Because time and demographic changes make a difference. If you were raised with The Elephant's Child, you might not realize Rudyard Kipling is a giant honking pile of colonialist garbage. You might want to defend him. Because that is a warm fuzzy memory from your childhood. Likewise for, say, the statue you saw as a 10 year old with your dad, who now has dementia but still remembers that statue. To you, it won't matter that that statue may not have even been put up to honour something positive done for society. It may have been paid and lobbied for by some weird special-interest group intending to prop up a stilted idea of historical significance.Question :
As I, and everyone else of sound mind, are utterly shocked and disgusted over the death of George Floyd. Does this warrant a sudden UK (worldwide) retribution on every single person in history who has had anything to do with the 'promotion' of slavery, however small? Now I'm guessing statues are erected for something the person elect has done, which has been of benefit to the immediate or far reaching community. I guess my question is, why now? Why has it taken 10. 20, 100 years to do this? Should history not be preserved to be discussed and critiqued? In the UK we have had content (EXTREMELY popular content) taken down from YouTube in the last 24 hours because there may have one or two things that people find 'offensive'. My immediate thought was religion. 65% of the population in this country hold a belief in one of the three main monotheisms. ALL of those codone slavery. Do we now start to scrutinise religion? (which of course we should btw).
The question: why now, not before? Is only a good one if you're seriously asking what the roadblocks and hurdles were before that prevented opposition to glorification of the worst parts of our history from successfully stopping it. But often that question isn't meant like that -- it's meant more apathetically: if it didn't work 50 years ago, or 100 years ago, why bother? It's been there all this time and nothing was done, so why change now?
But that would just make you a person who doesn't care, doesn't like change even when it doesn't affect you or when it might help make your community less full of what appears to an impartial observer to be the glorification of atrocities.
We don't need monuments and statues to remember history. That's why we have historians, and articles, and books, and documentaries, and docudramas, and historical reacreationists, and preservation societies (not, that is, of statues, but of, say, historic buildings, not for glorification of some person, but because it's a site of historical/archeological significance).