Some of them have been around for more than a century. When everyone from FDR to Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama was president, they were just statues. Inanimate objects that stood in town squares or on college campuses. Whether you liked them or not, that was all they were.
Today? Donald Trump is president, and he likes the statues. Ergo . . . national crisis! The statues must come down immediately!
A longstanding national debate over Confederate statues, street names and other markers intensified this week following deadly clashes between white supremacist groups and counter-protestors in Charlottesville, Va. One woman was killed during the weekend mayhem, while two police officers died in a helicopter crash related to the incident.
Following the violence, communities across the country made new plans and accelerated existing efforts to remove statues celebrating Confederate leaders, including Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis. A handful of monuments have already come down in places like North Carolina and Florida, while others are expected to be removed shortly.
Some view Confederate statues as painful reminders of one of America’s darkest periods, when the nation was engulfed in a bloody civil war and slavery was the law of the land in many states. But others view their removal as an affront to history.
There are days when I think we have ceased to be a serious country, completely incapable of distinguishing the serious from the frivolous. Then every so often the country does something to make me think I’ve judged it too harshly. Like come together after 9/11. Or not elect Hillary.
Today? I’m firmly in the ceased-to-be-serious camp. We’ve got cities taking down statues in the dead of night. We’ve got sports teams offering to pay for statue removal. You’d think it had been discovered that the statues cause Mad Cow Disease, and that removing them is the only conceivble cure. But no. It’s just this week’s media frenzy of the moment.
Let’s review how we got here. Charlottesville, Virginia decided to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee. Whether you agree with that or not is not the issue. That’s what they decided to do.
A bunch of white supremacists come out to protest this. The actions of the white supremacists do not trigger the national statue-removal emergency. They’ve done this sort of thing before. But then, Donald Trump condemned them, but not in the words the media said he should have used. Or as the left would have you believe, Trump endorsed Naziism!
No he didn’t, of course, but lots of people think he did because the media said that. But today was the coup de grace. Trump declared that the statues are beautiful and should not be taken down.
Urgent immediate crisis! If Trump says that, then every statue in America must be taken down immediately! We’re mobilizing to remove these statues with the urgency of a doctor getting the transplanted heart into place before the guy off to the side gets tired of pumping. If we took paying off the national debt this seriously, well, you can only imagine.
America, you are capable of doing amazing things. All you have to do is decide you want to. But usually, you mobilize, pool your resources . . . and do dumb, pointless things. If you’d return to focusing on more serious priorities, well, that might even make America great again.
Dan Calabrese’s column is distributed by HermanCain.com, which can be found at HermanCain.com
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