To those who say that Confederate memorials do not support racism but merely celebrate culture — and that men like Robert E. Lee did good deeds other than their participation in the Civil War — I ask, “Why should we be publicly honoring traitors at all?”
Benedict Arnold was a fine general and a worthy colleague of George Washington until he committed treason by switching sides and working for the British. Lee and others were honorable Americans until they chose to side with those who wanted to destroy the Union. Privately, people can believe what they want. Publicly, traitors to this country deserve no place of honor.
BILL KING, AUSTIN
I think it might be time to see what Robert E. Lee thought about war monuments and memorials.
Lee himself opposed building Confederate monuments or memorials immediately after the war. “I think it wiser,” he said, “not to keep open the sores of war, but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife and to commit to oblivion the feelings it engendered.”
When a Gettysburg memorial association invited Lee to attend a meeting “for the purpose of marking upon the ground by enduring memorials of granite the positions and movements of the armies,” Lee declined.
I read that Lee’s refusal went even further. Rather than raising battlefield memorials, he favored erasing battlefields from the landscape altogether.
Perhaps those who want to “preserve history” should study it more thoroughly.
DALE BULLA, AUSTIN
Re: Aug. 16 article, “Confederate rally set for Austin on heels of Charlottesville outcry.”
I urge the city of Austin to cancel the permit for the Sept. 2 Confederate rally scheduled for Woolridge Square in downtown Austin. (Editor’s note: Organizers say they have moved the date of the rally to Sept. 23.)
Do we, in liberal Austin, want to see videos of whatever happens to be broadcast all over the world? We are “Keep Austin Weird in 2017,” not the world of Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind.” There is no place for the kind of scenes that happened in Charlottesville, Va., to be reenacted here. There is no place in Austin for hateful, racist rhetoric and bigotry and the opportunity for violence they may bring.
SUNSHINE WILLIAMS, AUSTIN
Re: Aug. 16 article, “Texas A&M could be on thin ice in cancelling white nationalist rally.”
Texas A&M University’s recent cancellation of a white supremacist rally set for Sept. 11 is an affront to free speech.
A&M is a public institution — and as such should allow forum for public speech and debate, no matter the content. Hate speech, no matter how deplorable, isn’t a violation of the First Amendment and shouldn’t be.
Free speech is an important and sacred institution. As such, we must defend it consistently, not solely when it is convenient. A&M shouldn’t let hate speech be the beginning of the end for free speech.
ANDREW MAUGHAN, AUSTIN
I was shocked to see protesters knocking down old Confederate statues in some of our southern states.
Even though our history is not perfect, we can learn from our past mistakes. To me, the protesters were no different than the people who were caught up with the “book-burning” craze that occurred in Germany of the 1930s. As far as I am concerned, the protesters who knocked down the statues should be arrested and fined for their behavior. The protesters can raise their objections but leave the books and statues alone. There is a word we need to learn: respect. Let’s respect our past and learn from it.
VANCE BRADFORD, GIDDINGS
I have some recommendations for the new name for Robert E. Lee Road:
• Wussy Way
• Alt-Left Bullyvard
• Safe Place
Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, George Washington, Thomas Rusk, James Fanin, Stephen F. Austin, William B. Travis and most of our early leaders did not believe in the social and political equality of other races. Of these, Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson are considered the founders of the Democratic Party.
Does the City Council run for cover and rename a street whenever criminal vandals deface the street signs?
Are Fannin and Rusk streets next on the sign-change menu? Surely Austinites can no longer bear to live in a county named Travis and in a city called “Austin.” These people fought to create a severe enslaved republic.
EDWARD DYKES, LA GRANGE