Alan Brownstein ’69 expresses his view on Trump and the debate about American symbols and monuments in an opinion piece published by The Hill on July 7, 2020.
“During the national debate about American symbols and monuments, Donald Trump makes two claims: He argues it is an affront to our heritage to take down Confederate monuments and rename military bases honoring Confederate generals, and he also demands that everyone – including athletes and others protesting racial injustice in our society – must act in ways that are properly respectful of our flag.”
According to Brownstein, these arguments make little sense because monuments memorialize individuals and events which deserve to be honored; they correspond to a certain degree of value. Merely playing a part in American history alone should not amount to a statue being resurrected.
“During the American Revolution, 15 percent to 20 percent of the colonists were loyalists who maintained their allegiance to the British Crown. They supported British forces. Thousands took up arms against the patriots fighting for our independence. These loyalists are part of our heritage. Should we memorialize and erect monuments to them? During the early 1900s, millions of Americans were members of the Ku Klux Klan. They are part of our heritage too. Should we erect monuments to Klan leaders as well?”