Just Destroy Every Statue and Monument Ever Erected. Problem Solved?

A campaign has been sweeping across the United States to literally erase reminders of the days when the Confederate States of America formed after Abraham Lincoln — who was opposed to slavery — was elected the 16th president of the United States in November of 1860.

Just Destroy Every Statue and Monument Ever Erected. Problem Solved?

A statue of Robert Edward Lee mounted on his horse Traveller was commissioned in 1917 and was commemorated in 1924 in Charlottesville; but the vice mayor of the city in Virginia called upon the city council for the removal of the statue, as Robert E. Lee was a general for the army of the Confederate States of America, which is considered offensive to people such as descendants of those who were slaves.

A protest — which was called the Unite the Right rally — opposed to the removal of the statue became violent and resulted in the death of one woman and left 19 other people injured on Saturday, August 12, 2017.

That incident was key in accelerating the movement to remove statues and monuments throughout the United States.

John Oliver of Last Week Tonight on HBO discussed this issue in this video.

Who — or What — is Next After Christopher Columbus?

“In the wake of the Charlottesville incident, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio commissioned a 90-day review of all the statues in the city”, according to this article written by Mark Osborne of Good Morning America on ABC News pertaining to the removal of statues and monuments erected in honor of Christopher Columbus. “The Columbus controversy has been most prominent in New York City, where a 76-foot tall statue of the Italian explorer rises over Columbus Circle at the southwest corner of Central Park. The monument, designed by Italian sculptor Gaetano Russo, was officially unveiled in October 1892.”

Although Columbus Circle is not the most popular tourist attraction in New York, this expands a dangerous precedent of attempting to erase history.

Statue of Liberty

Photograph ©2007 by Brian Cohen.

Perhaps the Statue of Liberty is next for removal for any crimes committed by French people, as France gave the statue to the United States as a gift?

Washington Monument

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Can we uncover some nefarious information about George Washington so that we may tear down the Washington Monument and move on ahead with establishing the state of Jefferson — unless we uncover some torrid dirt about Thomas Jefferson or George and Louise Jefferson?

Auschwitz-Birkenau

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Even former concentration camps are not immune from this craziness. Marek Olszewski was fired from his role as the head of the Polish Tourist Organization after he allegedly told the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper that Auschwitz did not promote Poland as an attractive tourist destination: “Auschwitz is not a tourist product but a place of martyrology, reverie and reflection, and we are promoting Poland as an attractive tourist destination”, according to this article written by Rosa Doherty for The Jewish Chronicle. “I do not need to expose places and events connected with the history of other nations.”

We should just destroy every statue and monument ever erected. This way, all of our problems will be solved and everyone will be happy…

…and why stop at statues and monuments? Let us remove and erase any physical depiction or reminder of history itself so that no one will ever be offended ever again.

By the way: who is supposed to pay for the removal of all of these statues and monuments?

Summary

Travel is not about just having fun. An important part of travel is about learning about the history of other cultures. Imagine no statue of Christopher Columbus at Columbus Circle in New York…

Arc de Triomphe Paris

Photograph ©2008 by Brian Cohen.

…no Arc de Triomphe in Paris…

Granite Monument of Victory Victory Square Minsk

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

…no Granite Monument of Victory at Victory Square in Minsk…

Fortress Walls of Intramuros in Manila

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

…no Fortress Walls of Intramuros in Manila

Nelson Mandela Sandton South Africa

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

…or no statue of Nelson Mandela in Sandton in South Africa.

Although I personally do not agree with erecting statues and monuments to honor people — the naming of airports after people even if there was a Brian Cohen International Airport is ridiculous, in my opinion — I do believe that we need to learn and remember significant moments and locations in history from which we should learn so that we can advance as a civilization and do not repeat mistakes from the past.

I understand those who oppose such statues and monuments do not want to glorify what they consider dark moments in history. I agree with that; but not to the point of dismantling any memory of those moments…

Stone Mountain Park

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

…such as with the campaign to remove the carving on the face of Stone Mountain in Georgia. Rather, leave them alone for all to see — with the provision that an explanation presenting the unbiased facts in historical context pertaining to that statue or monument be clearly present so that those who observe them can learn from them.

