I am disappointed to learn that the Oak Bluffs selectmen lost their moral compass and did not immediately come out in favor of removing the Confederate plaques. My thanks to the Martha’s Vineyard NAACP for bringing this to the Island’s attention.

This is not an issue about supporting our veterans. The men and women who fought for the preservation of the United States as part of the U.S. military deserve our gratitude and praise for risking their lives and in countless cases losing their life in this cause. The people who fought against the U.S. in the Civil War renounced their citizenship and were fighting to destroy the Union in order to support a system whose survival depended on the enslavement of a group of fellow human beings. These soldiers were traitors. They do not deserve to be commemorated by my country and particularly my local community.

I am not aware of any monuments in the United States for the soldiers of Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, the Vietcong, Fascist Italy or for the British Red Coats in the Revolutionary War.

To add insult to injury, one of the plaques claims “the chasm is closed.” Nothing can be further from the truth. Racism and discrimination are still very much alive. Witness the murders in Charleston, S.C. and the rise of the KKK. Witnessing what went on at the OB meeting I fear that racism is very much alive right here on our beloved Island of Martha’s Vineyard.

My hope is that the majority of the voters of Oak Bluffs can see that the troubling message of these plaques has no place in public. I wish that they can sympathize with the pain that our citizens who are descendants of slaves feel when they view these plaques daily. May the voters make it clear to their elected officials that decisive action is needed and the plaques must be removed. All of us need to come to grips with the fact that the chasm is very much open and it will never be closed until we recognize this and address it in honest dialogue.

Bob Rosenbaum