Culture

Removing Rushmore

The insatiable iconoclasts are this time targeting a memorial to four key presidents.

Douglas Andrews · Jul. 2, 2020

How might we go about removing Mount Rushmore?

Would we do it Taliban-like, with cannons? Would the atmosphere be festive, with the gathered masses dancing around and shrieking with joy at each salvo, like they did when the statues came crashing down? Or would our National Park Service oversee a more “respectful” removal, with scaffolding from which to slowly, gently, somberly sand away George Washington’s 21-foot-long nose and then go from there?

We ask because what was once a world-famous American icon and a must-see destination for American families has fallen out of favor with the hard Left. And the hard Left has been on a roll of late. In a since-deleted tweet, even the supposedly more moderate Democrat Party itself said President Donald Trump’s planned visit to Rushmore was “glorifying white supremacy.”

Amid this kind of rabble-rousing rhetoric, how long will it be before we wake up one morning to see that a streak of red paint has defiled this glorious monument? Security has been tightened in recent years, and that’s good. But Greenpeace activists did get up there about a decade ago to unfurl a “climate change” banner.

Always eager to kick our country when it’s down, The New York Times weighed in yesterday with its own bit of sanctimony. “Native Americans have long criticized the sculpture,” said the Times, “in part because it was built on what had been Indigenous land. And more recently, amid a nationwide movement against racism that has toppled statues commemorating Confederate generals and other historical figures, some activists have called for Mount Rushmore to close.”

Taking up the guilt-by-association line of attack, the Times then went after Rushmore’s sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, and his connection to our nation’s largest bas-relief sculpture, the Stone Mountain work memorializing Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis. Mr. Borglum was guilty of cavorting with Klansmen, according to the Times. Oh, and anti-Semitism.

Unfortunately for the Times, its own “journalists” have a bit of a checkered history. As The Daily Wire reports, the Times was inundated with gentle reminders. Here’s one: “In 1851,” tweeted PragerU, “@nytimes founding editor Henry Jarvis Raymond published an editorial in which he supported a slaveowner’s legal right to recover his escaped slaves.” And here’s another, from Andrew Klavan: “The @nytimes, a #formernewspaper, was built on land that belonged to the Canarsee tribe and covered up both the Holocaust and the Communist starvation of millions.” Clearly, two can play the Times’s game.

Social scientist Eric Kaufmann recently wrote about the defection of the Left, about its renunciation of so many of our distinctly American institutions. When he asked a group of 870 folks who consider themselves either “liberal” or “very liberal” whether Mount Rushmore should be destroyed, 44% of the liberal group agreed, as did 58% of the very liberal group. So that’s what we’re up against.

As for this ongoing effort by the Left to unravel the very fabric of our nation — and the need for the rest of us to draw a line in the sand — perhaps a brief tweet from Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton said it best: “If we give this mob an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

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