Tear down the Abe Lincoln statue in Chicago's Lincoln Park

Why not? Even though he led the Union in a fight to abolish slavery, we all know that he was a racist at heart and ending slavery wasn't his purpose at all. It is Fred Kaplan's argument according to a book review by Manisha Sinha:

Unlike the abolitionists, Lincoln — in Kaplan’s telling — opposed emancipation and black rights through much of his life not because he was an anti-slavery moderate, as most historians have argued, but because he was an incorrigible racist and anti-abolitionist.

This isn't an isolated view, albeit a minority one. But the way that demands for the destruction of statues and other memorials of the

Lincoln Park statue of the "Great Emancipator"

Lincoln Park statue of the "Great Emancipator"

Confederacy, slave-holders and other notables in American history, I wouldn't be surprised if the wave eventually rolls over President Abraham Lincoln. Here is a summary of that growing wave: More states challenge display of Confederate monuments, symbols.

Washington Park statue of the Founding Father

Washington Park statue of the Founding Father

Lincoln can't be far behind after hearing the call by a Chicago pastor for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to scrub the names of presidents George Washington and Andrew Jackson from the South Side parks bearing their names. Bishop James Dukes, pastor of Liberation Christian Center, said he also wants a  statue of Washington removed from the northwest entrance to Washington Park. It's wrong, he argues, to memorialize the slaveholder presidents in African-American neighborhoods where they would cause offense. I suppose that logic makes perfect sense to some.

Then there's the Confederate Mound in Oak Woods Cemetery at 1035 E.

Camp Douglas where thousands of Confederate prisoners died.

Camp Douglas where thousands of Confederate prisoners died.

67th St. where a mass grave holds the remains of more than 4,000 Confederate prisoners. They were reinterred from Camp Douglas on the south lakefront where masses died from horrific conditions. Should we now disinter their bodies and grind their bones into dust and scatter them on a dump because they fought on the side of the slave-holders? 

Abraham Lincoln in his Second Inaugural Address called for reconciliation:

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

Where does it end? I understand the arguments from both sides, and can sympathize with each.  But where is this drive to scrub history leading us? Should Washington D.C. be renamed? Should Lincoln, Illinois shed its shameful name in favor of a more fashionable moniker?

If we are to heal our wounds, it does little good to keep picking off their scabs.

Related: Tribune columnist John Kass makes a lot of sense: "Trump fails morality test on Charlottesville."

Related: Lincoln statue burned on South Side. 

dennis@dennisbyrne.net

www.dennisbyrne.net

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  • I've noted elsewhere that I don't have much of an opinion on the statues. But unless you are just being the devil's advocate, you are engaging in false Trumpian equivalence. As jnorto pointed out elsewhere, Lincoln did not advocate traitorism again the United States, and all those supposed statue lovers aren't interested in the statues, but hoping to bring back what those traitors lost 150 years ago.

    Again, those of you on the far right call for reconciliation, but are unwilling to offer anything to the majority, such as, say, for instance, offering a compromise health bill instead of skewering McConnell for not passing Trump's lack of a plan. In fact, Robert E. Lee V's family released a statement:

    "At the end of the Civil War, {Lee} implored the nation to come together to heal our wounds and to move forward to become a more unified nation. He never would have tolerated the hateful words and violent actions of white supremacists, the KKK, or neo-Nazis."

    In short, if the statue defenders were following Lee, they would be making the first step to reconciliation. But they're not, they are now hiding like scared puppies. For once, Bannon was correct in referring to them as "These guys are a collection of clowns." Now, I suppose you have to decide whether you are allying yourself with this collection, or just think you are being funny.

    On the local monument, that seems equivalent to a tombstone,so if you want that thousands of unknown folks are buried there, that's up to you.

  • Did Lincoln take up arms against the United States?

    Robert E. Lee led an army that killed more soldiers and sailors of the United States than Germany and Japan could kill in WWII. You are playing a mind game of false equivalents.

    As for the local monument, as Jack says, it is more like a tombstone commemorating the Confederate soldiers who died in Chicago's Camp Douglas. I don't think anyone now or when it was constructed would see it as a monument to glorify the defenders of slavery. And even if it is taken as a glorification of the myth of the great lost cause, it is on private land and thus not government sponsored.

