Desecrating and Whitewashing Our History
Rebutting the drive to rewrite history for the political ends of modern leftist radicals.
Ask a friend to name the bloodiest battle of the Civil War and the response is likely to be “Gettysburg.” Which is correct. But ask that same friend to name the second-bloodiest battle and you’ll probably get a shrug of the shoulders. That’s Chickamauga.
We mention this because our humble editorial office is near the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and because this park and its monuments had a special purpose: reconciliation. And because that noble spirit of reconciliation is nowhere to be seen in our nation today.
Two historic statues tell us all we need to know about the nature of our differences and about the enemy within. First, let’s consider the nearly 100-year-old statue of George Washington, which was toppled on Thursday night in Portland, Oregon. No arrests were made, but the vandals first wrapped Washington’s bronze head in an American flag before setting it afire, yanking it down, and continuing to vulgarly defile it.
As Power Line’s John Hinderaker put it, “This was entirely predictable, and now it’s happened. Anyone who thought liberals would be satisfied with demolishing the statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson doesn’t know liberals.”
We might take issue with Hinderaker’s swipe at liberals rather than leftists, because liberals once embraced our nation’s history and its values. Indeed, some 55 years ago, they fought for the most liberal value of all: free speech. As Dennis Prager brilliantly pointed out not long ago, however, “leftism is not liberalism.”
Still, the image of George Washington being desecrated by a mob of American citizens is a jarring one, and viscerally so. To view the video of this atrocity — to hear the giddy shrieking of those who watched it, to hear the thunderous clank of heavy bronze hitting cement — and not be moved is to somehow lack the gift of patriotism, the gift of being thoroughly American.
As for reconciliation, where can we start? And where does this end? How can we even begin to look for common ground with those bent on destroying the most fundamentally American of icons?
We mentioned two statues, and the other one still stands in Seattle. Indeed, it’s unblemished, and it thus fleshes out the other side of this intractable issue. It’s a statue of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. As Mark Powell of Australia’s Spectator puts it, “How ironic! Lenin’s Marxism was responsible for the death of untold millions. The first President of the United States, though, established one of the greatest democracies the world has ever known. The first produced violence and bloody revolution, the latter political and social freedom.”
Again, how do we reconcile with folks like this?
“The roar of the battle’s bloody storm has ceased,” wrote Sergeant McGee of the 72nd Indiana back in 1882, some 19 years after having survived the Battle of Chickamauga, “and all is still save the waves that sob upon the shore — those waves are the shrieks of the wounded and dying — and these are more horrible and trying to our hearts than was the storm of battle. In this storm of groans and cries for help that come on the black night air, manly sympathy for comrades and enemy make our hearts bleed.”
As we watch the desecration of our shared history by anarchist thugs and brainwashed young collegians, we should remember the 34,000 men, blue and gray, who bled at Chickamauga. And we should remember the raison d'etre of the park that memorializes them.
We should also consider that the Cancel Crowd won’t be content to merely topple statues of Confederate generals. No, they’re coming for Ulysses Grant, the man who saved the Union. They’re coming for Thomas Jefferson, the author of our Declaration of Independence. They’re coming for George Washington, the father of our country.
Finally, we should remember that elitist whites and not urban blacks are behind this orgy of desecration, and that it won’t in any way improve the lives of our African American brothers and sisters.
Correction: The Washington statue was in Portland, not Seattle as the article originally stated.