To the Editor:
In her recent letter, Dawn Rodgers laments the loss of historical knowledge resulting from the threatened removal of statues of Confederate heroes and people like Christopher Columbus (whom she admits was brutal towards Native Americans). In a society where some people can’t identify which two countries fought the Mexican-American war, this is a legitimate concern.
However, she then goes on to say that the less savory acts of these historical notables shouldn’t matter because that was all “before our time.” Sorry, but you can’t have it both ways. Either the things that happened in the past are important or they aren’t. If we are to remember the truth about the past, we are obligated to recall the good and the bad, both the heroic and the ignoble.
She also says we aren’t born with hate in our hearts, but are taught to hate. Very true. Yet seldom do you hear adults tell children, “Today I’m going to teach to hate someone.” It is a more subtle process, in which the people we chose to hold up as admirable examples to the youth effect how those youth think. If we say that a certain person was a "hero," and thus it does not matter if they raped, murdered, tortured or robbed whole communities of people, then we are telling children that such things are okay, if done to "others." We should consider carefully whether we want to send that kind of message.
Gary K. Shepherd