The U.S. Civil War killed or maimed huge numbers of people – as a proportion of how many people were alive, then. I’m told that, for two generations after the war, you would walk down the street in almost any U.S. city and see veterans missing an arm or leg, or women who were veterans’ widows.
After the war, the point of statues on both sides was to remember the sacrifice of those who had fallen. Both sides were American. Both fought because they thought they had a point.
The war was not about slavery until 1863 (well into it). The South fought to preserve the States against an encroaching central government. They lost – only after President Lincoln claimed a moral high ground, by finally making it a war to end the evil of slavery. Before then, in 1861 and 1862, the constitutional issues were primary and the South had a point. In short, they were not evil for fighting. They were Americans, fighting from a place of moral conviction (however mistaken).
The point of the Confederate monuments is to remember all that. The people whom you oppose so deeply are fellow Americans and they often (not always) come from a place of moral conviction (however mistaken).
It follows that the real effect of removing the Confederate monuments is to forget all that. Removal makes a statement that only one side matters: Your side, membership in which gives you the right to spit upon, and eventually to erase, your fellow Americans.
Whether a particular city or college or State should keep monument X is a local issue, that I won’t have an opinion on. But the overall push to remove the Confederate monuments is disturbing: it’s a push for ignorance and incivility. Forgetting the past, that’s the ignorance. And having only one side matter (yours) – that’s the incivility.
So, lefties: Be careful what you ask for. I will leave you with Charles Barkley’s perspective: