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Confederate monuments Wed, Aug 30, 2017
To further expand on one of my points about Charlottesville, I believe all Confederate monuments should be torn down.  Not the war memorials to dead soldiers, but specifically statues of Confederate generals and commanders. 

These statues should've never been put up in the first place.  Many of them were erected in the early 20th century, decades after the Civil War ended.  Many more were erected during the Civil Rights era of the 1960s.  Historians have suggested this was to promote Jim Crow laws, enforce racial segregation, and promote white supremacy.  I heard an interview of a black southern citizen who said something along the lines of, "When you walked by the confederate monument in the center of town, you knew who was in charge." 

The Confederacy lost the Civil War.  I could be wrong, but it's probably uncommon to revere a general who lost the war.  A Confederate statue is a participation trophy for showing up to the Civil War.  Oddly enough, the political party that wants to keep these statues is the same party that's outspoken in their criticism of "special snowflakes" and our "everyone gets a trophy" society. 

Not only did the Confederacy lose, but I believe they were guilty of treason or some other crime against the country.  There's a special kind of hatred reserved for people who want to destroy a union.  It's like cancer.  You can't just hate it like a virus that grows inside you; it's literally a part of you.  We don't make monuments to cancer.  A country shouldn't make monuments to people or causes that literally fought against their own country. 

I think it's fairly widely agreed-upon that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of history.  They held views that we no longer find acceptable.  Sort of like Hitler.  Germany, as far as I know, doesn't have statues of Hitler.  If you fought for the losing side, whether or not you held those values, you don't deserve to be memorialized. 

Finally, there's the topic of erasing history, which is seriously a stupid argument.  Do people honestly think we'll forget about the Civil War, and who the generals were, and what battles were fought, and what the reasons were for fighting, and who won?  The history is already recorded, in books and movies and museums and our collective consciousness.  Move the statues to museums.  Keep the memorials of fallen soldiers.  This isn't complicated. #politics

Experiencing empathy Wed, Aug 30, 2017
From a HuffPost article titled, "I Don't Know How To Explain To You That You Should Care About Other People", the following sentences stood out to me: 
"I don't know how to convince someone how to experience the basic human emotion of empathy."

"Our disagreement is not merely political, but a fundamental divide on what it means to live in a society, how to be a good person, and why any of that matters."

"But if making sure your fellow citizens can afford to eat, get an education, and go to the doctor isn't enough of a reason to fund those things, I have nothing left to say to you."
I'm sure there are legitimate counterpoints to the arguments raised, but overall it presents the basis for perhaps the most major divide in politics and society these days. #politics

On Charlottesville Wed, Aug 30, 2017
It's been a few weeks since the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville and the ensuing protests.  I have a few thoughts I wanted to write down.  I'm relatively ignorant about a lot of things, so these are partially formed opinions.  I'm probably wrong about some things. 
  1. Expressing positive views on white supremacy, the Ku Klux Klan, and Nazism is protected by the first amendment as far as I can tell.  It's offensive, disgusting, misguided, ignorant, dangerous, and wrong, but it's legal.  I'm partly in favor of changing the constitution to restrict stupidly hateful shit like that.  Germany did it.  Several other countries too.  But it's hard to know where to draw the line. Maybe we could just start with Nazi stuff.  We fought a war against Nazis, and we won.  That issue and that side should be dead.
  2. It's unfortunate that antifa got involved.  Or rather it's unfortunate that the protesters were viewed as anti-free-speech.  Being anti-free-speech in general is bad, but being anti-fascist is good.  I think it's good when a Nazi gets punched in the face.  Since the law allows Nazis to exist, I don't have a problem with people punching them.  Sure it might be physical assault, but that argument doesn't fly in post-Hitler Germany.  Germans wished they punched Nazis when they had the chance.  Again, we fought a war over this and won.  Nazis shouldn't exist.  That said, restricting the speech of Nazis is equated with restricting the speech of right and left speakers on college campuses, which most people agree is a pretty childish way to conduct yourself at an institute of higher learning.  The opposite of alt-right shouldn't be alt-left.
  3. Trump had an opportunity to say the right thing, and he specifically didn't.  He could've said, "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence" and left it at that.  But instead I believed he ad-libbed the words "on many sides" which completely negated the point of that sentence.  Sure, antifa is viewed as bad and there was some violence and whatnot, but the thing which should be universally condemned is white supremacy and Nazism.  Hands down.  It's not a gray issue; it's black and white, pun not intended but appropriate.  Saying there was blame on both sides is the definition of a false equivalency.  "The Nazis shouted about their hatred of Jews and black people, but the antifa people shouted mean things too."  Those things aren't equal, and if you can't see the difference, that's a problem on your end.
  4. Confederate monuments are Civil War participation trophies given to the losing side.  They should be torn down.  They should've never been put up.  It doesn't change our remembrance of history to remove a statue commemorating a traitor.  We still remember.
  5. On a positive note, it's literally astounding to me that there was no gun violence that day.
  6. Some dude drove his car into the protesters and killed a person.  When this type of thing happens in any other country on earth, we call it terrorism.  It's strange that that narrative hasn't entered the mainstream in this instance.  It's almost like people only associate terrorism with brown people.
  7. The Vice documentary about the incident provided a pretty good assessment of the agenda of the alt-right and why we as human beings should oppose them.  It's not a free speech thing, it's a white supremacy thing.
It's disappointing to talk about this stuff with people in person.  Part of it is that I think I'm right about everything, so that's an issue.  But one side of this argument is so obviously wrong, it's sickening.  History won't look back at this time period or this event kindly. #politics