Editor: When I first suggested a compromise between the defenders and opponents of Leesburg’s Confederate statue, I heard more than once that the intention of those who first put up that statue was to honor the confederacy; only total victory over evil could be acceptable as if intentionalism should prevail.
But many of those same peoplereject intentionalism when interpreting the Constitution. They understand that we do change.Thinkof Jefferson’s great line “all men are created equal.” Jefferson was looking up at the British aristocrats who looked down on him;he, a Virginia gentleman, was surely the equal of any dukeor earl. Jefferson did not consider blacks his equal, nor women, norpoor white males. Yet we have no problembroadening the interpretation of his message to fit our modern times.
Thus, the soldier on the courthouse lawn is only identified there as a Confederate by the plaque below the statue. Other than that, he could be blue or grey. Replace the word “Confederate” with the word “American” and we have a symbol that speaks to the union thatLincoln sought to preserve. Lincoln, let us recall, wanted to pardon the rebels and extend the hand of brotherhood.
We are still divided today, this time red and blue. Rather thanone sidecrush the other, we need to find ways to bind up the wounds, to compromise, to salute the valor on both sides, even if mistaken. All of the 600,000 who died were victims of history. Lincoln understood that. So should we.
David Williams, Lincoln