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A Monumental Decision: Not Federal, and Not About Feelings

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Angry debates over Confederate monuments often involve a series of misunderstandings about the underlying issues.

First, no one seriously argues that statues should be removed because they’re hurting someone’s feelings. The real case against the memorials is that no one should be honored for service to a dishonorable cause.

Number two, it’s wrong to equate monuments to Lee or Stonewall Jackson with tributes to fellow Virginians—and slave-owners—Washington and Jefferson. Those two presidents are known—and rightly honored—for gigantic contributions to America’s founding, but Lee and Jackson are known almost exclusively for making war against the United States, and the American flag, in defense of slavery.

Number three, it’s wrong to treat this as a national issue; President Trump had the right idea when he said that each locality should make its own decisions, and all good citizens must respect the judgments made by their duly elected, local representatives.

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