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Trump notwithstanding, how we took Lee down

Earl O. Hutchinson | 8/24/2017, 5:58 a.m.

They were not.

Many were erected in the 1950s and 1960s in the South’s massive nose thumb at the civil rights movement and integration.

In a backhanded way, Trump got that when he put the White House and by extension the federal government’s stamp of unofficial approval on the tributes to secession, treason and slavery by calling the monuments “beautiful.” This is not a reach for him to preserve a dusty, moldy, long-dead, bygone past, but a living, breathing, politically-defiant present. The Lee and Confederate monument defenders offer enduring political shelf value to Trump. Many of them cheered lustily for him at rallies during and after his campaign, and marched to the polls to help put him in the White House. He owes a deep political debt to them, and he’ll need them again in 2018 and 2020.

Fortunately, this wasn’t the case in Long Beach when our fight brought Lee’s moniker on the elementary school down. The message we sent then, and how we sent it, is even more important now. We took Lee down, and Trump notwithstanding, it can and should be done in every nook and cranny of the nation where Lee and the other Confederates adorn public places. Their presence is a daily reminder that treason, secession and slavery still stain the nation with shame.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst.