Readers Discuss Our December 2018 Issue

Your thoughts on “Costs of the Confederacy” and much more

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“I have never been more proud of kids that were not my own,” Teresa Zieminski-Myers said of the Parkland, Florida, students (“Fighting for Their Lives”), who were among the recipients of our 2018 American Ingenuity Awards, the subject of December’s cover. Our investigative piece about public money spent on Confederate sites and monuments (“The Costs of the Confederacy”) sparked an outpouring of passionate commentary (and more than 25,000 shares on Facebook). Supporters of such memorials objected, saying the story was “liberal,” “biased,” a “diatribe” that succumbed to “political correctness.” But others welcomed the article as “well researched,” “eye-opening” and “fascinating.” Taxpayer money, said Laurie Wilding of Anaheim, California, “shouldn’t be spent on glorifications of people that made their livelihoods on the backs of enslaved people.”

Remembering the Rebellion

I found “The Costs of the Confederacy” incredibly one-sided. To lump all those linked to the Confederacy as promoting a white agenda is wrong. Today’s values should not be applied to people who lived in the past. Southern states have a right to preserve their history—the good, the bad and the ugly. Articles like this do more to promote hatred and division than to bring us together.

Selena Levitt | Wildwood, Missouri

History is just that, history. People should learn from history, not tear down and destroy the symbols of it.

Daniel S. Pokorney | La Grande, Oregon

There are two types of Civil War monuments. We should keep the historical ones, erected right after the war to honor dead and wounded community members. But heritage monuments, erected long after the war, were intended as propaganda, pure and simple. Voltaire said, “If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities”; the heritage monuments of the Confederacy are absurdities, and have directly lead to atrocities. If we can’t bring them down, then at least we should defund them.

Coryn Weigle | Alexandria, Virginia

As long as our leaders fail to address racism (which is not limited to the South), taxpayers will continue to support what is ultimately a white nationalist cause. Unlike Germany, which acknowledged its horrific history, we are mired in sentimentality for a past that never existed.

Darryl Engle | Chandler, Arizona

While tax dollars should not support Lost Cause mythology, the question is how to deal honestly with this shame to our nation’s history. This article is a step in this long struggle.

Robert Willett | Pasadena

Wild Bison

Political Animal” (November 2018) ignores the hardships of transferring bison to the Tribes. The Tribes have constructed a quarantine facility to return brucellosis-negative buffalo to tribal lands and restore their historical connections with American Indians. But the state of Montana, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the livestock industry have obstructed this effort. The government took buffalo from American Indians and now it refuses to give them back.

Daniel Wenner | Legal counsel for the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation

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