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Disdain for Robert E. Lee misplaced

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Monuments and plaques of Confederate military leaders like Robert E. Lee have been taken down in Brooklyn. Also, inquiries are being made to remove street names.

“New York City will conduct a 90-day review of all symbols of hate on city property,” Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced.

In my opinion, plaques and monuments tell a story of American history. That includes the good and the bad, which has troubled and divided America. If we deny history, we are doomed to repeat it. Future generations will truly suffer. In the book 1984 by George Orwell, history was rewritten to fit a belief system, not what actual had happened. President George Washington and Thomas Jefferson held slaves. Does that mean their monuments should be torn down, including Mount Rushmore? To take that further, what about their images on our currency. Let’s be real.

You fight racism and hate with love and understanding. History cannot be changed, but we can learn to live in peace and in harmony with one another and teach our children to do the same.

On a personal note, my grandfather had fought in the Union Army during the Civil War. He served under Gen. William Sherman in was involved in the march all the way to Georgia to eradicate slavery and to unite our great nation.

General Robert E. Lee was married to Georgia Washington’s grand-daughter. He worked with Union Gen. Ulysses Grant during the Mexican-American War and was a decorated war hero defending our country. Many accounts indicate he believed slavery was evil. After the Civil War, he worked with President Andrew Johnson’ program of Reconstruction. Here was an American veteran, and is being treated with such disrespect. So sad.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.

Glen Oaks Village

Posted 12:00 am, September 6, 2017
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Reader feedback

Daniel from Queens says:
Interesting the brown-nosing de Blasio didn't perform this act when that ohbama guy was squatting in our white house.
Sept. 6, 2017, 3:58 am
Bob from Glen Oaks says:
Great article Fred. We all have to deal with it. Can't argue anymore. Times are changing.
Sept. 6, 2017, 10:04 am
S from America says:
Fred, your argument is based on a conflation of two different questions. 1. How do we teach history? 2. Which figures of the past should we honor and celebrate?

No one is proposing re-writing history books to erase Robert E. Lee from existence. None of the advocates of removing statues of Lee are proposing anything remotely like this, so your appeal to Orwellian erasure is simply a non-sequitur.

The question at hand is the second one. A faction of people in the US made a choice, during the Jim Crow era, to use statue-building and street-naming as part of a political program to promote a rosy view of the Confederacy and its heroes, show defiance towards the civil rights movement, denigrate Reconstruction, and intimidate black people.

In doing so, those 20th century racists gave us our current answer to question 2 above: we dedicate an extraordinary percentage of our national monuments to honoring traitors who fought to keep our fellow citizens enslaved.

Why are there so few monuments to a real Civil War hero who fought the good fight like Harriet Tubman, and so many to Lee, a man whose strongest claim to heroic character is that he supposedly didn't really believe in the odious cause for which he killed hundreds of thousands of his countrymen?

The reason isn't because those Confederate statues are telling the truth about history, and a different set of statues would be a politically correct lie. Building all those Lee statues *was* the politically correct lie. They were built by people who were trying to enforce their own racist view of history as politically correct.
Sept. 6, 2017, 10:45 am
a bit uninformed from queens says:
Some comments show the writers are a bit uniformed. The Civil War started because of tariffs that the cotton growing states were assessed and did not want to pay. Had they been paid, slavery would have died out due to the combination of further automation in agriculture and the industrial revolution. Lincoln did not "free" the slaves until 2 years into the war. Meanwhile, during the war runaway slaves were returned, which was the law at the time. So stop making it all about slavery - only a small proportion of land holders were able to afford slaves at that time. Also, remember that for census purposes, slaves were considered 3/5 of a person - so declaring them citizens gave the South more representatives in the House, putting Northern states at a disadvantage. And by the way, Tubman had a serious brain injury caused by a beating from her owner, so the bravery attributed to her could have been real or could have been the result of CTE.
Sept. 6, 2017, 11:35 am
Guy from Queens says:
Fred grew up in homeless shelter. Being homeless with no education, he has no idea where he stands in USA. Poor Fred.
Sept. 6, 2017, 11:59 am
S from America says:
And here comes "a bit uninformed" to take us on a little tour of some of the myths, distortions, and bizarre flimflam about US history that racists have promulgated to excuse the behavior of Lee and company.

I'm particularly fascinated by the mental gymnastics in that Tubman jibe. What could possibly motivate someone to believe such a piece of hooey?
Sept. 6, 2017, 12:03 pm
Clean it Up from Queens says:
FOCUS on REAL PROBLEMS that affect the lives of people, not crap like this. This is useless and meaningless as far as people's lives go.
Sept. 6, 2017, 3:13 pm
Thesaures from Queens says:
Fred copied all the materials around by collecting them. He is not that smart to know anything much. He is barely surviving in Glen Oaks with bills.
Sept. 6, 2017, 5:20 pm
Manama from Queens says:
Fred lives in a homeless shelter in Glen Oaks Village.
Sept. 6, 2017, 8:58 pm
Helton from Flushing says:
Fred is right on the money with his comments.
Sept. 6, 2017, 11:29 pm
Helton from Flushing says:
I like Fred. Ok guy. He has his issues such as being homeless, on/off meds, abusive, ok, ok. When he is sane, he can be a likeable person. When he is not, encouragement works but lots of work.
Sept. 7, 2017, 9:23 am
rob from Doughlaston says:
Manana and Helton: Do yourself a favor and cease employing "Fake News" concerning Fred's personal life. Fred, in fact, lives comfortably in Glen Oaks devoting his time and money supporting many causes, including successfully conducting the Annual Blood Drive in St. Anastasia Parish.
Sept. 9, 2017, 12:08 am
Helton from Flushing says:
Rob,

I am the one who agreed with Fred on 9/6/17, right after Manama's comment.

The next "Helton from Flushing" comment is by some troll who gets their kicks from copying other people's names/locations and doing infantile things like making schmucky comments.

I have supported Fred's comments in the past, as he will tell you if you ask him.
Sept. 18, 2017, 1 pm

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