  • In reply to jnorto:

    Lincoln apparently is guilty of shedding more blood than any other president of the United States in an effort not to eradicate slavery, according to the growing popular view, but to keep the Union from dissolving and making his administration look bad. Many African Americans were killed in the process too, besides gullible white soldiers, so while he did not take up arms against the country, he is obviously guilty of mass war crimes and his criminal status should be recognized and all positive references and memorials to him removed.

  • In reply to Chef Boy RD:

    The views of a revisionist patriot! What is it you put in your sauce?

  • In reply to Chef Boy RD:

    So nameless chicken chef wanted the South to split away. Now that this nameless fool has exposed himself as a traitor as well as a bigot, let this Trump revisionist have his way.

    I take it there were no war criminals in the South, or we should just accept this unlearned barrister's definition of one.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack, if you persist in the name-calling, I'll have to start editing the remarks. So, please.... Same goes for everyone else.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    Dennis, I called your doppelganger, Chef, (are the two of you one and the same?) a "revisionist patriot." Does this violate your rules of censorship?

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack,

    I'm not nameless. I have a link right to me. You?

    I'm not sure how you got all that out of my condemnation of Lincoln, but be that as it may.

    You might want to click on it and examine my picture.
    Considering you think I was alive prior to the Civil War and wanted the South to spit you're going to have to admit I'm pretty well preserved.

    Once again, re-read the article. Believe it or not it is not about me.

  • In reply to Chef Boy RD:

    So your name is really a trademark violation? Curious. I hope Con Agra sues you.
    I don't see any link.
    Also, I didn't say you were around in 1856. I am only reflecting what your postings reflect. Reading is a skill, as you seem to acknowledge.
    But:
    1. I am SHOCKED that you finally responded.
    2. The article might not be about you, but what you post is about you. You, like most members of the alt-right,think you are immune to criticism. I guess you use the Milo technique that we have to give you a pass, but, sorry I don't. And I don't believe that Dennis's post on the Holocaust had anything to do with your rant about liberals, but it seems like Dennis had your back on that.

  • The Lincoln statue at 69th and Wolcott was torched, so it's a start. This time an act of vandalism, but tomorrow an official action by the city. It's inevitable.

  • Obviously, the whole Lincoln thing is another false equivalency, a ruse. No one ever knows what's in anyone's heart, especially not someone whose been dead for 152 years, but we do know that Lincoln fought successfully to end slavery. He gets credit for that, but....THIS CONVERSATION IS NOT ABOUT STATUES, IT IS ABOUT RACISM, ANTISEMITISM AND TERRORISM COMMITTED IN THE NAME OF THOSE TWISTED IDEOLOGIES. IDEOLOGIES APPARENTLY SHARED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. That is the real point here. Trump is a Nazi PERIOD He is also completely ignorant of history, but that is a whole 'nother story.

  • In reply to Bob Abrams:

    Interesting that James Murdoch just made a $1 million donation to the ADL. He recognized what you said, but if the viewers of his News Channel find out, he's going to lose the rest of his viewership, who I think are not interested in watching Eboni K. Williams. In fact, some of the viewership is sending her death threats, according to sources on Google News.

  • Jack, I've deleted the paragraph in which you try, again, to read my mind in order to set up a straw man to be easily knocked down. This ends now.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    So tell us what is your position on the point, since you left evidence that you deleted it? Do you concur with Bob Abrams?

    For that matter why don't you tell us what motivated your Holocaust post, which itself was fine, but then let Chef and Jill Marie hijack it by throwing in illiberal bias and you approving of it by your responses?

    Nothing incivil in asking tor those clarifications.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    I agree. If you are not up to answering Jack, what is your answer to Bob Abrams?

  • In reply to jnorto:

    As Paul Simon once sung, suddenly, "The Sound of Silence."

  • Dennis, I want to thank you for always being so consistent in your thoughts. I have been following your writings for more than two decades and you are by far one of the most brilliant writers ever! It is unfortunate that so few understand your point of view and direction. Are we to believe that all of our history, which includes details and dates of slavery, wars, etc., will eventually disappear from our sight because a few wish it so? Books, statues, etc., nothing will matter anymore? It's as if we never existed! Of course, that would leave no reason for the phrase BLM, the words racism, protests, fighting, destroying public and private property, KKK, Panthers, etc., to exist any longer. On one hand, it's a good thing, no one would have a right to complain about anything, but then again, in order to make this real, we would have to start the world over again and destroy humans and every mistake man has ever made! That wouldn't leave too many people on this planet because everyone is guilty for contributing to this destruction! And what would guarantee that it wouldn't happen again? I know this is quite a stretch, but just trying to say the whole thing is nonsense and arguing about it is even more ridiculous! This country is a mess right now and many are standing in the way of allowing it to be repaired by willing people namely, Trump and his team, who wish to create a better nation for all of us. I say, step out of the way and give the elected leaders a chance to lead!

