Will The Mob alone decide which images stand?
Is it art, adoration, or history?
There are thousands of monuments scattered across the American landscape, ranging from the exquisite beauty of Lady Liberty to the awe-inspiring magnitude of Mount Rushmore. These statues and sculptures are comparable to a giant jigsaw puzzle looking back in time, with each piece telling a critical story of this nation's history. Remove or lose some pieces and you can never accurately portray the picture on the cover of the box.
What makes someone's life-work worthy of being memorialized? Is it an unblemished lifetime devoted to heroism, philanthropy, bravery, altruism, genius, or a lineage of decisively positive history-altering leadership? Would you need to possess multiple combinations of these attributes in order to be considered "Monument-Worthy"?
It would seem Herculean for a mere mortal to reach mystical qualities laudable for canonization, but clearly our forefathers freely handed out that honor. For generations these bronze images and slabs of granite, limestone, or marble have enjoyed a wide breadth of leniency.
No longer. The cries are coming from the streets. “Tear them down.”
So, what horrific deed of hypocrisy, what misstep of justice, past or present, would cause a former hero to shed his or her paladin stature, to watch it eroded and decay into dust? What toxic unforgivable transgression, in some cases centuries old, would be on the resumé pointing to the end of his or her bronze immortality? Terms like betrayal, treason, cowardice, infidelity, and brutality may strip past idols of their statue worthiness.
But who is the final arbiter of truth deciding what monuments live and what monuments die? The answer so far: The Mob. Not the organized-crime mob, but the disorderly multitudes, the intent-on- causing-trouble-and-damaging-property mob. The Mob is in a hurry to right the perceived wrongs and lay waste to the eyesores of their injustices. The Mob has their sledgehammers ready; the only question is what will they smash next?
To date, hundreds of Confederate statues have been destroyed, vandalized, removed, but that's just the beginning. The George Washington monument in Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park was defaced with red paint and graffiti featuring the poetic affirmations of, “Destroy Racists and Black Lives Matters.”
The American Museum of Natural History in New York City will remove a statue of former president Theodore Roosevelt from outside its main entrance amid criticisms that it's racially insensitive. A World War II monument was defaced in North Carolina, while protesters in San Francisco toppled statues of Francis Scott Key, and President Ulysses S. Grant. In case you were curious, Grant led the Union Army as the commanding general winning the American Civil War – ultimately freeing the slaves. It would seem if The Mob were to find a statue "monument worthy," it would be Grant’s.
Here in our little haven by the Thames, the Whaling City Mob had their own coup. With the sun barely breaching the horizon, Mayor Mike Passero gave the order to remove the one-time Italian icon Christopher Columbus — splashed in red paint sprayed by vandals — from his perch at Bank and Blinman streets. Thus ended over 90 years of the "Master Navigator" gazing out at New London.
The blue tarp covering his head was eerily similar to a convicted criminal's final perp walk to the gallows. Silently and slowly, "Colombo” was lowered on a flatbed and shipped off to an undisclosed warehouse to await extradition. A few days later the council swung the blade and in a 6-0 vote banished Columbus forever from New London public land.
The New London Police Department, the newest trailblazer in progressive leniency, announced it would ignore video evidence and will not be charging people connected to recent incidents of criminal mischief, including repeated vandalism of the Columbus statue as well as, in the same protests, damage to a police cruiser and a substation. Shame on the police brass for caving to The Mob and bowing to the cowardice of political correctness.
How far are we willing to go with dismantling our history to appease The Mob? It may seem clear cut to the left, shattering the likenesses of Columbus, Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson. Send them to the museums.
But what happens when the sledgehammers strike at the images of those who formed the very foundation on which our self-governance was built? Are you ready to bulldoze the Jefferson Memorial or topple the Washington Monument? I, for one, am not ready for that!
So where is the line going to be drawn and who decides? It shouldn’t all be left up to The Mob.
Lee Elci is the morning host for 94.9 News Now radio, a station that provides "Stimulating Talk" with a conservative bent.
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