I must say that I am alarmed and saddened at the same time that you and my fine university have made a decision to follow rather than lead the way—both in thought and in enlightenment. You have given in to pressure to try to erase history that you do not like rather than use this opportunity to clarify it.
Now, Duke students will not have an open opportunity to learn more about Lee or of the tremendous character and outlook adjustments he made. His post war efforts to help our nation heal, to help us adopt a more civil, humane outlook, and his efforts to create a great, all inclusive nation apparently mean nothing to you. Sadly you have forgotten the lesson of Professor Basset that universities are the one place that should allow all thought openly. The lesson you have learned, apparently, is the lesson of Mao Tse Tung, Pol Pot and the leaders of ISIS. The first step in population control is to remove all signs of previous regimes and all sense of history.
By hiding our history you have joined a much larger and much more frightening movement than one that merely wants to remove so-called offensive objects.
As you must be well aware, those who are now screaming emotionally to remove and bury our nation's history by targeting inanimate statutes are not at all concerned deeply about the men depicted and what they stood for. That is not the point. They are simply using the fear of being labeled racist, the easy target of defenseless statues, and an emotional, "enlightened" intelligensia to gain power needed to not just re-write history, but to carry out an effort to end personal liberty and individuality completely.
Similarly, universities across the land are now banning speech and speakers, because thoughts and views are not the "right" ones or honorable ones. This tactic also is a part of the larger picture you are playing into, very much like a puppet.
It is no secret that the notions of democracy, capitalism, and individual liberty above group are anathema to statism and those who believe society should be controlled and managed by a central power. Gathering power to force you and others to bury history is but one step. The next, and it is already occurring, is to speak out loudly against our nation's past and our formative documents. The thesis you are supporting is this...our nation's founders are so evil, so vile and so unenlightened that they cannot possibly have created a government or nation worthy of existence. Therefore the constitution and its notion of individual liberty is flawed and ought be ignored. The effort underway to "highlight the evil our nation sas supported and flaunts" in the form of statuary is set on re-constituting our nation as one of totalitarian, state control.
You, as a member of the academic community, are lumped into that group by association, if not by actual fact. Either way, your actions to erease "evil" reveal that you are supporting this effort either tacitly or actively.
I can do nothing to stop you, but can only stop all future support of Duke University as well as communicate to all who will listen that you and Duke have now actively joined the statists under the guise of intellectual, benevolent, paternal guidance.
I wish you would adopt a more intelligent position. You must know by now that statism has failed as a liberator and freer of humankind. It has succeeded only in taking away liberty and individualism. But perhaps that is exactly what you want and choose to use a university to foster that view in your faculty and students.
So now that we know your stand, will you follow the pack as well to remove the statue of George Washington Duke, slave owner? He was also was part of the great tobacco cabal, which as you know is accused of preying on and poisoning the black and underserved community with targeted advertising and promotions of a highly addictive product. Perhaps you will now also follow the pack by taking the next next logical step: re-naming the university. Apparently Duke is morally reprehensible in all of its history. Maybe you should resign in disgust and ask all students to transfer elsewhere. How can you exist surrounded by such evil?
former Alumni Advisory Committee local chair, former recruiter, former supporter
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