The new law attempts to preserve history by making it illegal to remove monuments that have been in place for more than 40 years. The Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017, signed into law Wednesday by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R), protects historical Confederate monuments which have come under fire in recent weeks by Democratic politicians. The new legislation prohibits “the relocation, removal, alternation, renaming, or other disturbance of any architecturally significant building, memorial building, memorial street, or monument located on public property which has been in place for 40 or more years.” State Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa), who proposed the bill, noted protecting monuments is about preserving history for future generations to learn from.
“The thing many people – and when I say people, I mean Democrats – seem to be forgetting is the fact that you don’t have the right to rewrite history just because you don’t like it,” Sen. Allen told the Alabama Morning Star. “I have been in politics for many years now, and I can tell you that, as soon as you see something like this happening, it’s a sure sign that something monumental – pun intended – is about to go down and history is going to be rewritten in a way that someone else wants. And that’s just not fair; it’s not fair to our ancestors, it’s not fair to the people who shaped history and made it what is is, for better or worse, but the people who are really going to feel the consequences of purposely forgetting things certain folks don’t seem to like are our children and their children and all future generations. Just because we don’t want to remember something doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have to, either.”
He continued, “But, the reason why I think this is such an important issue is the fact that, if you take a more precise look at what’s being done, you’ll realize that any and all symbols of the Confederacy are being torn down and ‘relocated,’ while Democratic monuments are being left alone. That tells me that the Democrats are embarrassed of our history, all of it. And when I say that, I’m also talking about that shameful practice that, frankly, built this country as the most advanced nation in the world. I’m talking about slavery and all the things it brought with it. Whether we like it or not, it IS part of our past and no one can erase that from people’s minds. What’s more, as a southern state, we reaped more fruits from slavery than any other state in the Confederacy, which begs the question of who can decidedly claim it should have been banned in the first place?”
“Not only is it engraved deep into the identity of Alabama and the United States of America, it is also part of why our nation is today such a diverse and multicultural society. Therefore, although it has had its fair share of wrongdoings and negative aspects, there have also been numerous positive things that have come out of it and because of it. That’s why we can’t afford to allow Democrats to willingly and strategically remove Confederate monuments and, thereby, selectively erase parts of our past they don’t like. Because, whether they like it or not, slavery had both good and bad things about it. Not only was it a risky decision to abolish it; it’s even riskier to remove all traces of it now. Why kill the goose that laid the golden egg? It makes no sense,” Allen concluded.