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Monumental questions: Racists test our resolve

August 16. 2017 12:29AM

Popular ideas don’t really need the protection of the First Amendment.

It is the unpopular ideas that test our principles, and our resolve.

It is the repugnant ideas, and the repugnant people who spread them, that tempt us to abandon principle in order to prevail over odious ideologies.

A plan to remove a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee was the pretext white supremacists used to rally in Charlottesville last weekend. It would be tempting to tear down all the monuments and rename all the roads bearing the names of members of the Confederacy, if only to deny a political win to virulent racists.

That would be an appealing argument, but not a principled one.

We must not erase our history. Local communities can make local decisions, but it is toxic to rend open racial scars over every Civil War statue.

Rep. Mike Moffett remembers New Hampshire’s history (A7) by looking back on the importance of the Battle of Bennington, fought 240 years ago today.

There is no controversy about the statue of Gen. John Stark on the State House lawn in Concord, so our principles are not tested. Should an unpopular group ever try to hijack history by wrapping themselves in Stark’s legacy, we should reject them, but keep the statue.

White supremacists are opposed to American ideals. We must not abandon those ideals as we stand together to defeat them.

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