Editorial: Stop commemorating the Confederacy

In support of Sen. Glazer's call for removing symbols from public spaces

In the wake of the hate-fueled white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Va., our local State Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) is renewing Senate Joint Resolution 15, which he originally presented last year calling on the U.S. Congress and the president to remove symbols honoring Confederate political and military leaders from federal public buildings and parks.

"The sight of people carrying torches, swastika banners and Confederate flags -- rallying against the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee -- was a reminder that we have so much more to do to bring Americans together," Glazer said in a statement announcing the resolution renewal last week.

"Any movement that includes Nazis, the KKK and white supremacists needs to be treated as a threat to our long-held principles of diversity, equality and opportunity for all," he added.

We stand by Glazer in his renewed call.

The movement to remove Confederate monuments gained traction after a photo was published showing Dylann Roof, the perpetrator of a deadly 2015 shooting in a black church in Charleston, S.C., posing with a Confederate flag.

The Southern Poverty Law Center recently reported there are more than 700 monuments commemorating the Confederacy in the United States, with most being in the states that made up the Confederacy, and none being found in California. The report also shows more than 1,500 places and highways honoring the Confederacy or its leaders in the U.S.-- including the Jefferson Davis Highway that runs through Southern California -- and more than 100 schools.

Thanks to Sen. Glazer, there are two fewer schools on this list.

In 2015, Glazer authored a bill that proposed banning state public buildings, parks, schools, highways or roads from being named in honor of Confederate leaders, and requiring their removal from any existing public places. The bill was approved by both legislative houses and vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown, who cited local control concerns.

However, Glazer and others implored two school districts in Southern California to remove Robert E. Lee's name from their elementary schools, which they did. He also reached out at that time to the mayor of North Coast city Fort Bragg, but the residents there wouldn't consider changing the name of the city then -- or now.

These monuments paying homage to Civil War generals were primarily installed decades after the Civil War during the "Jim Crow era" of state and local laws regarding racial segregation in the South. The timing speaks more of intimidation than honor or even education.

Earlier this year, Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer voted against removing the Lee statue that sparked the protest Aug. 12, but he has since changed his mind, calling statues of Civil War generals "twisted totems."

"You are changing history," President Donald Trump said when speaking of the removal of Confederate monuments last week.

Removing these statues and symbols is not changing history; it is denouncing the ideology of the Confederacy, which, unfortunately, lingers and is as destructive now as when the monuments were installed.

We agree with Glazer that, "A full discussion of the Civil War and Confederate military and political leaders should be included in our history books," as he said in his statement.

But a place of honor is not appropriate for these symbols. A museum is a better alternative, where they can be used to educate about a shameful part of America's past. While these symbols remain in front of our public buildings and in our parks and city centers, the malice that created the Confederacy is a present danger, not history.

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54 people like this
Posted by Deleting history
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 24, 2017 at 8:54 pm

This sounds like lunacy along the lines of removing Christopher Columbus's statue in San Jose because Christopher Columbus is synonymous with genocide, and removing all the Missions up and down California because they were where Native Americans were held captive by our ancestors.

By the Pleasanton Weekly's twisted wish to abolish all things related to a certain part of American History, does that mean it wishes to also destroy and remove the Arlington National Cemetery, Robert E. Lee's home that was seized by the government? And he lived at the house in Arlington National Cemetery. Perhaps the Pleasanton Weekly's next opinion piece will include that that should be bulldozed as well.

And why not burn all biographical books about Robert E. Lee and the Civil War? Or put them all in a museum too. You could ban Civil War books and put the entire collection of Allan Nevins', Bell Wiley's, and James I. Robertson's collective works on the Civil War in a museum. Given I doubt anyone on the Weekly's staff even has ever bothered to read any of them, even still, perhaps that would make the Weekly feel better? (Sarcasm)

And how about the Arch of Titus, the ancient monument in the Roman forum? Titus invaded Jerusalem and enslaved its inhabitants. Perhaps that should be removed as well, in line with the Pleasanton Weekly's logic.

And while we are at it, let's rename Pleasanton back to its former name, Alisal, because we wouldn't want to have absolutely any reminders that Pleasanton's name came from a Civil War general.

The bottom line is that by removing reminders of history, it does not change history, and it does not serve any purpose, but it does make it more likely that history will repeat itself.

