege and naiveté of those in favor of the statue baffle me. Some have even suggested putting in an educational plaque, because everyone reads to understand legacy, that’s why we originally installed a giant, thirty-foot tall statue. Subtlety has really been our forte when it comes to the Civil War.

Here’s the truly insane part! This wouldn’t even be a discussion if this degree of oppression and tragedy had happened to a different demographic. If there were a second Civil War and the secessionists fought for the right to force white straight men to involuntarily wear hot pink tracksuits, that new Confederacy would be razed to the ground, expunged from all records and its descendants would be forced to colonize Mars. There would be no middle ground and no memorials.

Then, because capitalism knows no bounds, the city of Charlottesville had an even more brilliant idea! Sell the statue for a ton of money. Take that symbol of the lives lost during the war and turn it into profit. That sounds respectful to me. The commoditization of a dead man and his legacy has never gone wrong. Anyone know how much my roommates’ organs would go for? How about their diaries?

I honestly do believe we should donate the statue to a museum. It can’t harm anyone there, because no one willingly goes to museums anymore. The only times I get dragged to one are when elderly family members come into town and, if they took me to a museum which had a Robert E. Lee statue in it, the statue would be the least racist part of that experience. If no one wants it, lets melt it down and build the Corner Ambassadors suits of armor. Not that I think it’ll make them more effective, but they’ll at least look cooler.