George Santayana — who was a Spanish philosopher also known as Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás — is quoted on a plaque at the Auschwitz concentration camp as saying “The one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again”; and a variant of that aphorism was repeated by Winston Churchill in the form of “Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”

We need to stop being so sensitive and overly politically correct to what are considered offensive reminders of an unpleasant past and learn from them. That would go a long way towards tolerance, peace and a greater understanding for each other; create educational opportunities for generations to come; and result in travel becoming even more significant, rewarding and satisfying.

All photographs ©2008, ©2014, ©2015 and ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

68 thoughts on “Just Destroy Every Statue and Monument Ever Erected. Problem Solved?”

  1. NS says:

    Hi Brian,
    before it gets nice and toasty here, i wanted to put my two cents. history is not same as appreciation. A person worthy of being put on a pedestal should have acceptance in that community that’s honoring him. I got a mail which puts this nicely “We do not choose our history, but we choose what we honor and celebrate on our campus”. Statue on a pedestal at heroic pose does honor a person, its the decision of the community whether they should honor him/her or not.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I like your thought process, NS — and I agree: history is not the same as appreciation.

      The problem is that one can argue — whether or not you and I agree — that at the time it was erected, the person was considered worthy of being put on a pedestal and had acceptance in the community honoring him or her…

      …so how do we know that any statues or monuments erected in recent history are honoring people whom we may find out later on that they in fact did not deserve the honor?

      1. NS says:

        bill cosby statues; http://money.cnn.com/2015/07/08/news/companies/bill-cosby-disney-world-statue/index.html
        see no biggie as we accept that he is no more the person we thought him to be. I guess, one side does not see/chose not to see the fact that some of their heros are no longer considered heros whereas the other side is probably pushing it too hard without creating the proper ground work for people other than Gen. Lee. (i am not an american, so my knowledge is rather superficial on this).

        1. Brian Cohen says:

          That is a good example, NS. I did not know about that statue. Wow.

          At one time, Bill Cosby was euphemistically and widely thought to be “America’s Dad.” Now the mere mention of his name sickens many people.

          While I appreciate the notable works of people — and regardless of the despicable acts of which he is accused of perpetrating, Bill Cosby has indeed performed notable work in his career over the years — I have never idolized anyone…

          …which is why I am generally against honoring people with statues, monuments, airports, highways and other things. Nobody is perfect; and you never know what might be hiding in someone’s closet…

      2. Allen says:

        Yes, But as you saw in the John Oliver clip, the statues were erected long after the Civil War and were used as a means to remind minority groups to stay in their place.

        1. Brian Cohen says:

          That is correct, Allen — and you just reminded me of something.

          I am originally from New York and currently based in the state of Georgia. In 2001, the flag was changed because the current flag at that time incorporated the Confederate flag.

          I was initially opposed to that change because I mistakenly thought that that flag design had been around at least since the 19th century — until I found out that the flag with the Confederate symbol was adopted in 1956 and realized the reasons why. Although I was not thrilled with the new design of the flag in 2001, I definitely believed that a change was needed.

          When the state of Georgia adopted the current flag design in 2003, I was happy about it because it resembled and evoked the design of the first official flag of Georgia which was adopted in 1879 — while simultaneously incorporating the design of the first unofficial flag prior to 1879 as well — properly reflecting the history of the state…

          …so with regard to the removal of Confederate statues and monuments which were erected long after the Civil War for the specific purpose of “reminding minority groups to stay in their place”, I must agree, as they were not placed in the proper historical context.

  2. Brooks says:

    Why note move them to a museum so we don’t forget the history and in fact teach the context of the pieces? Monuments should reflect our values; museums should reflect our history.

    1. Brendan Keating says:

      strongly agree – they should be put in a museum and the next generation can put it in perspective. a lot of these statuses were put up in troubling times – mostly as a sign to African Americans to not get too comfortable with their newly found rights.

      1. Brian Cohen says:

        You are absolutely correct about the intent of erecting those statues and monuments, Brendan Keating

        …but as much as many people revile them, they have also had the positive effect of bringing about awareness, discussion and conversation — something that may not be as effective if everything were stored in a museum somewhere…

    2. Brian Cohen says:

      You have a good point with which I do not disagree, Brooks; but what do we do with the carving on the face of Stone Mountain, for example?

