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Tearing things down betrays nation’s values

Demonstrators this summer have engaged in a round of tearing down statues of people they see as champions of bigotry. Their actions should not be condoned. Tearing things down is not how we accomplish change in this country. We do it democratically, by participating in a process that takes time.

Certainly, the demonstrators have targeted some sites (Confederate symbols) that really should not be up. The Confederate cause was for white supremacy and slavery. But rather than tearing these symbols down, they should be put in museums, to help educate future generations.

Demonstrators also have targeted statues that they view as problematic, but which others do not. We are thinking here of Columbus or the Emancipation Memorial, which was paid for by freed slaves. Again, if you want these statues removed, make your case to your City Council, your state or the federal government. But you do not get to decide the matter for the rest of us through a violent, criminal act.

To go a step further, why not replace objectionable statues with the heroes of the civil rights movement? Late last year, people in Montgomery, Alabama, erected a statue of civil rights legend Rosa Parks.

And if Confederate statues are coming down, how about recognizing the men and women who, sometimes at the cost of their lives, battled the rebellion and the associated evil of racial bigotry?

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