9 people like this
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Aug 24, 2017 at 9:32 pm

"Straw Man Fallacy"

"The straw man fallacy involves misrepresenting an opponent's position in order to make it easier to refute. Straw man arguments often oversimplify opposing views or disregard inconvenient points in favor of points that are easy to argue against." : Straw Man Fallacy Web Link


32 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Aug 24, 2017 at 10:05 pm

We haven't removed Hitler, Pol Pot, Sadam, Stalin, or Ho Chi Minh from history. But there are no statues here. Statues revere and commemorate. There is no place in the U.S. for confederate statues. Except that it makes it easy to identify the racist apologists who wish to continue honoring the dishonorable.

2 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 24, 2017 at 10:06 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Get it, and even support it to some level of sanity, don't think we should be putting dollars to fixing this now though. If we've fixed everything else with ta dollars, or the causes that are biatching and complaining about these are willing to fund there removal and preservation in a more appropriate location - perhaps a museum? all for it.

11 people like this
Posted by JMH
a resident of Stoneridge
on Aug 25, 2017 at 9:43 am

Looks like the Civil War is being battled again. Keep it up Union and the South shall rise again!

32 people like this
Posted by Cameron
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Aug 25, 2017 at 9:51 am

if this is to be the new standard we must go all in. George Washington owned slaves while president. Therefore we should remove the Washington monument, remove him from Mt. Rushmore, remove him from all currency and remove his name from all schools and universities. As he too would be considered a reminder of our history. Same principles would also be applied to Andrew Jackson and Thomas Jefferson. Eventually we will destroy everything.

Like this comment
Posted by South
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 25, 2017 at 10:40 am

Yes and this time the south is heavily armed sobtheyvresukts might surprise us.

13 people like this
Posted by Vigy
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Aug 25, 2017 at 11:22 am

Vigy is a registered user.

@Cameron, Get a grip. The monuments that should be removed are not those who were slave owners but rather those who committed TREASON.

26 people like this
Posted by carlos
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Aug 25, 2017 at 11:30 am

It sounds like PW is taking a clue from ISIS in Palmyra. Find a monument you find offensive and destroy it.

As far as white supremacists are concerned, let's be honest. This country was founded by white supremacists. They were Brits.

37 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Aug 25, 2017 at 2:01 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

This is a very interesting stance by the PW and I question the timing.

Presumably, the confederate statutes have been erected for many years now, and primarily they were erected with the knowledge and approval of a good many democrat politicians, given that many cities in the US have democrat politicians.

So when the democrats were in control of these cities, and by extension in control at the federal level as recently as 2008, why were they not calling for the destruction of these statues then? Why pick now?

And to bring this about to the PW editorial: where the heck were you then?


24 people like this
Posted by Jake Waters
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 25, 2017 at 3:31 pm

Jake Waters is a registered user.

@Editorial Board

Stop referring to the The Southern Poverty Law Center as a source of significance. They are just as much "the pot calling the kettle black." And as for your comment, " is denouncing the ideology of the Confederacy." Be careful about who gets to decide whom will be silenced. It could be you next...

18 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2017 at 4:05 pm

BobB is a registered user.

Where does it stop? Next thing you know they'll be pulling down statues of King George III!

Web Link

7 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Aug 25, 2017 at 4:08 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

Jake and Bob- exactly!

7 people like this
Posted by End Political Correctness
a resident of Sycamore Heights
on Aug 25, 2017 at 5:44 pm

End Political Correctness is a registered user.

Yes, there is certainly a distinction between Confederate statues, which are traitors, and Founding Father statues, who began America. So obviously, a blanket ban on every single statue who owned a slave would be irrational. However, I believe that ultimately it should be up to the taxpayers of the city to decide whether the statues are to remain or to be taken down, not by people from other places - because these are public statues and only people who fund them should make that final decision.

45 people like this
Posted by End Political Correctness
a resident of Sycamore Heights
on Aug 25, 2017 at 5:47 pm

End Political Correctness is a registered user.

On a broader note, however, I believe it is totally inappropriate for Pleasanton Weekly to be issuing politically-charged editorials on this sensitive topic. Pleasanton Weekly needs to be more moderate / centrist and attempt to understand conservative viewpoints instead of openly condescending on people who support the statues (of which 67% of Americans support). Pleasanton Weekly should stick its nose out of national politics and focus solely on local issues - otherwise it will lose its readership and reliability. Pandering to a specific demographic with liberal viewpoints is a sign of weakness and arrogance. Please don't stoop down to the level of the mainstream media. We need more unity - not division - in America. When you arrogantly write elitist editorials spewing an anti-Trump agenda, you risk alienating large sections of even Pleasanton residents. Please just stop with the politics. Stick to relevant, local issues.