  3. Wtf@wtf.com says:

    Please stick to travel blogging. Don’t use your blog as your personal pulpit for opinions

  4. B says:

    Little surprising to find that a well travelled blogger is sympathetic to having monuments glorifying out racist past staying put.

  5. augias says:

    You may find museums about the Nazis and the Holocaust in Germany, but no statues of Hitler- clearly there are some persons in history who are off-limits, and it is possible to remember without celebrating bad people.
    Should there be statues of Columbus? He did not own slaves so the case for the removal of his statues is weaker than for the removal of Washington’s or Jefferson’s. I never quite understood the extreme opposition to Columbus. Just erect other monuments celebrating the indigenous people who were already here in America.
    Ironically, Lee did not own slaves, nor did he endorse slavery. To call him a traitor while celebrating Washington is the height of hypocrisy. He was merely a general.
    Jefferson Davis on the other hand was quite a monster, and wrote a long autobiography aggressively defending slavery. Suggested reading for anyone claiming that secession was not about slavery — as he writes quite the opposite.
    Want to remember history and the civil war? Open a museum and put the statues there, and put up people we can be proud of. They don’t have to be saints (nobody is perfect) – but is it too much to ask that they didn’t commit murder or own other people like cattle? I think not.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      You have presented some cogent points with which I mostly agree, augias. Thank you for a civil, thoughtful and reasoned reply.

      I can understand why people object to Christopher Columbus, as he was one of the explorers who opened up the new world to foreigners who came to North America and abused and mistreated the native people who lived on this continent — as well as took their land from them — but I wonder how many people who visit or pass through Columbus Circle in Manhattan stop to glorify Christopher Columbus?

      The ancestors of most people who currently live in the United States did not come from North America. Do we pack up and return to where our ancestors came from after we tear down the statues and monuments of Christopher Columbus? If not, would that be a blatant form of hypocrisy? Would the world be better off today if that history never occurred?

      As for placing statues and monuments in museums, I am certainly not against that idea at all — but will that realistically resolve anything?

      1. Chris says:

        This might explain some of the disdain for Columbus versus other explorers.

        http://theoatmeal.com/comics/columbus_day

        1. Brian Cohen says:

          That was quite a disturbing read, Chris.

          Thank you for sharing that link.

          1. Chris says:

            Much like the confederate statues were pushed by white supremacist / historical denying organizations, Columbus celebrations are pushed by organizations that gloss over the truth and push myths.

          2. Brian Cohen says:

            One has to wonder how many other examples of misrepresented history exist, Chris

    2. Jim Warren says:

      I like your comments, very thoughtful, though America has no indigenous people, only people that arrived here earlier than others.

  6. Mike says:

    Yikes. Did you watch the John Oliver video you linked to? The whole point was that taking down statues does not mean we are erasing history. We’re erasing the glorification of the worst parts of our history.

    Also, geez, man. You’re comparing the leaders of a movement designed to maintain slavery to Nelson Mandela? That seems like…quite a stretch.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Many people would think that Nelson Mandela is at the opposite end of the spectrum when compared to the leaders of the Confederate States of America, Mike; and I would of course agree with that.

      With Christopher Columbus now being considered for removal, my point is how far should we go in terms of removing monuments and statues. Who is next? Where do we draw the line through that spectrum?

      As I said in the article, “I personally do not agree with erecting statues and monuments to honor people” simply because not everyone is going to agree on who is a hero and who is an evil person.

      As for the John Oliver video, yes — I did watch it. I agree with erasing the glorification of people who do not deserve it — but again, how far do we go?

      1. Mike says:

        Re: How far do we go? Please watch the video “again” starting at 16:30, he basically answers the question you are asking.

  7. Vicente says:

    Nobody learns any history by walking past a pigeon target.

    Do you miss the Berlin Wall too? Yeah that’s in the dustbin, but there are multiple ways for you to learn about it.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I sure would have liked to have been there when the Berlin Wall was torn down, Vicente; but unlike mere statues or monuments, the Berlin Wall physically separated a country and its people.

  8. ??? says:

    You just lost a reader. Think about your post a little further before posting next time.

