Leave it to the director of the Louisiana ACLU, Marjorie Esman, in her recent letter to The Advocate, to demand the removal of Confederate monuments so as to appease one segment of New Orleans’ population at the expense of another because of the act of one lone madman in another state. You expect such an act from a politician like Mayor Mitch Landrieu who’s looking for the most votes he can get whenever he runs for office again, not from someone who is supposed to protect the civil liberties of the entire population.

Esman obviously has no knowledge of or respect for American history and the men who shaped it, nor does she have any understanding of the times in which they lived.

Men like Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard considered it their sacred duty to defend their home states first and foremost. Politicians made the war; the generals fought and eventually lost it. What Esman and so many others ignore is what Lee, especially, and Beauregard did at the end of and after the war.

Lee disobeyed orders from Confederate politicians and ignored suggestions from his staff to break up his army into small bands and continue fighting. Instead, he surrendered and sent his men home to begin healing the nation. Had he not taken that courageous action, the damage of what more years of fighting would have done would have been catastrophic to America.

Beauregard quit when he heard Lee did, and both men went home. Despite calls for punishment, Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant took no action against these men, knowing they would be needed to help rebuild the South and reunite the country. Beauregard came back to run a railroad and work in Louisiana government, and Lee became president of Washington (and later Lee) University.

Their monuments need to stay exactly where they are because they are important and positive parts of our past. Jefferson Davis was a politician and a resident of Mississippi; his statue means nothing to New Orleans, so if something must be taken down, let him go. Esman and those like her who want to cave in to the wishes of one group or another every time something happens that that group does not like run the risk of destroying our past and putting our future at risk.

At least we still have a First Amendment that will allow individuals to express their beliefs on their own private property whether it be flying a flag in their yard or putting a bumper sticker on their car. Well, at least for now we do, but I am sure Esman and her ACLU partners are working to end that right also.

Michael Sellen

retired sales representative

River Ridge