In a new interview with the cable network Newsmax TV, Country Music Hall of Fame member Charlie Daniels compared the removal of Confederate statues in the United States to Isis' demolition of historical sites in Iraq and Syria.
"That's what Isis is doing over in places … there were pieces of history that they didn't like, they were taking them down," says the 80-year-old Daniels, who went on to echo President Trump's tweets on the controversial subject. "Where does it stop? Is it going to be Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson or are we headed into Jefferson, Washington, who were both slave owners? How deep into history are we going to go?"
Daniels, a Southern-rock pioneer, who sang about the genre in 1975's "The South's Gonna Do It," says one needn't agree with the Civil War and the reason it was waged. "We all know what it was fought for. You don't have to condone it. But they are statues of people that are a part of our history," he says, admitting that not all of them were figures to be revered. "There are people who were part of our history who were not very savory characters."
As Daniels sees it, the answer isn't in removing Civil War statues of Lee, Jackson and the like, but simply turning away.
"If you don't like it, don't look at it," he says. "I walk past movie posters I don't like … there's all kinds of symbolism in this country that I don't like, but I'm not going to go tear them down. I just don't look at them … These statues aren't preaching or shouting out some kind of crazy epithets or something. They're just sitting there. Just turn around and don't look at them."
Daniels remains one of country music's most politically vocal figures. "Wonder if any of the radicals fomenting chaos would consider marching 2 save the lives of the millions of unborn that are murdered each year," he tweeted today, along with his regular tweets about the terror attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya. "Benghazi ain't going away!" he wrote.
Since the deadly clash between white-supremacist groups and counter-protesters on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia – facing off over the contested removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee – the appropriateness of Civil War statues has become a hot-button issue, with President Trump tweeting today, "Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments."