This story appeared in print as part of “The Word on the Streets.” Want to catch up on infrastructure issues in Columbia? There’s...
There will apparently be little satisfaction for some of us about the fate of Boone County’s Confederate Rock because it’s almost certain the peripatetic multi-ton stone will roll off the Courthouse lawn one of these days if it has not already been moved by the time you are reading this.
Beware, and husband your history and all that you treasure about it because battalions of historical revisionists are slogging across the land, set on altering and in some cases obliterating whole realms of our historical past. Viewed in extremis, it’s as if the 1861 to 1865 “War Between the States” or whatever it’s fashionably called these days simply didn’t occur. It’s somewhat like pretending there was no Holocaust during World War II or that our astronauts never landed on the moon.
What comes next after outlawing flags, songs or more tangible Civil War honoraria including monuments and “rebel” burial grounds? What about an untold number of battlefields, museums and other historical entities? What will be the fate of the state-maintained Confederate burial ground at Lexington or thousands of individually maintained gravesites across the land?
Who would be surprised if certain books and documents relating to the conflict are outlawed, removed from library shelves, maybe even fired up in a funereal pyre doused with accelerants whooped up during well-publicized book-burning ceremonies? Maybe then they’ll be selectively excising images of Gen. Robert E. Lee and other southern partisans or scenes of battle while banishing the paintings of their kin wherever they may have hung unmolested for almost a century and a half.
Next up if this trend continues will be the outcry and demands to rename the Robert E. Lee Elementary School at 1107 Locust St. Known as the Lee Expressive Arts Elementary School since 1990, the acronym L-E-E stands for “learn, explore and express.”
One wonders what portion of the school’s 41 percent minority student body is offended by the fact that their school was named after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. His name is firmly chiseled in stone — inconveniently for the vandals of historical revisionism — above the main entrance, but don’t be surprised if a mason is engaged at taxpayer expense by the Columbia Board of Education to obliterate Lee’s name from the building one of these days. If Lee’s name is blown to dust so readily, shouldn’t the balanced reaction to his nemeses, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, call for renaming the elementary school that honors him at Garth and Broadway?
Maybe the best policy when it comes to attaching the names of people to buildings is simply not to do it ever again.