John Davidson, Opinion contributor
Published 7: 12 p.m. ET June 29, 2020
Monuments to the best of us remind us of our high ideals, and monuments to the worst of us remind us what not to repeat: Another view
Today in America a radical mob is tearing down monuments and demanding military bases be renamed. It isn’t about fighting racism or removing symbols of slavery. It’s about tearing our country apart.
We know this because the woke mob isn’t just going after Confederate statues; it’s going after monuments and namesakes that span from Christopher Columbus to George Washington to Theodore Roosevelt.
Recently, a mob in San Francisco pulled down a monument to Ulysses S. Grant for the crime of having briefly owned a slave. Never mind that Grant led the Union army to victory against the slave states of the Confederacy, or that he freed his one slave before the war broke out. Grant has been canceled along with other Union leaders like Adm. David Farragut and Gen. George Thomas, whose statues were recently defaced by vandals.
The mob has also targeted statues of abolitionists like Matthias Baldwin, whose monument in front of Philadelphia City Hall was spray-painted with “murderer” and “colonizer.” Never mind that Baldwin fought slavery, defended Black voting rights and helped establish a school for Black children.
Clearly, there’s no limiting principle here. That’s why monuments to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson have been pulled down, and why some are calling for a statue of Abraham Lincoln in Washington to come down.
The reason there’s no limiting principle is that the people pulling down and defacing these statues believe America itself is racist, not just Confederate leaders. Based on their logic, there’s no reason not to dynamite Mount Rushmore or blow up the Lincoln Memorial. They’re all symbols of America’s endemic racism.
Rather than accede to this radical interpretation of history, we should try to educate our fellow citizens. Monuments and place names should be part of that education. What glorifies in one generation simply — and profoundly — reminds in another. Monuments to the best of us remind us of our high ideals, and monuments to the worst of us remind us what not to repeat.
But above all, we should reject the false vision of American history touted by the mob. For all our faults, past and present, the United States is the greatest champion of liberty and equality in the history of the World.
John Davidson is an editor at The Federalist.
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