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Randy D. Gordon, partner at Barnes & Thornburg and executive professor of law and history at Texas A&M University. (Courtesy photo)

Public statues—in their ubiquity when coupled with the human tendency to habituate the familiar—are as consciously unnoticed as individual trees. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t mean anything. This summer, sculptures of Confederate officers, slaveholding founders, long-dead public figures who expressed racist views, Old World explorers, and—in proof that all movements have absurdities at the margins—Melania Trump have been pulled down or defaced (or, in the case of Trump’s Slovenian wood-carving, burned).

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