Ada Fisher: Let statues stand to remind of who we were

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 26, 2020

By Ada Fisher

The pulling down of the statue of George Washington, the nation’s first and one of its most revered presidents, in Portland, Oregon, finds this nation on the verge of losing its collective mind.

Attempts are at hand to overturn a democratic republic with no understanding of its beauty and its promise in spite of its wrongs. Protest may have their place, but the desecration of our nation’s history cannot stand. No matter which side of the rebellion one stands, it is imperative that a historical perspective be kept intact.

The Confederate flag, though a symbol of the Americans who lost in the Civil War, stands for much that still pains too many of their ancestors who lost it all — their land, their children and their heritage. Alex Haley captured this concept well in the story of “Roots,” where during manhood training the elder asks, “What do you do when you have the enemy surrounded?” And the young bucks responded, “You crush them and kill them all.” The wiser elder said, “No … if they are surrounded, you leave them an exit strategy for you can never kill all of their children and their children’s children and other ancestors yet to come.” People must be left their dignity or their wounds linger long through countless generations.

Too often, Black Americans lament a history that never was in search of inclusion, which has yet to come. We too often forget that the first blacks were not slaves but indentured servants — many of whom bought their way out of an oppressive bondage only to find other walls constantly erected in their paths. The educational message and media portray us as the victims of slavery rather than reference our history from the great kingdoms of Africa, including the gods, pharaohs and the pyramids of our ancestors. These are people to whom the masons date their origins.

In Washington, D.C., the statue of Confederate Gen. Albert Pike was destroyed as law enforcement did nothing to protect the monument to one of this nation’s most significant masons. The connection with Washington, who gave his personal silver to start the U.S. Treasury, set the standard for how our president should serve under term limits and subject to the law so that all may understand that we do not have kings. He willingly commanded the nation’s armed forces as a true “commander-in-chief on the battlefield and in the executive branch. Washington, himself, helped form the first Masonic Lodge in this nation. Buried within the history of our men of war and presidents is a Masonic tie showing the commonality of those who fought for this nation’s freedom dating to African origins. It is the Pentagon itself, whose five sides also speak to this heritage, as well as the layout of Washington, D.C.

History constantly demonstrates that those who do not learn history and those who do learn history without understanding are often doomed to repeat it. Our monuments should be visible markers of who we have been and what we have stood for or against. Without them, we are left with a sanitized story often far from the truth. Removing the names and pictures of this nation’s speakers of the House from Capitol buildings or whitewashing governmental structures of former slave owners does little to enhance our knowledge of who we have been. Neither will absolution be acquired in the quest for moral purity from a world of sinner’s hell bent on proving they are possibly going mad.

Martin Niemoller stated, “First they came for the Jews, I am not a Jew . . .  Finally they came for me, but by then there was no one left to help me.” Now, the statue of Arthur Ashe has been desecrated near his gravesite, and I suspect that one near the National Mall erected for Martin Luther King, Jr. is being targeted.

Part of our judicial responsibility is the promise that the U.S. Constitution will be upheld. So too must be an expectation that protest should be peaceful. Lawlessness should not be expected or allowed, and the protection of person and property is an essential duty of government. The advocates of defunding the police miss the likely end point as undermining those sworn to uphold our safety and unleashing vigilante unjustice promoting the further arming of the masses in anticipation of our next Civil War.

Let us pray for equal justice under the law and equal opportunity for all, realizing all people may be created equal, but each of us has a responsibility to not only self but the nation.

Salisbury’s Ada Fisher is a licensed teacher, retired physician, former school board member and current N.C. Republican national committeewoman.