  • In reply to healthylooker:

    If you've been reading Mr. Byrne so faithfully, you would know he is no fan of Mr. Trump.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    ???????

  • In reply to healthylooker:

    After pulling his teeth for about 3 months, Byrne finally admitted that he voted for a write-in candidate. That was after a series of posts where he alternately dumped on Hillary and Trump.

    However, a whole lot of his views are congruent with Trump's, such as "doubt" with regard to climate change and this instant post. Hence, AW may be making a distinction without a difference, not that I want to cross him.

    Good question though, healthylooker.

  • In reply to healthylooker:

    "This country is a mess right now and many are standing in the way of allowing it to be repaired by willing people namely, Trump and his team, who wish to create a better nation for all of us."

    Besides your last sentence being subject to debate, he proved in the health care fiasco that he doesn't have a plan. He actually doesn't have an infrastructure plan, either. His wall is not getting built and Mexico isn't paying for it. In short, there is nothing to stand in the way of, at least as far as Trump having anything to clean up the mess.

  • In reply to jack:

    Just wondering why everyone is on this site and commenting if everyone is satisfied? Unless of course, this is just the complaint line?

  • In reply to healthylooker:

    Is the issue that members of the old right, or the alt- right think they are immune from criticism or even ratonal analysis? I don't think so. But maybe you should ask Dennis why he has a comment board open. Especially now that he shrinks from it. From what I can tell, neither Trump fans nor people in the middle or left go for his brand of neo-Conservativsm.

    Maybe you can let us know if Breitbart has comment board that welcomes people who do not believe in Bannon's and Milo's philosophy.

  • Perhaps, it should be noted that General Grant has great respect for General Lee despite the fact he was a rebel with an ignoble cause.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    "had" of course.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    I'm certain that somewhere in your ancestry, all families, including yours have helped in aiding those Generals! I think you would be shocked to find the true answers! Just saying :(((

  • In reply to healthylooker:

    No, my ancestors came here in the 19teens or 1946. Only place my father fought was in the back lines of the European theatre in WWII.

    In fact, it is more likely you have ancestors who came over on a slave ship from West Africa. Have you taken the ancestry DNA test Maury hawks at the end of the show? It is accepted that either Thomas Jefferson or his brother banged Sally Hemmings in the vicinity of Charlottesville.

  • In reply to jack:

    Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if many of my ancestors contributed to many forms of destructions throughout the world as many were German, some Jews, Norwegians, Swedish, Danish, and Dutch. I haven't actually traced back that far, but I assure you that some probably had a hand in evil destruction! As for me, I can't change what mistakes my family may have done, but I can't change the fact that I am still a part of them. The difference is...I don't have to live or behave in the ways they may have! And you?

  • In reply to healthylooker:

    I don't know if any of your ancestors was Hagar the Horrible, but mine weren't. I don't know if your German ancestors begat Hitlerjunge, but Germany, maybe as a result of defeat, has repudiated them, prosecuted them, and has strict laws on hate.Most Eastern block countries have pulled down their Stalin statues, and the first thing that went down in Iraq was a Sadaam statue.

    "I don't have to live or behave in the ways they may have!" As seems well documented, Robert E. Lee would not have approved of the acts in which his name was taken in vain by the Nazis and other hater elements of the right.

    So, personally, I don't see where you are going. Maybe you can explain.

