Last week, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered a review of “symbols of hate” on city property. It got off to an okay start I guess. Some plaques to Robert E. Lee were removed, and this:
The commemoration for Nazi collaborator Philippe Pétain in the Canyon of Heroes will be one of the first we remove. https://t.co/hAnGmkCdtg
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) August 16, 2017
Inadvertently, the Petain statue highlights some of the problem with de Blasio’s PC jihad. Petain kept the French Army fighting at Verdun and was instrumental in defeating the German 1918 Spring Offensive or Kaiserschlacht that came very close to knocking France and Britain out of the war before American power could be felt. Unfortunately for him, he’s best known as the figurehead president of Vichy France. Cherry-picking lives is a perilous task. (As an aside, a figure that is a close analog to Petain is Polish General Wojciech Jaruzelski who led the martial law crackdown on Solidarity in December 1981. Reviled as a traitor at the time, since then many have come to see martial law as preventing a Soviet invasion–like Hungary 1956 and Czechoslovakia 1968–and actually facilitating Poland’s break with the USSR in 1989.)
The point here is not that Petain was a great guy or that there is anything particularly evil about taking his statue down but that iconoclasm based on arbitrary and politically driven criteria rarely works out well for society. Ominously, the story ends:
CBS2 reached out to de Blasio’s office to find out what criteria they will be using to determine which plaques and monuments across the city should be removed, but are still waiting for a response.
Now we have the response:
The city’s 76 foot tall monument to explorer Christopher Columbus which sits in Columbus Circle could be considered for the chopping block, removed as part of the mayor’s new purge.
“He is a controversial figure, and I know that many people take offense to that, but for many of us who come from the Caribbean Islands we see him as a controversial figure,” Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito said. “We have to look at history. We have to look at it thoroughly and clearly.”
This is to be expected. Eradicating Columbus has been on the leftwing ‘to-do’ list forever.
A spokesperson said Viverito also thinks that Grant’s Tomb should be on the review list. Grant has been regarded by some as anti-Semitic.
“In 1862, he signed general order 11, expelling Jews from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi. I wonder if you think that given the large number of Jewish, he should be buried in New York City,” CBS2’s Kramer asked the mayor.
“Marcia, I’m not familiar with that history. Obviously I take it very seriously, but I’m not familiar with it. We don’t tolerate anti-Semitism in New York City,” the mayor said. “We have to look at each one of these cases. We’ll have a commission. They’ll come up with some universal rules.”
As ESPN showed last night with its decision to reassign Asian sportscaster Robert Lee from doing play-by-play for a football game in Charlottesville, VA, because his name might be scary, we are no longer on a slippery slope when it comes to this nonsense. We are in a total freefall into the Volcano Of Good Feelings.