Georgia holiday honoring Robert E. Lee should be removed


Courtesy of The Boston Globe

Voting opportunities should be maximized in Georgia.

In the Georgia runoff between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker, a state holiday remembering Robert E. Lee may inhibit voters from having the chance to vote. A voting law in the state results in having less time to ask for absentee ballots, stricter identification requirements, and a reduced number of ballot drop boxes. Many are pointing out that the new law passed last year hampers all groups of people from having a fair chance to vote and exercise a political voice.

In addition, the runoff will be held on December 6th, 2022 as a 2016 state law states that Georgia cannot have voting on the second Saturday before a runoff when the Thursday or Friday before are state-recognized holidays. Saturday, November 26th follows Thanksgiving and the Friday after is state-recognized Robert E. Lee Day.

Robert E. Lee, a Confederate general during the Civil War, fought for a side encouraging slavery. Lee was also against secession in the early 1860s and owned enslaved people himself. According to the American Civil War Museum, he inherited three to four enslaved families in the late 1820s and split families apart to pay for debts. In a letter written in 1856, Lee wrote, “the painful discipline [African Americans] are undergoing, is necessary for their institution as a race.”

Though Thanksgiving would still pose a conflict enacting the 2016 law, the existence of the holiday celebrating Robert E. Lee is questioned by many. Being a current official state holiday, it is time to remember history but not necessarily always have to view it as something to be proud of.

I’m not saying history shouldn’t be remembered, but the celebration of the birthday of someone who fought in favor of the existence of slavery and it having the ability to inhibit all groups from having an equal chance at exercising their right to vote should be reconsidered. There is an evident irony that lies in the situation that should be changed.