You can be for preserving all the confederate monuments throughout the South and yet recognize that slavery was the reason for the South’s secession, and you can recognize and accept both without being a racist or yearn to put your fellow man back in bondage.
History should be accepted and understood in the most unvarnished fashion possible. And the history, despite what some perhaps-well-meaning folks on the Southern side would like to argue, is pretty clear that the South seceded because of slavery. Slavery was the institution the South couldn’t bargain away, because the South was largely an oligarchy run by large agrarian interests depending on armies of slave laborers to harvest cash crops. Very few Southerners owned slaves, but a large number of Southerners made a living as a result of what the slave economy produced.
That’s the truth, and it’s why the South couldn’t make a deal to end slavery without fighting a war over the question.
It’s OK. You can recognize that, and you can recognize it as the wellspring from which all the other “causes” of the Civil War many argue were the “actual” reason for the war come.
We don’t need to play that game. We can recognize that yes, the South was wrong and yes, the South paid a terrible price for its sin and yes, the men who led the South to its destruction were moral and intellectual people despite being wrong on such a fundamental issue. Such is the complexity of humanity. An adult society can understand such things and recognize its history; it’s children who try to cheapen it with simplifications and outrage.
The South fought the Civil War because of slavery, and lost. The right side won. That doesn’t mean slavery was all the South had to offer, and it is good to carry forward the positive things while recognizing their dark shadows.