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Letter: Parker’s views on monuments, race echo alt-right extremism
Robert E. Lee statue
The statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee still stands in Lee park in Charlottesville, Va., Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. The removal of the statue is in litigation and is at the center of the racial tensions and demonstrations in the town. - photo by Associated Press

Star Parker’s column on Thursday regarding the events in Charlottesville, Va. was in stark contrast to the editorial of The Times on the same subject. Whereas The Times voiced a thoughtful and temperate view of how we might think about what happened last weekend, Parker’s column expressed little more than alt-right extremism.

She contends that the violence in Charlottesville began “with a movement of the left” (Parker actually prefers to call it the “black left”) to remove the statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee; she contends this movement wants to “whitewash” all evidence of the Confederacy and the Civil War from our history. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The political leaders of Charlottesville who initiated the effort to remove the statue of Lee from the center of town are not black leftists, any more than Republican Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina is a black leftist for removing the Confederate flag from the statehouse in Columbia after the murders in the Mother Emmanuel church. The movement to remove these symbols of the Confederacy is a simple recognition that they were erected during the Jim Crow era of the South as statements of white supremacy.

The notion of Parker that there is a movement to whitewash the Confederacy from our national history is ignorant and preposterous. As a matter of fact, the rich history of the Confederacy can be experienced throughout the country, primarily in our national Civil War battlefields. Parker should visit Gettysburg, where there is a magnificent statue of Lee, astride Traveler, looking across the field at Pickett’s Charge. As one historian put it, this is “Hallowed Ground,” and no one will ever remove that statue or any of the hundreds of memorials to Confederate soldiers surrounding Gen. Lee. That’s because these memorials were erected in the true recognition of our history, not to proclaim white supremacy.

I would strongly urge The Times to reconsider it’s publishing Parker’s column. The Times carries a roster of thoughtful conservative columnists, and her extremism doesn’t belong in their midst.

Doug Henry


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