Dear Editor: I was deeply saddened by The Tablet’s editorial (Aug. 16) joining the chorus of leftist fanatics and rubberstamping the desecration of a statue of General Robert E. Lee. Saddened because The Tablet has apparently hopped upon the bandwagon or, rather, the juggernaut of political correctness which now demands a Stalin-like, Mao-like revisionism of American history.
Many historians agree that General Lee was not sympathetic to slavery, that he agonized in a quandary over whether or not to join the Confederacy, and that he ultimately did so only because of his primary loyalty to his beloved Commonwealth of Virginia in a Union only some 85 years old and still not well-rooted as a concept in the minds of many in the fledgling nation.
According to the late Shelby Foote, preeminent Civil War historian, after Lee’s surrender, General Grant declared, “The war is over. The rebels are our countrymen again.”
Another version of the event tells that as Lee rode away after the surrender, Grant’s men cheered but the victorious general ordered them to stop, saying, “The Confederates were now our countrymen, and we did not want to exult over their downfall.”
The point is that in the spirit of reconciliation, General Lee ultimately became a symbol of that reconciliation as a military hero whom all could recognize for valor in battle and grace in defeat. To desecrate Lee’s memorials is to demonstrate a hatred which the general did not himself personify and which the left will not recognize in themselves.
The neo-haters will not stop with Robert E. Lee. Already in the works is a determination by our own Mayor Bill DeBlasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to topple the statue of Christopher Columbus rename of Columbus Square.
What next? A move to expunge the Catholic Christian contributions to American history and culture by “re-Christening” hundreds of American cities and towns, especially in the Southwest, with all-inclusive secular names? What of San Francisco, Santa Fe, St. Louis, St. Augustine? What indeed of Corpus Christi, Texas? Even Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, might be endangered. Just imagine Los Angeles officially redubbed as Lalaland, U.S.A.!
THOMAS G. STRACZYNSKI