20A029 Monumental Folly by Jim Davies, 7/21/2020
One of the bizarre events of this crazy Spring has been the rash of vandalism in the destruction of public monuments and statues, usually of Confederate soldiers on horeseback. Prime culprits have been the thugs in BLM, who get nastier by the month. It's madness; the Confederates fought and lost, and were treated generously by the victors who did not prevent the erection of such monuments nor even the use of their battle flag; very different from 1945 after the defeat of Germany. Yet now, 155 years later, some Blacks and others are pulling them down.
Logically, if it's valid to desecrate all trace of slave owners, all streets and cities named after Washington or Jefferson should be expunged. There's even a State in the North West, that would need a new name; I wonder what. To avoid confusing the Post Office it would need to begin with "WA"... shall it be "Want" (the State of Want has a fair ring to it) or perhaps "Wash", to show it's cleaned off its disreputable past? I favor "Waste", for that's what states always do; or even better "War", as that's the primary business of all government. But those two stand only a slim chance.
The Nation's Capital would also need an anabaptism. "Sin City" would do nicely, as would "The Swamp", or "Rome on the Potomac." Perhaps they'll just pick "Columbia" and stay boring.
Mostly, I think it's all a shame; though I make an exception in the case of the brutal torturer Felix Dzerzhinsky. These monuments should stay where they are, for they tell the history of their time and place, and understanding history is vital, and that history should be known with warts and all.
The time will come when people will gaze upon a statue of Churchill, for example, and wonder how such a man could become so popular, when he played an active part in getting his country into not one but two major wars and so killing over a million of its people, while bringing it to the brink of bankruptcy. Absent a statue, absent the wonder.
Around the time of E-Day and following, we will similarly wonder at the sight of that huge stone erection around Abe Lincoln, the Prez who killed one American in sixty so he could continue to preside over 11 States which didn't want him, and so as to transfer great slabs of power to his Federal government. We'll wonder why anyone called him an "emancipator" when freeing slaves was never one of his war aims and when he never freed a single slave. We'll marvel at the awful power of constant, repeated mendacity in the schools and media; but without that statue, we might forget.
Also in the Nation's Capital (where else?) there's even a statue of Sherman, who laid waste to Georgia in his murderous March to the Sea, the first example in modern warfare of deliberately devastating the property and persons of "civilians." Does that statue need to be demolished, like that of Iron Felix, or is it better to leave it in place so that all can see the kind of human being that politicians honor? - I think, the latter.
Another statue in D.C. is of Gen. Philip Henry Sheridan. He expressed his view of native Americans with “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead." I'm not sure that those words appear on its plinth, but they belong there; if so, the same applies: it should remain, as a record of how that government employee thought and behaved.
Consider too the Reverend Colonel John Chivington, commander of the Sand Creek massacre: "Damn any man who sympathizes with Indians! ... I have come to kill Indians, and believe it is right and honorable to use any means under God's heaven to kill Indians. ... Kill and scalp all, big and little; nits make lice." This kindly Christian gentleman was not celebrated with a statue, but the massacre was; by one in front of the Capitol in Denver, CO - until it was torn down last month. Another government employee at work. These facts ought to be remembered for ever, and monuments help. It should have remained, as a reminder to all in the coming zero government society, of what government was like and what its employees did.
After a 2-month pause I made an entry today to the supplementary Jim's Wuhan Bug Blog about the possible source of the virus.