Growing up, these commentators were taught and unashamedly believed that America was the greatest nation on earth. Today, understatement aside, that conviction is no longer entirely fashionable.
Now, people across the country watch in horror as memorials to men and women widely regarded as heroes in establishing that greatness are threatened, toppled or taken away:
- Christopher Columbus, once hailed as “the discoverer of America,” but now no longer welcome even in the state capital named after him.
- George Washington, long revered as the “Father of His Country,” and Thomas Jefferson, honored this weekend in particular as the primary author of the Declaration of Independence – today reduced to mere “slaveholders” in the minds of much of the public.
- Andrew Jackson, stalwart defender of the Union whose majestic mounted sculpture in Lafayette Park was vandalized in full view of the White House.
- Teddy Roosevelt, the progressive who risked his reputation to invite Booker T. Washington to dinner at the White House and courageously advocated better conditions for African-Americans.
- Ulysses Grant, who as commander of the Union forces won the war that freed slaves and as president was recognized as an early proponent of civil rights.
And now, the replica of the breathtaking memorial to Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, will be coming down in Boston by unanimous vote of the city’s Art Commission. Even as protestors take aim at the original in Washington D.C., a tribute paid for by freed slaves.
The utter randomness of the attacks would seem a sign of advancing collective insanity – but it’s actually nothing of the sort. Rather, the assault on symbols representing potentially anyone and everyone connected with America’s past is a feature, not a bug, of a radical movement.
Along with riots and looting, vicious insults toward the police and efforts to defund them, and the accelerating cancel culture, it’s all part of a concerted effort to obliterate our history as the first step in wiping out our way of life.
The end objective: fulfillment of the chilling threat by Black Lives Matters Greater New York President Hank Newsome to Fox News’ Martha McCallum: “(I)f this country doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it.”
In the midst of the tumult, one leader in particular – besides the president – has stood strong: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem. Local Native American leaders have attacked Mount Rushmore as a symbol of “structural racism that’s still alive and well in society today” – and Democrats incredibly labeled an Independence Day celebration there, with Donald Trump in attendance, as “glorifying white supremacy.”
But Noem courageously responded to a suggestion that the monument be slotted for extinction with a terse but decisive “not on my watch.” (A latter-day version of Gen. Anthony McAuliffe’s famed one-word response to a German surrender demand: “Nuts!”)
The governor, also a champion of the resistance to Nanny State pandemic shutdowns, elaborated to Fox News, “This is no longer about equality. This is a radical rewriting of our history and in South Dakota we won’t stand for it.”
Noem’s bold and unbending stance – and expression of sentiments many of all generations still share – brings to mind a potential partial solution to the war on America as we’ve known it.
What if, instead of being destroyed, these iconic monuments to great, if flawed, men and women can be relocated to red states – and locales – where leaders and citizens actually want to preserve the history, culture and traditions that built America into Ronald Reagan’s “shining city on a hill?”
For example: statues of the four great presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt? They’d fit in great right below their images on Rushmore, where the Divine Guv N. could keep watch on them. Perhaps some localities in Kentucky, currently misruled by a Democrat governor but largely red, would also welcome a monument or two to Honest Abe, their native son.
The Great Explorer Columbus? How about Florida, a Republican-led state closest to his landings?
Grant? In addition to his home state of Ohio, where he was born (an area that is now a Republican stronghold), he and the abolitionists could be relocated to memorials in deep-red Texas. An association especially appropriate to the state that originated the Juneteenth celebrations, which brave and determined men and women such as Grant and the abolitionists made possible.
So how about it, Noem and other red-state leaders? Will you help preserve our nation’s history by maintaining and protecting these long-standing symbols of American Greatness – before it’s too late?
Kathleen Crowley is a corporate and community relations professional with extensive experience in public policy advocacy. Bob Maistros, a messaging, communications and crisis specialist and former political speechwriter, is of counsel with Strategic Action Public Affairs. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.