I’ve written before about the destruction of public statues and monuments, and I’ve supported leaving them in place — with appropriate signage added to explain their history. More recently I’ve come to believe they probably should be taken down if the majority of citizens in the area want them down. But they should be carefully removed by the proper authorities — city, county, park department, or whoever has jurisdiction — and put into storage or in a museum.
Those people out there who are defacing and/or pulling down and destroying statues they find offensive are nothing more than lawless vandals and should be treated accordingly. But they are destroying more than just statues. They are undercutting the support that peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstrators have gained and are gaining.
The same can be said of demonstrators — outsiders or otherwise — who resort to vandalism and violence during protest marches. Not only are they destroying property that is not theirs (and often belongs to their neighbors), they are demonstrating precisely why many observers don’t and won’t support the movement for equality.
The cartoon makes an excellent point that applies to many different situations and is too often forgotten — whether it’s right to judge eighteenth-century individuals and society by twenty-first century norms.