Senator and presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren has been making headlines on the campaign trail lately, notably advocating for the abolition of the electoral college in a CNN town hall Monday night (read Paste’s Jacob Weindling on why she’s exactly right). But there was one moment in that town hall that was overlooked, and it came when Warren said that Confederate monuments should be taken down and placed in museums. From The Independent:
“As a presidential hopeful, do you have any plans on addressing the removal, or lack thereof, of the reminders of the nation’s dark past, or have any plans on preserving the nation’s history in a way that explains it in a more education sense versus showing praise to the losing side?” an audience member asked.
Ms Warren responded forcefully, saying she would “support removing Confederate celebrations from federal land and putting them in museums, where they belong”.
Later, when Jake Tapper asked her if Mississippi should replace their state flag, which displays the Confederate battle emblem, she kept her response very simple:
Warren replied with one word — “Yes” — and was met with loud applause from the crowd.
The rise of white supremacy in America has spurred on an effort to remove these statues and monuments in various parts of the (mostly) southeastern United States, and in some cases—in both Chapel Hill and Durham, NC, for instance—students and citizens have taken it upon themselves to topple these symbols when institutions hesitated.
Warren is, yet again, on the money—there aren’t many other places in the world where one segment of a country could instigate a failed rebellion and still be allowed to preserve public symbols of the insurgency, but it’s especially egregious when a centerpiece of that rebellion was the continuation of slavery—and, by implication, the enshrinement of white supremacy. Additionally, the majority of these monuments were erected decades after the Civil War had ended as signs of intimidation when black citizens pushed for civil rights. As Jason Rhode put it, “take them down. All of them.”
The most recent poll of the Democratic primary shows Warren trailing both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, and specifically lagging behind Sanders with young voters. It’s necessary for her to make these kinds of bold, progressive proclamations if she wants to find her base before Iowa, but more than that, it’s the right thing to do. Once again, Warren is leading the way on a matter of policy.