The Weeping of the Statues

As we try to understand the seemingly indeterminable nature of desires motivating the vicious mobs currently roaming our streets, we must make one thing clear: Tempting as it is to believe, these mobs are not aimless. They are not guided solely by the whims of the moment, even if many of them seem uninformed and ignorant. They have a very clear goal in mind, and it is truly an evil one.

What we are witnessing is the birth of the final form of leftism, in all of its rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth hatred of everything around it. Because the Left is an ideology based solely on the call for “change” and “progress,” with no clear end ever in sight, it is always moving forward and shifting repeatedly in its positions on the issues. The issues themselves are never the point. The movement is an end in itself. Their greatest obstacle, therefore, is anything that stands the test of time or reminds us of our shared and noble history. 

In a world of constant change and progress, history becomes less of a foundational basis for society and more of a pesky reminder of how obsolete and misguided our past must be today. History must be condemned, not remembered.

Enter the war on our statues.

Once again, the Left has played its cards well. Just as they did with their successful push for the rapid advancement of the LGBTQ agenda, they started off with a simple claim. Then, it was all about fairness. They just wanted to guarantee that gay people could have “equal rights” and celebrate love the same way heterosexuals do. With a majority of the well-meaning population on board, they got what they wanted.

Then, before we knew it, they began pushing “drag queen story hours,” the homosexualization of iconic pop culture characters, and the notion that seven-year-olds should be free to have their genitals mutilated if they (or rather, their parents) simply feel that they are of a different gender.

So too has it been with monuments. They started off simply demanding that monuments dedicated to the Confederacy come down, so that we would not “celebrate racists” or treason against the Union (tell that to the residents of CHAZ).

But President Trump himself warned us back in 2017, shortly after the first major battle over such a monument that nothing would stop leftist mobs from targeting monuments to America’s Founders. And he was right because none of this was ever about racism or tyranny. It is about tearing down everything that made America, America. Or, as recent events show, it is about tearing down everything that made the West, the West.

Shattered Visages Lie

Although attacks on Confederate monuments around the country have increased exponentially, they haven’t stopped there. They vandalized both the Lincoln Memorial and the World War II Memorial, on the same day that they tried to burn down one of the most historic churches in our nation. Multiple statues of the legendary and brave explorer Christopher Columbus have been torn down, or have been decapitated in vicious acts of retroactive execution.

Even statues dedicated to true racial equality have not been spared. In Boston, a memorial to the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, the first-ever all-black unit in the Union Army, was tagged with “Black Lives Matter,” as if these mobs have anything to teach those brave men. In Philadelphia, a statue of Matthias Baldwin, one of the earliest prominent abolitionists in America, was vandalized with the word “Colonizer.” 

It is not even a matter of the irony being completely lost on the protesters; it is a matter of sheer hatred of our history altogether. They see every single monument and every single statue as a target.

Even more frightening is the fact that such desecration of historic sites is not limited to our burning country. Across the Atlantic, similar acts of vandalism were carried out against a statue of Abraham Lincoln and a statue of Winston Churchill, both located in London. Vandals have even hit a statue of Scotland’s warrior king Robert the Bruce, baselessly accusing him of being a racist. And now there is a growing movement on the Left in the United Kingdom to remove statues of the father of India, Mahatma Gandhi.

To a person of reason, none of this makes sense. If the movement is about racial equality, then why vandalize the memorial of the man who freed the slaves? If it is about opposing fascism, then why deface the statue of one of the men who was most instrumental in bringing down Nazi Germany? If it is about resisting imperialism, then why demand the erasing of a man who won his nation’s independence from the largest empire in history?

Because it is not really about any of these things. This movement is not about racial justice; it is about racial vengeance. It is not about opposing fascism, but imposing fascism on their terms. In short, it’s about taking power.

Sneer of Cold Command

At the core of this violent and totalitarian push to erase our history is an extreme case of hindsight gone wild. The Left has ingrained in their collective mind the notion that we must judge history through the lens of what is considered to be acceptable in today’s society, especially when it comes to race.

But this is no objective standard of right and wrong, as might be found in our country’s founding document, the Declaration of Independence. 

Instead, things that are considered “racist” today are things that were considered perfectly in keeping with justice and fairness, not just 200 years ago, but even two years ago. Moreover, the historic and noble achievements of some of history’s greatest men are rendered null and void simply because they could do nothing about other circumstances of the times in which they lived. The significance of what they did—creating new countries and liberating an entire people—are nothing to the Left when some unrelated racial prejudices or arbitrary societal norms happened to exist at the same time.

This means that everything must go. 

For now, statues honoring dead white men must come down. How long before statues of black men insufficiently “woke” to LGBTQ issues come down, too? Monuments built during the time of slavery, whatever the opinions on slavery of the people depicted in them, have to go. Memorials to men who, though fighting for the Union, apparently didn’t “do enough” to liberate people of color are not safe from vandalism. And blacks who fought on the side of the Union evidently don’t merit our admiration, either. After all, as far as the Left is concerned, they were complicit in a cause advancing the good of a fundamentally flawed and racist nation. 

The Left will not stop until all of history is erased.

Never mind that such monuments have stood for hundreds of years, inspiring generations of Americans to strive as those depicted once did to engage in acts worthy of commemoration. Never mind that some of these monuments have come to symbolize Western Civilization itself. To the Left, they are targets not only because they represent a history that it wishes to destroy, but because these targets, unlike the living and breathing men with whom leftists disagree, are unable to defend or give an accounting of themselves. 

The destruction of a statue may not, at first, seem as tragic as the death of a person; and these riots have seen plenty of both kinds of destruction. But the long-term implications easily can be just as devastating, for the loss of a statue represents the erasure of the valuable lessons history can teach us, be they good or bad. It represents willful ignorance.

Nothing Beside Remains

If any of the rabid and vulgar heathens in the streets actually had a sense of culture, then they would be taking a page from the lessons of “Ozymandias,” one of the greatest poems of all time.

It is a very short but extremely powerful and frighteningly prescient poem. In it, Percy Bysshe Shelley describes a decaying and “half sunk” statue in the sands of a distant desert, bearing an inscription that reveals it to be a sculpture of the ancient Egyptian king Ozymandias (otherwise known as Rameses II), most infamously remembered as the pharaoh of the Exodus. 

“Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” The plaque proudly declares, only there is absolutely nothing remaining of the once-great empire the overconfident king had built in the 13th century B.C., save for the lonely and broken statue.

Today, ours is a civilization under attack not from the elements, or from invading outside forces, but from an insidious and self-destructive faction of our own society. They are already hard at work making sure that the things most likely to survive the passage of time—the statues—are the first to go so that when they finally achieve their goal of destroying the West, there will truly be nothing left.

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui Trinkl/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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