So who is behind this drive to scrub history and remove monuments that some in our society can’t emotionally deal with?
Well, according to a recent Marist poll, it’s not the typical college student, or millennials, in general.
Sure, the chaos on college campuses across the nation would make it seem that our youth culture, once the epicenter of burgeoning idealism, has somehow done an immediate reversal and become the place where individuality and free thought go to die. That may not be the whole story. In fact, it may just be a case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease.
A survey of 1,125 American adults conducted this week by The Marist Poll, in conjunction with National Public Radio and PBS Newshour, found that 60 percent of respondents aged 18 to 29 support maintaining Confederate monuments as historical symbols—roughly the same percentage reported among older age groups.
The 30 percent of Millennials who believe such monuments should “be removed because they are offensive to some people” also tracks closely with the 30-44 and 45-59 age groups, and is only somewhat greater than the 23 percent of those over 60 who expressed the same view.
In other words, the large groups that are gathering to tear down public property, or the anonymous vandals damaging monuments under the cover of darkness may be intimidating to authorities, but they’re still in the minority.
Notably,60 percent of Millennials also opined that “President Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville” was “not strong enough,” while 54 percent “disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing” compared to just 24 percent who approve.
In summation: History, good. Trump, bad.
Now the question becomes how to best deal with the violent anarchists who are using historical monuments as an excuse to destabilize our nation, one community at a time.
I’m all for letting communities vote on whether monuments are to stay in place or if they should be removed and placed in museums. The problem is, anarchists and the forces that are attempting to break down our society will not respect the will of the people.
Maybe we need to begin by recognizing that when a demonstration goes beyond holding signs and having speakers voice their opinions, it is no longer a “peaceful” demonstration, but rather an uprising, and that is not protected by the First Amendment.