There are different opinions about certain monuments being dismantled, destroyed, taken down. I am of the opinion that many of these monuments shouldn’t have been erected in the first place, where admiration was given to men who killed and maimed—not in self-defense but in a belief that they had the right to destroy others for their own gain. I think placing these monuments in a museum with information about who they were and what they did would provide edification, something we sorely need because we must learn how we got to where we are today—stains and all.

I’ve always struggled with Anne Frank’s quote: I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. Yes, there are good people, but I do wonder what her last thoughts were. I wonder while she was in that concentration camp if she still felt the same way because even though I never experienced the hate that she did simply for who she was I tend to see the evil in people. I suppose it would be easier to put blinders on, but easier for whom?

America was built on the blood of others, causing a wound so deep that I wonder if it can ever be rectified. We have certainly come too far to be able to give the Indigenous Americans back their land, but to be taught in school that Columbus discovered America when it was already discovered, is a travesty. To ignore how “we” kidnapped people, families actually, from Africa and brought them to America to be enslaved, whipped and worse, is another travesty. Learning in high school about the extermination of millions of Jews by a madman was glossed over because he certainly didn’t act alone. The lessons about how something like that could have happened wasn’t really taught, at least at the school I attended, and would have been helpful so that we don’t let history repeat itself.

I struggle that people are good at heart when there are trophy hunters who hold guns and jubilant expressions while posing with wild game that they’ve killed for sport and nothing else. (I am not talking about anyone who legally shoots deer for food, since I eat meat and cannot judge.) I struggle that people are good at heart when they keep dogs in cages to constantly breed them for profit. I struggle that people are okay when we separate parents from their children at the border when they are desperate to get away from atrocities.

Of course it’s naïve to think that the world will be totally free of greed and selfishness but going back to my original thought, putting certain men on pedestals without knowing the actual history of who they were and what they did, is a travesty. Keeping us in the dark, as comfortable as that might feel, will only cause the wound to get bigger and “the land of the free and home of the brave” will still not represent everyone, but a select few.