On Saturday, white supremacist Richard Spencer led another rally to the same Charlottesville monument that served as an activist battleground just two months ago. In his man segment on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver tore down the argument for Confederate statues with a little help from fellow Daily Show alum, Stephen Colbert.
“The key fact about the Civil War,” Oliver said, is that “the Confederacy was fighting for the preservation of slavery. And that’s not my opinion. That is just a fact.” Oliver gave historical examples from Confederate State Constitutions and quotes from Confederate leaders.
Oliver also showed clips of Southern residents defending the memory of their ancestors. “I honestly get wanting a more comfortable history for your family,” Oliver conceded, “but in doing so, you can’t invent a more comfortable history for your country, because you’d be erasing the actual painful experiences of many Americans.”
“Monuments are not how we record history,” Oliver said. “Statues are how we glorify people.” He then argued that Confederate statues would be best preserved in museums, for those who are interested in learning about the history, not celebrating it.
So in order get everyone on board with the removal of Confederate statutes, Oliver suggested some replacements, including a giant alligator for Florida, and a life-sized Stephen Colbert for Charleston, SC.