Government

Ryan Calls for Removing Confederate Statues from Capitol

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WASHNGTON – U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan yesterday called for the removal of statues commemorating the Confederacy from the nation’s Capitol.

Renewed debate over the statues was sparked by last weekend’s protest over the removal of Confederate memorials in Charlottesville, Va., including a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee. The protests resulted in the death of one counter-protester and several injuries when an Ohio man drove his car into them.

Statues of members of the Confederacy and their sympathizers “have no place” in the halls of Congress and should be removed immediately, Ryan, D-13 Ohio, said in a statement.

The cause the Confederacy’s leaders supported would have seen the Capitol building torn down, the republic it represents torn apart, and “the countless” black representatives, senators, staffers and visitors “who work and visit there every day viewed as property simply because of the color of their skin,” Ryan said.

“Those are not values worthy of display in this Capitol or any corner of our nation.”

In the aftermath of last weekend, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, citing safety concerns, ordered the removal Tuesday of Confederate-linked memorials in the city. Those memorials were taken down overnight.

Yesterday, President Donald Trump called it “foolish” for communities to take down the Confederate monuments.

“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Trump has been under fire since his initial remarks in the aftermath of Saturday’s protests, in which, according to both Democratic and Republican critics, he appeared to equate the counter-protestors with the white nationalists, neo-Nazis and alt-right demonstrators they were there to protest.

Ryan yesterday disputed the notion that taking down the monuments was erasing history.

“It is taking a stand against the glorification of those who fought to end our nation as we know it for the purpose of subjugating an entire race of people,” he said. “Our children should learn about this era so that they may grow up to help build a more perfect union, one in which the bigoted ideology that led to the Civil War and continued through Jim Crow never rears its ugly head again.

“But what we should not do is display statues which seek to hold the Confederacy in high esteem, or the system of oppression and dehumanization it’s leaders fought to uphold,” he continued.

Pictured at top: Statue of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America, on display at the U.S. Capitol.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.