If We Erase Our His­tory, Who Are We?

MidWeek (Hawaii) - - Front Page - Pa­trick Buchanan

When t he Dodge Charger of 20-yearold Nazi sym­pa­thizer James Alex Fields Jr., plunged into that crowd of pro­test­ers Aug. 12, killing 32-yearold Heather Heyer, Fields put Char­lottesville on the map of moder­nity along­side Fer­gu­son.

Be­fore Fields ran down the pro­test­ers, and then backed up, run­ning down more, what was hap­pen­ing seemed but a bloody brawl be­tween ex­trem­ists on both sides of the is­sue of whether Robert E. Lee’s statue should be re­moved from Eman­ci­pa­tion Park, for­merly Lee Park.

With Heyer’s death, the brawl was el­e­vated to a moral is­sue. And Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ini­tial fail­ure to de­nounce the neo-Nazi and Klan pres­ence was de­clared a moral fail­ure.

How did we get here, and where are we go­ing?

In Mary­land, de­mands have come for re­mov­ing stat­ues and busts of Chief Jus­tice Roger Taney, the au­thor of the Dred Scott de­ci­sion. Stat­ues of Gen. “Stonewall” Jack­son, Pres­i­dent Jef­fer­son Davis and Robert E. Lee have been pulled down in New Or­leans.

Af­ter Char­lottesville, pres­sure is build­ing for re­moval of the stat­ues of Lee, Jack­son, Davis and Gen. “Jeb” Stu­art from his­toric Mon­u­ment Av­enue in Rich­mond, cap­i­tal of the Con­fed­er­acy.

Many South­ern towns, in- clud­ing Alexan­dria, Vir­ginia, have stat­ues of Con­fed­er­ate soldiers look­ing to the South. Shall we pull them all down? And once all the South­ern Civil War mon­u­ments are gone, should we go af­ter the stat­ues of the slave own­ers whom we Amer­i­cans have hero­ized?

Gen. Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton and his sub­or­di­nate, “Light Horse Harry” Lee, fa­ther of Robert E. Lee, were slave own­ers, as was Thomas Jef­fer­son, James Madi­son, James Mon­roe and An­drew Jack­son. Five of our first seven pres­i­dents owned slaves, as did James K. Polk, who in­vaded and an­nexed the north­ern half of Mex­ico, in­clud­ing Cal­i­for­nia.

Jef­fer­son, with his ex­ploita­tion of Sally Hem­ings and ne­glect of their chil­dren, presents a par­tic­u­lar prob­lem. While he wrote in the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence of his be­lief that “all men are cre­ated equal,” his life and his de­pic­tion of In­di­ans in that doc­u­ment be­lie this.

An­other term ap­plied to the “Unite the Right” gath­er­ing in Char­lottesville is that they are “white su­prem­a­cists,” a mor­tal sin to moder­nity. But here we en­counter an even greater prob­lem.

Look­ing back over the his­tory of West­ern civ­i­liza­tion, which we call great, were not the ex­plor­ers who came out of Spain, Por­tu­gal, France, Hol­land and Eng­land all white su­prem­a­cists?

They con­quered in the name of the mother coun­tries all the lands they dis­cov­ered, im­posed their rule upon the indige­nous peo­ples, and van­quished and erad­i­cated the na­tive-born who stood in their way. They be­lieved Euro­pean Man had the right to rule the world.

And if be­ing a seg­re­ga­tion ven­er­ated in our brave new world, what do we do with Woodrow Wil­son, who thought Birth of a Na­tion a splen­did U.S. gov­ern­ment?

Nor is a be­lief in the su­pe­ri­or­ity of one’s race, re­li­gion, tribe and cul­ture unique to the West. What is unique, what is an ex­per­i­ment with­out prece­dent, is what we are about to­day.

We have con­demned and re- nounced the scar­let sins of the men who made Amer­ica and em­braced di­ver­sity, in­clu­siv­ity and equal­ity. Our new Amer­ica is to be a land where all races, tribes, creeds and cul­tures con­gre­gate, all are treated equally, and all move ever closer to an equal­ity of re­sults through the reg­u­lar re­dis­tri­bu­tion of op­por­tu­nity, wealth and power. We uni­ver­sal na­tion.”

“All men are cre­ated equal” is an ide­o­log­i­cal state­ment. - toric proof for it? Are we build­ing our utopia on a sand­pile of ide­ol­ogy and hope?

Nev­er­the­less, on to Rich­mond!

Claire Med­dock, 21, stands on a top­pled Con­fed­er­ate statue Aug. 14 in Durham, North Carolina. Ac­tivists on Mon­day evening used a rope to pull down the mon­u­ment out­side a court­house.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.