  9. Glenn says:

    Christ. I guess I’ve been occasionally reading the travel log of a racist right wing nutcase by mistake for a while now. Sorry, didn’t realize I’d waded into the wrong side of the pool.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      You could not be more wrong about me as a person, Glenn.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      No, Gordon.

  10. MikeL says:

    I can’t believe I read this on one of my favorite travel blog. You are entitled to post any of your bigoted opinions on your blog and I am entitled to contribute my click count somewhere else.

    BTW, I’m not even trying to start posing the holes in the logic in your post.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I truly and seriously appreciate the comment about The Gate being one of your favorite travel blogs, MikeL; but if you believe that my opinions are bigoted, then perhaps I have not presented my point clearly enough.

      Also important to note that when I write an article — especially a controversial one — it is never with the intent of “this is what I think and that is it.” Rather, it is to invite civil discourse, as I always learn from readers of The Gate

      …so I welcome — and encourage — your posting holes in the logic of the article.

  11. Andy says:

    Brian seriously??

    A jewsish man clearly taking the right wing, even “alt-right” stance on the whole Charlottesville ignited debate?

    Did you vote for Trump perhaps? Your politically correct reference suggests maybe. Let me guess… Clinton is crooked or something like that?

    Or do you just luurve being the devils advocate, perhaps cos it makes you look smart and different?

    You brought it all up, got the balls to honestly reply? I think I’ve been relatively civil also?

    Cheers

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I did not — and never would — vote for Donald Trump for president, Andy.

      I did not — and never would — vote for Hillary Clinton for president, either.

      In my opinion, those two qualify for the title of the worst two choices in American history; and I love Democrats as much as I love Republicans — sarcasm alert here — but I digress.

      Let us forget Charlottesville for a moment: as I attempted to clarify in the article, I would be vehemently against the dismantling of Auschwitz, Dachau or any other concentration camp — despite the unthinkable atrocities of what happened at those places. Those concentration camps could have been dismantled, with remnants stored in a museum somewhere; but a better idea occurred: the concentration camps became museums themselves. Despite that, I would not be the least bit surprised if Nazi sympathizers glorified those former concentration camps and the people who committed those atrocities; but I still believe that it is crucially important to keep history alive — regardless of how uncomfortable it may be to discuss or even think about — lest we are doomed to repeat it again.

      Now back to Charlottesville: I believe that education pertaining to the history of the Confederate States of America has improved over the years; and it could certainly stand to continue to improve. I view the statues and monuments as a reminder of what happened during the days before and during the Civil War and not as a means of glorifying the horrific treatment of slaves — nor do I condone in any way, shape or form white supremacy.

      While I am not against moving those statues and monuments into a museum somewhere, could that indirectly serve as an example of “out of sight, out of mind”?

      You have been completely civil, Andy; and I appreciate that — but one last thing: I am the last person in the world who considers myself smart…

      1. Jig says:

        Brian,

        Others have already pointed out that monuments are for glorification, museums are for history. Therefore, removing monuments that no longer reflect a community’s highest values is logically consistent. Monuments that glorify people whose major social contribution involved defense of slavery or racism or genocide therefore qualify for removal. There is no danger of their history being erased, there are large amounts of research and documentation (including in museums) for almost all such episodes.

        You repeatedly resist such actions on the basis of “where do we stop?” The logic above (and again, already pointed out by others) says we remove those whose major contribution involved violating human rights or destroying our environment. So, under current highest values, we remove Hitler statues and keep Mandela statues. Certainly, such logic would suggest many prominent national leaders over history are not worthy of monuments, as they were involved in initiating or sustaining horrific acts of war or destruction. One can debate whether a person’s contributions net out to worthy for glorification. But historical relevance can be maintained in a museum, does not need to be glorified on a monument.

        Although you have usually struck me as logical, your resistance to this straightforward logic strikes me as false equivalence. Similarly, equating Trump and Clinton is false equivalence. Although I am not fond of the Clintons’ corrupt tendencies, they don’t exceed the norm for US politicians in any significant way. Trump adds encouragement of racism, sexism, authoritarianism, nepotism and scientific ignorance to his own corruption. As such, he damages society far more than run of the mill politicians. The willingness of Republican politicians to publicly embrace such methods in 2017 in service of their rich donor base is not new (since Goldwater), but outrageous just the same.

        I hope you reconsider your position as you go through the logic presented by many here.

