This morning, in addition to slagging on Senator Lindsey Graham and basically endorsing Jeff Flake’s primary opponent, President Trump took some time to comment on the rise of iconoclasm in the United States.
While I might disagree with Trump on the aesthetic argument, in principle I think he gets this issue completely correct.
The impulse by the left and its willing followers among Vichy Republicans to destroy the memory of the American Civil War is rather astonishing. I’m a Southerner and a Virginian. I have Don Troiani’s Bronze Guns and Iron Men in my study. All the adult males in my family tree wore gray, though the bloodline has now been diluted by New Yorkers. None of them owned slaves. They went to war because their state called on them to defend her and to fight beside men of their own name. I had relatives fight at Gettysburg and Chickamauga and Malvern Hill and die in the death camps at Point Lookout, MD, and Camp Chase, OH. A great aunt lost four husbands in five years of war. Those who survived took their paroles, eventually had their civil rights restored, served their communities and lived productive lives, and in time they sent their sons and grandsons and great grandsons off to fight for America in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle East. And they did so in very high proportions. They are entitled to a remembrance of their martial spirit and accomplishment be it on the courthouse square or a national battlefield park. That is why the statues in question are of Southern yeoman farmers or generals. They aren’t statues to the great landowners whose offspring were exempt from the draft because they did own slaves. If you don’t like it or want something different remembered, fine. Erect your own statues But you aren’t entitled to destroy history.
(Let me say here, that there are Confederate monuments that I don’t fully understand. Apparently, there is a Robert E. Lee statue in New York. I can’t explain that. Ditto for the monument in Montana. What happens to these should be left up to the communities hosting them.)
Right now we are at a moment where this idiocy can be stopped. Most Americans realize the utter stupidity of what they are seeing.
— Steven Shepard (@POLITICO_Steve) August 17, 2017
You can laugh all you want but once you allow this destruction of history to take root there will be no way to stop it.
This insistence that any monument that offends anyone has to be removed is Jacobin in nature and has no logical floor. Since Saturday we’ve heard more calls for the destruction of statues of George Washington and the elimination of the Jefferson Memorial because both of these men owned slaves. The people making these calls are not random twitter users:
If you're in 27 percent who want statues removed, what do you plan to do to convince the 62 percent? Or are you just going to do it anyway? https://t.co/psSHmwYTc5
— Ben Domenech (@bdomenech) August 17, 2017
What is next? Do we allow people whose ancestors were Tories to demand the removal of all mention of the Revolutionary War because it was the British who freed slaves and the American army that was fighting to preserve slavery in that war and the Patriots were actually traitors to their lawful monarch? Do we demolish the memorial to the dead of the 7th Cavalry on Last Stand Hill because they fought an unjust war against the Plains Indians? Do we bulldoze Jamestown? And what about Columbus?