In regards to New York and other world cities removing (or not) once revered symbols of the past, I wonder. . .
Would it not be better to keep those symbols but “prominently attach to them” information which recognizes the truth of our pasts? We cannot efface history by eliminating hurtful symbols from our view. What happened did happen. It is not and should not be an easily forgotten "thing" from a time when we were not. The founders of our nations (whether historical point are real or mythologized) created a world from which all of us today profit in one form or another. Yet those past times are not ours. Being enlightened, we cannot allow to recur that which we now know to have been crude, abusive and hateful. But, for that to be possible, those “happenings” must always be some of the recurring hurts which remain in our hearts - otherwise. . .
By destroying reminders, we are pretending that what happened never will again. We lose contact with the reality that in times of self-righteousness we are all capable of, vulnerable to, being a “lowest common denominator species”.
A wise and forward thinking nation does not remove “symbols of hate and abuse”. Rather, it righteously acknowledges what happened - not only the good which stems from the past but also the bad. It recognizes both the tears of being reminded of the horrors and the joys emanating from the knowledge that past abuses are no longer blatantly "now".
Though once revered symbols of a nation’s past, we must now see these representations more as reminders of how far we have come.
But for that to be possible, prominently displayed informational plaques should be added to all questionable sculptural representations, buildings, etc. - and this worldwide. . . to remind us to think about and remember and integrate and assimilate the facts of life which, partly, are at the root of these, our more enlightened times.
In essence, a proud nation never lies. It never flatters itself by flaunting its perfection but rather encourages us all to recognize the excellence of its righteousness.
In the end, by destroying reminders, we create a world of illusions where deniers are encouraged to deny and the rest of us. . . once again. . . to not want to remember.
I am a painter and writer who's whole life has been influenced by one precept : "thinking each our own thoughts makes us relevant and relevance makes us powerful."