Washington, DC – Today, Representative Curtis (R-UT) released the following statement in regards to today’s vote on H.R. 7573, legislation that would remove certain statues from the U.S. Capitol building. The Congressman argues that voting to remove these eleven statues without debate or deliberation is little different than “the knee-jerk removal of statues by mob rule.”
“I applaud the national discussion surrounding who we honor, where we honor them, and who gets to decide. Clearly, in our midst, we have government-sponsored idolizing of those who should not be our heroes. The Civil War was a dark time in our nation’s history and the defeat of the Confederacy has resulted in a better and safer world, especially by leading to the elimination of the evil of slavery,” said Curtis. “In this process of defining which statues or memorial are removed, I call for reasoned and thoughtful guidelines that will stand the test of time. Lawmakers responding out of emotion with no guiding standard are little better than the knee-jerk removal of statues by mob rule.”
After nearly 30 years of representing Utah in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the U.S. Capitol, Philo T. Farnsworth, the inventor of the first all-electric television, was recently replaced Martha Hughes Cannon, the first female state senator in Utah and in the nation. One of Alabama’s statue is of deaf and blind advocate Helen Keller. She replaced a Confederate figure about a decade ago. Statues are decided upon by the State government and exchanged at the decision of each respective state.
Earlier this week during a House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing to consider H.R. 970 to remove the monument to Robert E. Lee at the Antietam National Battlefield, H.R. 4135 to remove the statue honoring Albert Pike’s freemasonry in the District of Columbia, and H.R. 7550to perform an inventory of Confederate commemorative works on certain Federal lands, Congressman Curtis called for a “nuanced and thoughtful debate.”
“I believe that one-hundred years from now, our great-grandchildren will look back at us with disappointment for some of our actions that may seem or feel acceptable today. Despite earnestly trying our best, history has shown that judgment uses a different paradigm many years down the road. I hope we in Congress can work together to elevate our public discourse and have nuanced and thoughtful debate on these important topics.”