Letter: Why do we honor traitors?

Body: 

Why would any American honor a traitor against the United States who shared responsibility for the slaughter of countless Americans? Why would any decent American display the flag of treason against our country?

In Charlottesville, Va., a proposal to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee, a first-class traitor, set off a violent riot by an assortment of white racists that murdered one woman and injured many others.

According to the contemporary standards of justice, Lee and the rest of the Confederate upper echelon deserved to be shot by a firing squad after a brief trial. In the alternative, they should have been executed by hanging from a gallows, which was the fate of 38 Native American warriors in Mankato in 1862. They certainly had less culpability than the Confederate leaders.

Can you imagine statues of Hitler and his bloody henchmen in places of honor in the German Reichstag to honor German heritage? Unthinkable, but our federal Capitol building is loaded up with statues of Confederate traitors, supposedly to honor Southern heritage.

Every statue of a Confederate traitor and every depiction of their traitorous flag should be removed from every public space in this country without delay. It's long overdue.

The Civil War has never ended. It continues today with unscrupulous politicians, particularly in the South, playing exploited white people against exploited black people. Southern Democrats played that game for many years until the national Democratic Party took up the cause of black civil rights. In a pact with the devil, Republicans now provide a cozy place for the old Confederacy to roost.

John H. Burns

Willmar