As America contemplates removing Confederate Civil War statues, I was surprised to find a statue of communist leader Vladimir Lenin prominently displayed in the Fremont District of Seattle during a recent visit. While having breakfast at a Fremont eatery, I conversed with two young men who believed the Confederate statues should be removed and the Lenin statue should remain; suggesting Lenin represented “an alternative political system to the American capitalistic society.” They were not familiar with the Russian Gulags, the Red Terror Campaign or the concentration camps created by Lenin and the Bolsheviks. They were also not aware that the Bolsheviks seized crops from subsistence farmers to provide for the privileged and the Red Army during a famine resulting in the deaths of millions of Russian peasants. History is often ugly and we must be reminded of both the good and bad. Without the statue of Lenin, two young men in Seattle may not have had a conversation with a complete stranger; acknowledging that maybe Vladimir Lenin, a person who killed more people than Hitler, was actually an appalling historic figure and that communism is not a viable alternative to capitalism. Maybe the Lenin and Confederate statues should all remain.
Kelly Temple, Boise