        1. Brian Cohen says:

          Many of the thoughts I expressed were not of a staunch position of mine, Jig; but rather in the forms of questions designed to promote discussion. I am not trying to resist anything — I am simply asking questions and always consider and reconsider ideas when expressed in a logical and thoughtful manner in response to questions which I raise. I like when people express different viewpoints pertaining to an issue — as difficult as it may be to discuss — and I usually learn from that as a result.

          I have repeatedly mentioned in the Comments that I am not opposed to moving statues and monuments to museums primarily based on positions such as yours which are quite thoughtful and logical; but as a society, we generally tend to overcorrect from one side to another — politics is an excellent example of that — and I was simply wondering if we may go too far.

          As with everyone else who has opined, I understand and agree — and have said so in the article — against the glorification of questionable people of history.

          There is one positive thing about Donald Trump, in my opinion: his words and actions have led to people in the United States to speaking out more and become more involved with wanting to be a part of the future direction of this country; and I hope that that leads to everyone becoming more aware of the issues we need to face and attempt to resolve them together as equitably as possible.

          Here is another question I will put forth: let us say that all of the Confederate statues and monuments are now in museums; and the same has happened with those of Christopher Columbus. Has the United States become a better place in which to live and visit? What do we do next?

          1. Chris says:

            It would be better for the people of color who have to walk past these monuments of defenders of slavery or go to schools named after traitors and white supremecists.

          2. Brian Cohen says:

            I do not disagree with you, Chris.

  12. Andy says:

    Well we agree on one thing then.

    If you’re not smart enough to see the glaring difference between Clinton and Trump, and have the basic humanity/ intelligence to stop an unprepared psychopath gaining nuclear codes by voting with your brain, then…. well, you said it.

    And to attempt a justification EVEN now after the rollercoaster of embarrassing disgraces is beyond reprehensible. Even mention Clinton in the same universe as Trump now to me IMHO is a travesty and a testament to why your country will almost certainly be ripped apart.

    I won’t read your blog again. Can’t do it, you lost me (not that either of us care of course)

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I do care if I lose you as a reader, Andy; but I am simply not passionate about politics.

      By the way, I was born and raised in New York. If someone told me back then that Donald Trump would be president one day, I would have been in sheer disbelief…

      …but although I hope that you do return, if you are not going to read The Gate again, I suppose you will not read this comment anyway…

    2. Rick says:

      Who are you to tell anyone who to vote for? How about you go crawl back under whatever rock you came from?

  13. DaninMCI says:

    Good post. I think we have grown to be much too sensitive. I have ancestors who died fighting for the South innthe civil war. I dislike slavery and racism. I think that we should leave history alone. Not propgandise it or try to erase it. It is part of what makes up the fabric of our country good or bad.
    As it relates to travel i have been to places like the Eagles Nest in Bavaria or the concentration camps in Europe. I dont celebrate those but it does help me learn and teach my kids what happened and what was wrong about those times.
    Rick Steves has a favorite saying “one persons terrorist is another persons freedom fighter”. It think it holds very true in this situation.
    I also think much of the sensationalized media driven blind hatred that we see today is much more damaging than a statue of some old dead person.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Thank you, DaninMCI.

      One comment I have is that sensationalized media is not the only culprit which drives blind hatred; but also the ease of anyone with an Internet connection to spew forth that blind hatred globally — from web sites to comments sections in places such as Yahoo to videos on YouTube to social media.

      The good news is that those are also vehicles which spread thoughtful and positive ideas globally as well…

  14. SadStateofOurCountry says:

    I don’t see any statues of Hitler lingering around in Europe, or Saddan Hussain’s in Iraq. The memorials left are not to honor them but to remind us not to let history happen again, and they are not found in front of schools or government buildings.

    As a matter of fact, if has always been a symbolic event to topple these whenever a war is won.

    Based on your rationale, there would be nothing wrong in having these honored.

    The south, just like Nazis, were on the wrong side of human history. Both are losers and should be treated the same way.

    Their only flag is the white flag, and had it been a foreign enemy, there would be nothing left to honor them in this country (as it should be regardless of whether domestic or foreign enemy).

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I must correct you on one thought, SadStateofOurCountry: I never stated that any statue or monument should be honored by anyone.

