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Letter: Theres no way to wipe clean all sins of our Founding Fathers
Monument supporters collect their flags before the removal of a Confederate monument to Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard in front of City Park in New Orleans on May 16. Workers in New Orleans took down a Confederate monument to Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard early Wednesday. - photo by Sophia Germer

In his recent letter, Jeff Casper appears to forget slavery was legal and condoned under the government of the United States for almost 100 years. In spite of this, no one has demanded removal of the flag of the United States or statues of founders who also happened to be slave owners.

Casper claims leaders of the Confederacy were not great men. Using his standard, many founders of this country could not be great men either because they were slave owners. You may not agree with the politics of Confederate leaders, but they were certainly great men for the same reason Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were great men. Lest we forget, Washington owned 123 slaves and Jefferson owned over 600. Are you guys going to call for their faces to be chiseled off Mount Rushmore?

No state is perfect, no belligerent in any conflict is faultless, and no man is without sin. History is not a zero-sum game. It was never true that one side of any conflict was perfectly good and virtuous while the other was wholly evil and wicked. Casper apparently views our history through this false prism. He condemns Confederate leaders who acted in good faith to defend their states, communities, homes, and families when he more properly should be condemning terrorism of the KKK.

The demand for removal of Confederate monuments reminds me of cynical prosecutors in Germany who pursue the arrest, extradition and prosecution of doddering 95-year-old men who were at best lowly guards or accountants at Nazi concentration camps during World War II. These men would have been ages 17 to 20 during their military service. They were stripped of U.S. citizenship, extradited and prosecuted in show trials because they served at concentration camps. If those men had served instead at Normandy France, they wouldn’t be subjected to this persecution.

By comparison, consider Wernher von Braun, a member of the Nazi Party and creator of the V-2 missile that killed thousands of British citizens. After the war, the United States erased his Nazi affiliation, whitewashed his past and created for him a false employment history. He was never prosecuted, was given U.S. citizenship and treated like a king because he developed a technology the USA was interested in. Double standard? I think so.

The prosecution of old men who may have served at Nazi concentration camps is intended to divide Germany politically by revisiting and opening old wounds. At this point, it does not serve justice or the greater good to pursue those issues. The same is true of the agenda to remove or destroy every vestige of the Confederacy here in the United States.

I question the motivation behind these acts. I certainly don’t worship the Confederacy or slavery, but demanding removal of every flag, monument, and statue of Confederate leaders is a grave injustice. We must resolve to put this foolish business behind us before those fanatics and provocateurs come for Mount Rushmore and Stone Mountain.

Bruce Vandiver

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