"Those that don't learn history are doomed to repeat it."
It's a pretty solid quote right? Infallible in fact. Right? If we see the mistakes of the past, we can prevent the same mistakes now. Right? If we all look at history as a chance to learn, it's so. Or is it? But what if we don't see the mistakes the same way? What if a mistake to me is a success to someone else? What if the past is a chance to learn to perfect previous practices? Still, not a "bad" thing. Right?
In the middle of all of this questioning the past is a very present thought though. The talks of taking down Confederate statues, monuments, and symbols are as alive as ever. They've been there all my life. I know that. I overheard someone saying, "go to places that do that, and they have no history. They've erased it all." I then found myself saying, louder than I thought I said it, "there are no statues or monuments of Hitler anywhere, but we still know who he was." The look on the face of the guy I responded to was priceless. As I'm sure the look on mine was too due to my (un)intended volume.
Still, I see the quote "heritage not hate" pasted on the images of the Confederate flag these days and I wonder, "what is that 'heritage' you refer to dear social media poster?" A quick read of the Cornerstone Speech (the Confederate Constitution) and the remarks of the man that designed the various Confederate flags will show anyone exactly what that specific heritage is. If that's what we're referring to, and with the quote and image linked as such, there's no mistaking what that is. None.
The statues, monuments, and symbols though... There so we can learn the mistakes of the past. (Look into when a great number of them went up and why.) Many people are putting "mistakes" in quotes. Because, to them, slavery and racism aren't mistakes. The rest of us however say it's to protect history. However, it's really not that. We're protecting comfort. We're protecting a very real and present danger to many, many people in this country in the name of "preserving history." We're, in fact, celebrating it. Why? That's not just my question to answer.
Though, I do know this... we haven't learned or moved on. And the "history" and "heritage" is there to make sure we don't.