  15. Brian S says:

    I think if your side includes people carrying the Nazi flag you may want to reconsider what side you are on.

    How about we leave the statues up but we add toilet seats over them? That way both sides can honor the men who fought for the systematic torture and rape of a group of people in a manner each sees fit.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Why stop at toilet seats, Brian S?

      How about actual functional toilets? This way, public toilets would be available for those would like to use them while the statues and monuments would remain.

      Of course, I am only attempting to include levity into this discussion…

  16. Kevin says:

    Ahh the “Where does it stop?” idiocy.

    I guess you didn’t comprehend the extremely clear and simple John Oliver. video you embedded.

    You start spouting that fallacy literally the next sentence after the embed! Please grow up.

  17. Phil says:

    I rarely read your blog, but your headline caught my eye. I commend you for doing something different, you have a platform that you built up and it is your right to voice an opinion there. The easier choice would have been to write about the A350 routes or some crap Amex offer.

    I read every comment and it is always amazing to me how many people come out of the woodwork to tell someone else they are wrong, or that they aren’t staying in their preverbal lane. You almost took the one reader’s bait to come into the voting debate, I’m guessing you are a Bernie Bro. Maybe you are even that guy on the BQE with his two huge Bernie posters outside still… Ok, don’t take that bait either.

    It’s your platform it’s your “Gate” so until Randy tells you only to write about travel that is not controversial, I say keep on keeping on.

    **I probably won’t ever comment here again so one question: What is the deal with using your giant face as the logo and did you get your brows done right before?**

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I was waiting for the inevitable comment pertaining to my photograph, Phil. I wanted to use it to show that I am not afraid to put a face on what I write and that I take responsibility for what I write, as I am not cloaked in anonymity as are some other writers.

      What amazes me is the need of people to classify others into some category. I am not a “Bernie Bro” or a Trump supporter or a Clinton supporter. Rather, I believe in the embracing, questioning and processing of thoughts and ideas towards implementing them into solutions which are equitable to as many people as possible — and that can often be difficult to do.

      I appreciate your thoughts, Phil; and I must admit that I got a chuckle out of this line: “The easier choice would have been to write about the A350 routes or some crap Amex offer.” Amen.

      Wait a minute — there is someone on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway with two huge posters of Bernie Sanders?!?

      1. phil says:

        I have to say good job for responding to pretty much everyone, and while I’m sure you lost some readers, who cares.

        I tried to find the Bernie house on the BQE on Google maps but couldn’t however, I have to go down to Red Hook tomorrow I will try and snap a pic and tweet it to you.

        As for the face logo comment, that’s a pretty good reason but I would have gone with an about me pinned post or something. You did leave me hanging if you really did get your eyebrows done just before the pic, I feel like you did.

        1. Brian Cohen says:

          I appreciate the comments, phil. Thank you.

          I am not sure what you mean by having my eyebrows done — but other than maybe rubbing them prior to the photograph being taken, I did not have anything done to them.

          Please let me know if you have taken the photograph of the Bernie house on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. I remember being stuck in traffic at 3:00 in the morning on that highway, which I have been on countless times…

  18. AlohaDaveKennedy says:

    Meh – why stop with the confederate statues when America has a history of pulling down the statue of kings. As far back as July 9, 1776 Americans pulled down statues kings, starting with a statue of King George III in New York. But why stop there? We have statues of Martin Luther King, King Kong, and even Kingfish Huey Long which some people find oppressive. And why stop with kings when we can topple the statues of emperors like Darth Sidious or the emperor penguins of Madagascar in the Disney parks?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      …or the sculpture of the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen?

      By the way: where is the statue of King Kong located, AlohaDaveKennedy?

  19. Ryan says:

    I pretty much agree with you Brian. And disagree with those who are calling you racist, etc. as many years of reading your posts here and on FT assure anyone that is not the case…the ad hominem attacks just highlight the lack of ability of those posters to defend their positions in a rational and articulate manner.

    My family is from the north and I am of mixed race with Caucasian, Powhatan, and Cherokee making up most of my ancestry. My uncle died in D-Day and my grandfather participated in the liberation of Dachau – and frequently spoke with us on the horrors of the Nazis and WW II. So I have no allegiance to, or love for, the Confederacy, or Columbus, or the Nazis.

