In the last 60 years there has been a great deal of change, on very many scales in our world. From technology, military, peoples, norms and morals of society etc. Which leaves us perhaps, feeling that there is little that is solid. That everything is in constant flux. Where did the stability go that we used to know. I wonder if we really ever had that, or was it more a slower pace of change. But change there always has been.
We cannot re-write history though so many people, in so many countries, want and try to do just that. The easiest way is to re-print the history books from the new perspective, the new vision of the past. The harder type of revision is the physical with the destruction of places and elements of the history like buildings and monuments. Some of these, that represent evil, we may truly wish to have destroyed, and those that are less so can be a good reminder of how we should not be ever again.
The same for renaming cities, streets and counties. At times this helps but sometimes reflects only one group and can cause added harm. Renaming can’t blur the truth. We want future generations to look at what was and reflect on how to avoid this again. As much as possible keep the statues and buildings, keep it all. But teach history better and what it represents. Build up for future generations, don’t take down and destroy.
People live in a time and a place in history with only a few tenuous lines connected to us. So to judge them and their actions through our eyes is both pointless and nonsensical.
We might think that this person or that was a villain in our version of history, in today’s perspective that is. At the time of the events in question it was a norm and few would have called out against it. Time and norms and things accepted change. Values change. To see otherwise is to rewrite the past not necessarily with facts, but with emotion. Therefore it would not make sense from an intellectual point of view. It is better to let the past rest in the dust of that moment in the past, just as our own time will be seen and (hopefully) treated.
So leave the statues alone, stop re-writing the history books. Instead, put up more and current statues, write new history books that take everything into consideration. It would be more productive and a better use of resources to work at this positive change and trust that our time is seen in the best light possible by historians later, by doing today what is right.