A few days after the explosive violence in Charlottesville last year, President Trump made headlines with a press conference in which he supposedly committed a great sin by telling reporters that there was enough blame to go around on both sides of the protest. As undeniably true as that comment was (if, arguably, not the right tone for the situation), what he said later was even more true.
Remarking on the genesis of the protest on the “alt-right” side of things, Trump said correctly that there were people in Charlottesville who did not think it was right to take down the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. And he said that Lee would not be the last target for those who want to whitewash our nation’s history.
“So this week it’s Robert E. Lee,” he said. “I noticed that Stonewall Jackson’s coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you all — you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”
Even at the time, leftist extremists could not deny the kernel of truth in Trump’s words because already there were people in Charlottesville complaining about living in the “shadow of Monticello.” Jefferson, after all, was a slave owner. Why not bring memorials to him down as well? So what if he was a certified genius and one of the indispensable founders of the United States? So what if he left a trove of writings that are among the wisest, most thoughtful commentaries ever committed to Western parchment? So what if he drafted the Declaration of Independence? He owned slaves, so he needs to go.
Well, we are now at the point where the left – so ashamed of our country’s history – has declared victory over the Confederate monuments and is now ready to move on to their next target: U.S. presidents. And the next phase of this destructive movement is beginning in Arcata, California, where the liberal community is planning to take down the statue of William McKinley.
“No other city has taken down a monument to a president for his misdeeds,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “But Arcata is poised to do just that. The target is an 8½-foot bronze likeness of William McKinley, who was president at the turn of the last century and stands accused of directing the slaughter of Native peoples in the U.S. and abroad.”
It is wrongheaded to think that Confederate statues stand in celebration of slavery, but you can almost understand why a certain percentage of African-Americans would see them in that light – especially when the Democrats and the media doing everything possible to put them in that exact context. Likewise, it’s understandable that modern Native Americans would have a problem with statues that appear to glorify symbols of European conquest and later figures like McKinley that helped expand the U.S. territory west of the Mississippi.
But the fact remains that this is our nation’s history. And if you love and treasure this country, then you are “celebrating” that history every time you go to the beach, open up your iPad, or have a mocha latte at Starbucks. By living here and enjoying the fruits of modern Western democracy, you are giving your tacit approval to what your ancestors did to make it possible. It seems not only hypocritical to say, “Oh, we’ll take down this statue and make everything better,” but wildly naïve. Even the luxury of “looking back” on the sins of our forefathers is only possible BECAUSE of what they did to create this exceptional nation.
Is it helpful to ponder questions of humanity and progress? Is it instructive to take a moment to consider things from the other perspective when thinking on America’s past? Absolutely. This is how we get better as a people.
But that’s not what destroying these statues is about. This is about erasing the sins of our past and then walking around with our shoulders held high like we did something meaningful. This is about giving the idiots of the reactionary left another “victory” over the brutish straight, white, Christian, cisgender MEN of our founding. This is about trying to create some idealistic multicultural utopia where there is no conflict because everyone just gets along.
Well, we’ve seen that communist dream play out before. Far too many times.