    But removing statues and monuments that do exist is short sighted. They’re part of our history, right and wrong, and reflect the people who erected them at the time and their viewpoints. One day some people will consider some of our 2017 viewpoints as “backward”.

    By the logic of the statue iconoclasts, we should remove and burn all United States flags. After all, it was Old Glory that flew for decades over the legal institution of slavery…and for another 100 years over a country with Jim Crow laws, etc.

    Perhaps the statue iconoclasts could instead focus their energy on erecting monuments to leaders who are in contrast to the historical figures that they find offensive. Or educational efforts that use such monuments as a starting point for discussion and enlightenment.

    Columbus was a brutal man and his arrival ushered in centuries of conflict, but it was a turning point in history. Yet rather than bulldozing Columbus Circle, erect a monument to the Vikings – who were the first Europeans to arrive in North America – somewhere. And some more monuments to Native American leaders from history.

    We’ve become too hyper-sensitive. The existence of a historical statue doesn’t necessarily equate to endorsement of every thing that person said or did.

    Moreover, I strongly feel that any decisions to remove a monument should be left to the residents of whatever entity has purview over it. For example if the statue belongs to a town, then it’s only the business of the citizens of that town…or of that county or state, as the case may be. Out-of-state activists have no right to meddle in the matter.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Your thoughts are so well articulated that I cannot add to them, Ryan.

      I truly appreciate you posting them here. Thank you.

  20. Adam says:

    The fact that some are calling out Brian for having a different opinion and threatening not to read his blog is downright pathetic.

    Think exactly the way I do or you’ll be shunned! No wonder this country is so divided at the moment, people can’t even disagree without being so vitriolic.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I am not going to specifically call out readers of The Gate, Adam; but I do believe that is generally one underlying issue in the United States which is dividing the country: people who are so staunch in their points of view who are unwilling to open their minds and consider thoughts and ideas which may be perceived as contrary to their own.

      I prefer to discuss controversial ideas and have my thoughts challenged; for at times, there are few better ways for me to learn about what people are thinking — as well as the reasons why…

  21. Brian says:

    Glad people are realizing that The Gate is a travel blog, with very conservative political opinions mixed in. I’m not going to rehash other points people have made, but honestly your argument is akin to those who oppose gay marriage, by saying what’s next, bestiality?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Point taken, Brian. Thank you.

  22. Fred says:

    The HATERS still NOT satisfy.

  23. Dan says:

    I see the statues and monuments as art. Not as an endorsement but a placeholder in time for that sculptor and era. It lets you have a peak inside to a by gone time. A lot of great art offends yet we don’t destroy or disgrace it. I stand for leaving all monuments up that have been in place. People are just so easily offended, apparently a lot for readers need to go find safe place with white walls. Never mind, anything white would offend them. But if you make it black walls that would be appropriation. You just never know where these people will attack next so why even try to start placating them.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      As an artist who studied and earned an undergraduate degree in one of the top art schools in the world, Dan, I agree.

      I appreciate the carving on the face of Stone Mountain for its aesthetics and not as a way of honoring the three men depicted in the carving — but that is just me…

      …and when I travel: if a statue or monument attracts my attention — and believe me when I say that many of them do not — I appreciate it for its artistic value as well as a way to learn something about the history of that city or country. I do not stand there and “glorify” the person who is the subject of the statue or monument.

      Similarly, I am not what people would consider a religious person; but at times, I enjoy visiting a building of worship to appreciate art and history — even if the religion being worshipped is not one to which I ascribe…

  24. Ben says:

    Hi Brian, It’s amazing how so many people are not content (probably unable to as well) argue a counterpoint or disagree with you in a respectful way. Most people who chant slogans like “tolerance”, “openness”, and “love is love”, unfortunately are usually the most closed minded, slanderous, @ssholes around.

    They are doing what is now universally abhorred: burning witches at the stake and acting as the inquisition. These “tolerant” and “open” and “loving” people verbally and even physically (eg. Antifa) attack people who disagree – “unless you agree with my position and my policies, then you are a racist, misogynistic, bigoted, homophobe”.

    Just as so many people passionately and unthinkingly burned witches and “pagans” at the stake, after heaping on verbal abuse, so will history remember people who stupidly and blindly follow popular slogans instead of thoughtful and useful discourse.