  • In reply to jack:

    I really do not know who my ancestors were. I've heard some horrifying stories such as some were Czars etc., but I'm sure some persecuted others and others were persecuted. And regardless of what other countries do, take down statues, burn books, etc., we utilize our freedoms here in the United States to voice them whether we are a sculptor, painter, poet, literary genius, musician, scientist, etc. If it was noteworthy at the time of its origin, those who honored it, allowed it! I can guarantee all of our family members living in the US at the time the statues were erected did not oppose them. The big question is, Why now? What is next? Are you telling me that the US population just awoke from a sound sleep? I think not. I believe its people who turn over cars after a NFL, NBA, championship game as they have in Chicago, and other cities throughout the US. People follow the "excitement" and jump in regardless of next day buyers remorse. Society already glorifies athletes who do wrong, people allow their children to watch violence on television, play video games, which society allows into the mainstream, and the crazy mindless music, which is foul and destructive. Who allowed the books of history during our time into our public and private schools? Who is to blame for this? Where were our families then? Our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents....were they all sleeping? History is history. We learn from the good and the evil. Some contribute more to one side than the other. Blame is not an option here. We live, learn and move on. How does one teach a child what the difference between hot and cold is less touching it. We look back in horror with art and reflect on how life was depicted through an artists eyes. Sometimes with pleasure, sometimes terrified of times that were. We look back in horror to read of the destructions of the world since the beginning of man. Are we "glorifying" history and facts because we publish them in a book that we allow ourselves to indulge? Life is life. We are a part of this world TODAY. no one has the right to destroy property, to tear down statues, destroy books, paintings, etc. That's communism. I don't wish for it, do you? I wish our children to have fruitful lives without hate, crime, destruction and killing. A better world starts within each individual person, not making the world disappear!

  • In reply to healthylooker:

    1. I noted about 30 comments ago that I personally didn't have much of an opinion about the statues themselves. But I also noted in the "Who's at fault" post that the current Nazis don't have any interest in art, and in my reference to that there were few Jews in the U.S. in 1866, no interest in Robert E. Lee or those who sculpted that statue.
    2. Many of the reports say that the removals are to take them to museums so they can be explained in context. For instance, there was the debate whether the Balbo statue is just a gift from Mussolini, or Balbo wasn't such a bad fascist as the rest of them. Let the Italian museum explain it.
    3. I don't think anyone is suggesting an ISIL demolition of Palmyra, at least nobody on the left is, if that's what you are suggesting.
    4. I still don't get your ancestors' point.

  • In reply to healthylooker:

    Maybe you do have 2 ancestors' points:
    1. Sarah Silverman, who also traced her ancestry back to Russia, said she had some mongol rapist in her, not that her great grandmother would appreciate making a joke about it.
    2. Friedrich Drumpf ran a luxurious whorehouse in British Columbia, and his German principality wouldn't let him come back because he was a tax dodger. His grandson--not much different.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack, I'm certain that all of yours and everyone else's "knowledge" has come from text books or media sources. Good for you. Does anyone have any thoughts of their "own"? All these postings and every other outcry comes from somewhere but not within. Doesn't that bother you or others? I do have a problem with the idea of "free thinking". Thoughts that are validated from within not without. Life is life and we can't change what history was but we can change how it will evolve. We learn from the past. Life is only as complicated as we will allow it to be! Those are my final words.

  • In reply to jack:

    @healthylooker: I'm still not getting where you come from. They say there is no wrong opinion, but an opinion has to be based on fact. Other than that is hallucination.I think I can have s*x with some woman of my imagination, but other than masturbation or in my dreams during sleep, it ain't gonna happen.

    And if you are talking about posts, it would be preferable if Chef's came from hallucination than alt right sources he mimics.

    On what I rely is my understanding of the facts and my analysis of them. Unlike someone, I admit when I am wrong.

  • In reply to healthylooker:

    Healthylooker, I probably have some of the same ancestors you have. They were who they were and I cannot change that for better or worse. But, I am certainly not interested in building or maintaining monument to them.

  • After proposed tearing down more monuments, I suppose our biggest question now would be, how will we begin re-writing all our history text books, television, poetry and literature, etc., and who will be "chosen" to write these pages? We must stay consistent! I guess we will have to begin the world again? And additionally, what and who will be allowed to be included?

  • In reply to healthylooker:

    Fear not. You will still be able to read books. And you can still build monuments to traitors on your own property, although it is likely to cause a decline in property value.

  • In reply to healthylooker:

    Also, nobody has sanitized the Internet, as people like Chef prove every day. Bannon's going back to Breitbart, so his acolytes get a voice again, even though he threw the clowns under the bus the other day, knowing that his resignation was on the table..

    But a jnorto indicates, the books in the libraries are still there, even though one of the Nazi policies was to burn them. Consider the 1930s ones when you see the current version on Vice News.

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