45 people like this
Posted by End Political Correctness
a resident of Sycamore Heights
on Aug 25, 2017 at 5:53 pm

End Political Correctness is a registered user.

Also, are we going to apply the same standards that you spout from your morally righteous high stool to AntiFa, Black Lives Matter, and various other violent, intolerant far-left anarchist organizations? There's an old saying - "actions matter more than intent". Nobody, not even conservatives, deny that the KKK and neo-Nazis are abhorrent and racist. However, while AntiFa, Black Lives Matter, and anarchists claim to be fighting for equality and an end to racism, the reality is, they use extremely violent tactics to achieve their aims - which themselves are not morally pure at all. AntiFa was responsible for shutting down free speech / conservative speakers at UC Berkeley and various other universities around this country. I noticed that Pleasanton Weekly was oddly silent on this matter. When you refuse to defend free speech when the speech doesn't agree with your politics, you become hypocritical and unreliable. AntiFa and Black Lives Matter are also responsible for spouting violent, hateful anti-police rhetoric, physically assaulting peaceful protestors at their violent rallies, and making daily threats against our President and his administration. The left-wing terrorist who attacked Congressman Steve Scalise in June was a radical AntiFa anarchist. BLM has also been responsible for launching aggressive and illegal roadblocks on highways, causing patients to literally DIE in their ambulances because they can't reach the hospital on time. Again, Pleasanton Weekly refuses to condemn these hateful organizations. There's a clear, liberal, double-standard at the Editorial Board that seriously needs to change before we can have actual unity and peace in America. Please don't fuel the flames by converting yourselves into anti-Trump puppets.

33 people like this
Posted by Jake Waters
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 25, 2017 at 7:25 pm

Jake Waters is a registered user.

@End Political Correctness

Thank you for that commentary. You are exactly correct, and I stand by every word you wrote. For me it is not enough to just click the '+' for you, I felt an obligation to support your comments openly. Furthermore, I can't believe that this country is talking about the 'correct' statues we should have or not have, when we have larger issues at hand. Next, the left will be calling for Grant's tomb to be removed. Oh, wait, they just did, and Mayor Di Blasio is taking it under consideration as he moves to remove the Columbus statue from Columbus Circle in NYC. Greater problems are in that we have the attack on free speech that isn't even being supported by the ACLU, an organization that couldn't jump fast enough in the past to support an individual's right of speech. Furthermore, I am so tired of the media and the left defining everyone and every group that doesn't agree with them as 'hate speech' or an organization of hate. What is hate speech? And who is defining it? Google? Facebook? Extrememedia? Maxine Waters? This is dangerous. And as I said above to the Pleasanton Weekly Editorial Board, who is going to be left to stand with you when they take away your free speech?

5 people like this
Posted by BBoerman
a resident of California Reflections
on Aug 30, 2017 at 10:05 am

BBoerman is a registered user.

Shelby Foote's history of the Civil War documents causal issues other than slavery -- notably economic exploitation of Southern rural & agricultural people by wealthy Northern industrialists & politicians. Mr. Foote does not argue that slavery had nothing to do with the Civil War. But his work shows that casting the Civil War as a one-dimensional "slave versus free" morality play is incomplete, misleading, and another example of history being written (and white-washed) by the winning side. We need a more complete historical understanding of what caused the war between states, because most of those evils -- including oppression of both the poor & the blacks, and including purchasing of preferential legislation by the ultra-rich -- continue to this day. A more complete understanding of our national history is not accomplished by further white-washing, or by collective "dis-remembering" via removal of artifacts.

13 people like this
Posted by sanity
a resident of Mohr Park
on Aug 30, 2017 at 10:14 am

sanity is a registered user.

One more thing for the fringe left to [removed] because they have nothing else to do but promote hate and bigotry and racism to divide us. Yes, it's the left that needs this fight because that all they have. Being productive and addressing actual concerns of our nation is not in their best interest. Only hate and chaos because in the court and actual facts, they are left unarmed.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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