    Case in point: @kevin @brian both say you “idiotically” talk about where to draw the line. But that is precisely the question that must be asked in order to be rational and consistent. Somehow these people (strangely many times even highly educated) are unable to grasp basic logic. There must be a reason and consistent criteria when we make decisions, especially when the government or society as a whole make decisions. Otherwise people will (and do) act arbitrarily and act like autocratic dictators.

    @kevin, @brian, and everyone else who is unable to make a coherent argument – You are the ones who are truly oppressive and small minded, intolerant and bigoted. You are acting in exactly the dictionary definition of these terms!

    Brian, I appreciate your post and how you are calmly and respectfully answering so many unthinking and unloving commenters.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      “Somehow these people (strangely many times even highly educated) are unable to grasp basic logic.”

      To me, that is a key statement of your thoughts, Ben. We as a society tend to complicate things — many times, overly so.

      I try to start with a basic foundation of a topic before tackling its complexity — similar to constructing the foundation of a building before adding such complexities as plumbing and electricity. Alas, thoughts and ideas of the written word in general are easy to misinterpret and quite difficult to clearly communicate.

      Thank you for articulating your comment so thoughtfully, Ben. I truly appreciate it.

  25. Bind Squirrel says:

    Problem Solved?
    ———————–

    Am I the only reader who absorbed this? You posed this as a question, not a directive or declarative. While you may not have been able to appreciate or predict some of the responses you got, clearly, your intent was to invite a dialogue on an obviously very divisive issue.

    Let me just say this, I do not know that anyone who has opined on here, or who inferred from this story what was not intended, knows you better than I do. I’ve worked with you, often side-by-side, for about ten years. We founded a company together. We mentored together. We have gone to baseball games together.

    I have described you as the most ethical person I have ever met. Bar none. If I ever needed a barometer of right vs wrong, you’d be the compass to which I would look. You are not political, just observant and meditative. You are the least offensive person someone could imagine. Out of your mouth, the closest I have heard to profanity is “what the heck?”.

    For those calling you a racist or bigot I scoff with gusto? Brian Cohen? Racist? Surely you jest. And yes, I did call your antagonists surely.

    While I would not have waded into this controversy, I applaud your courage. Clearly, race and many other topics are very raw in this country and seem to be getting worse.

    Would that everyone took as much time to ponder their opinion as you did. We might all be getting along better.

    Blind Squirrel

  26. Hohn Saenz says:

    What, in Gods name, makes this “movement” any different from the Muslim Terrorists who blew up Religious status that were deemed WORLD HERITAGE SITES…
    This is reverting to an errie 1984 where History can be ” supposedly re-writen or reverting to what Stalin did to those who “displeased” him. He had thier images and birth certificates destroyed to show they never lived.
    I say KEEP THE STSTUES. This is evidence of how the Democracy has changed and how the Human condition has struggled to provide for a better future.
    Over a 100,000 Americans (Union and Confederates) died in the struggle for the cause they believed in.
    To deny that simple fact is to revert to IDIOTS that refuse to remember history…meaning we are doomed to repeat the past….Do not keep destroying the memorials

  27. John Saenz says:

    What, in Gods name, makes this “movement” any different from the Muslim Terrorists who blew up Religious status that were deemed WORLD HERITAGE SITES…
    This is reverting to an errie 1984 where History can be ” supposedly re-writen or reverting to what Stalin did to those who “displeased” him. He had thier images and birth certificates destroyed to show they never lived.
    I say KEEP THE STATUES. This is evidence of how the Democracy has changed and how the Human condition has struggled to provide for a better future.
    Over a 100,000 Americans (Union and Confederates) died in the struggle for the cause they believed in.
    To deny that simple fact is to revert to IDIOTS that refuse to remember history…meaning we are doomed to repeat the past….Do not keep destroying the memorials

  28. Sam What Am says:

    Now that we have removed all references to Robert E. Lee, etc. from buildings, streets, monuments etc, we have unleashed millions of Rhodes Scholars to propagate the hallowed halls of Oxford. Just the names were so oppressive that learning was inhibited and the effect on the psyche caused crime to flourish. Glory Glory. Free at last .

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