Just four days ago, on Flag Day, I blogged in part as follows:
I sing a different tune when it comes to removing the names of Confederate leaders (many of whom also served the United States) from monuments, schools, buildings and streets (collectively, referred to as the Confederate monuments issue). I see a big difference between the Confederate monuments issue and the Confederate battle flag issue.
After a very respectful back-and-forth on LinkedIn, one that could serve as a model for our Congressional leaders who are hopelessly caught in a negative play-to-your-base battle instead of listening to each other and compromising, I have decided that I was wrong. I was wrong. The Confederate monuments and all references to the Confederate leaders must come down if we truly want to heal as a country. Mea culpa mea culpa mea maxima culpa.
I don’t know about you, but I find the three words “I was wrong” to be very comforting and therapeutic because they remind me of my human frailty and fallibility in a way that is akin to “you are dust and to dust you shall return.” An old friend of mine says of himself “often wrong but never in doubt.”
Nothing could be farther from my personal reality. I am always in doubt of my stances because I would rather be right than arrogantly wrong and obstinate. On the issue of the references to Confederate leaders and the monuments, I was wrong and must change my stance and hereby do so as I must to be true to myself.
On LinkedIn, I wrote:
“With the help of an old college friend, Jimmy Rafferty, and Messrs. Shepard, Travis and Fraser, I have changed my mind about the Confederate monuments. I remain very concerned about erasing history, but the battlefields remain, in tribute to those who lost their lives on both sides. Let that be sufficient warning about the erroneous position of slavery. I still think it unfair to judge people who lived centuries ago by mores that would have shocked them in their time.
Interestingly, Robert E. Lee didn’t even favor retention of the battlefields. Thanks to all for a civil and educational discussion that was respectful. As I said, my position on the Confederate battle flag changed after I saw it being used by fringe groups who bastardized its original meaning, and now my position on the monuments has evolved too.”
That feels better. As I frequently am fond of saying, I am a work-in-progress. Don’t give up on me. May God bless you and may He bless the United States of America.