Despite the media and their Democratic counterparts working full speed to spin the lie that threats of political violence are on the rise in a polarized Trump era – with the Confederate monuments, they claim, serving as an “obvious flashpoint” – the events that took place in Charlottesville on August 12, and what President Trump said or didn’t say in the days after, did not lead to this.
True, the statue-bashing movement has accelerated since November. But this movement (1) existed before Trump, and (2) has increased only because Trump’s election showed the public demand for a greater sense of solidarity and confidence in our history – something the Left cannot accept.
The Left commenced vandalizing statues it disliked long before Charlottesville, long before Trump’s election and continues unabated in the wake of it.
In May, an anarchist group called “The Real Meow Meow Liberation Front” (no joke) took credit for vandalizing a New Orleans monument erected in honor of Father Abram Ryan, a Confederate-era poet and chaplain.
“The group published a photo of the spray-painted monument on a blog called, “‘It’s Going Down,’ a site that describes itself as an anonymous outlet for groups with ‘anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements’ to ‘publicize and promote revolutionary theory and action’,” reported WWLTV.
The same group hit another New Orleans monument that same week: a concrete bust of Colonel Charles Didier Dreux, the first Louisiana Confederate field officer killed in the Civil War. The nose of the monument “was chiseled off and the base spray painted with a Circle-A symbol – the common symbol for anarchy,” the Mid-City Messenger reported (New Orleans has had problems with the Left attacking monuments since Mayor Mitch Landrieu called on the city to remove four Confederate monuments in 2015.).
Earlier in May, two other incidents took place involving Confederate memorials. The word “SHAME” was spray-painted in yellow on a monument in Norfolk, VA, and, for those still saying Charlottesville sparked this movement, check out this report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about a monument vandalized in Missouri (emphasis added):
The monument has been targeted for relocation by Mayor Lyda Krewson, as it was by her predecessor. It’s part of a national movement in some cities to relocate Confederate statuary away from public spaces due to their connection to slavery and white supremacy.
Some who traveled from outside St. Louis to defend the monument said they understand why it upsets and offends people, but want to preserve history. One man carried a Confederate flag.
But those who want the monument to come down say it symbolizes hatred and a hurtful past they want removed. Many called those in favor of the relic white supremacists and Nazis. Some of them had “Black Lives Matter” signs.
A line of St. Louis Police officers watched as the groups gathered near the monument, which was ringed by a waist-high metal barrier. At one point, some of the protesters went through the barricade and marred the statue with a comment that included a profanity.
Overnight the monument was vandalized with blue spray paint and phrases including “stop defending injustice,” “this is treason,” “no KKK” and “black lives matter.”
Now, here’s an example of Trump’s early “involvement”:
In November last year, just a day after the 2016 election, two monuments were vandalizedin Richmond during an anti-Trump protest – one honoring Jefferson Davis and another honoring Robert E. Lee. WRIC reported:
Protesters shut down several streets as they marched near VCU chanting, “No Trump. No KKK. No fascist USA.” Some were also carrying banners that read, “not my president.”
A large group was also seen marching onto I-95 south in downtown Richmond, eventually shutting down the interstate in both directions.
In 2015, a year before Trump took office, Black Lives Matter vandalism had already swept the country.
“A rash of instances of property destruction, vandalism, and petty crimes have cascaded across the country unleashed by the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement as families grieve those killed by a lone gunman in a South Carolina church,” Breitbart News’ Warner Todd Hudson reported.
From burning the U.S. flag and replacing it with a black nationalist one, to defacing monuments in Maryland, Texas, and the Carolinas, the Black Lives Matter violence message spread under President Barack Obama.
In December 2015, vandals even went for the dead, desecrating nine monuments in the Confederate section of Raleigh’s Oakwood Cemetery, a private, non-profit that receives no public funding.
President Trump pushed back two weeks ago on recent calls to remove Confederate monuments, acknowledging the slippery slope we’re headed down, telling reporters, “This week, it is Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”
What’s missing here though is we fell down that slope years ago: the Left has been targeting statues of “racist” former presidents and other non-Confederate “symbols of white supremacy” long before now.
In April 2015, a statue of our first president was vandalized at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. “The bricks in front of the statue were spray-painted in black with the words ‘GW owned 318 slaves,’ followed by a phrase that included an expletive,” reported the student newspaper. “The base of the statue was spray-painted with an anarchist symbol.”
That same day, school officials at Chapman University in Orange, California, announcedthey had no plans to punish vandals who, a week earlier, defaced historic statues of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Ayn Rand on the college campus.
The statues were found “covered in caution tape and signs accusing them of racism and homophobia,” according to Fox News.
“Ronald Reagan is under student review due to Racism, Classism, and Homophobia,” read the poster underneath the bust of the 40th president, according to Campus Reform.
School officials, however, cited “free speech rights” as their reason not to pursue charges: “All Chapman University students and faculty are encouraged to speak their minds and express their personal opinions, both privately and in public forums, on any topics they wish,” a university spokesperson said.
Later that year, two separate Christopher Columbus statues were vandalized. Columbus has drawn criticism for being credited with discovering America.
In June, a Columbus statue in Boston’s traditionally-Italian North End was vandalized“with red paint and the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter.’”
On Columbus Day, a federal holiday some say celebrates colonialism and is offensive to Native Americans, someone in Detroit sent a similar message, vandalizing the city’s statue of Columbus “with a hatchet to its head.” The local ABC affiliate reported, “Red paint streamed down the front of the Columbus bust, like blood from a head wound left by the ax.”
A year later, protesters gathered outside the American Museum of National History in New York to demand the renaming of Columbus Day to “Indigenous People’s Day.” They also called for the removal of a statue of “racist” Theodore Roosevelt, “a stark embodiment” of white supremacy, the group explained.
The Guardian reported:
The group started with a 10-stop tour of the museum in which they highlighted a variety of exhibits they felt were racist and misrepresentative, which ranged from how the representation of Africans reinforces negative stereotypes to the exoticizing of Islam in the Hall of Islam exhibit. “Where is the Hall of Christendom?” one of the tour guides asked.
“It’s just to echo what this is, it’s really a hall of white supremacy, that’s what this is,” said Nitasha Dhillon, one of the organizers.
At the end of the tour in the hall, activists began chanting, “Respect! Remove! Rename!” before swarming around the large dinosaur skeletons in the lobby with signs that read, “DECOLONIZE THIS MUSEUM”, “ABOLISH WHITE SUPREMACY” and “BLACK LIVES MATTER”.
“Teddy Roosevelt’s nature was not empty wilderness. It was and is indigenous land,” one reader said as the organizers took turns reading from a speech. “Taken through violence. Just like Columbus who came to enslave. To take their gold and their bodies and their souls.”
Like Columbus, Andrew Jackson has become another popular non-Confederate target. A statue of the seventh president and former Florida military governor was defaced twice in one week in Jacksonville in 2015.
Jackson, who signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, receives blame for the removal of thousands of Native Americans from their ancestral homes, and subsequent deaths.
Later that year, another statue of Andrew Jackson came under fire in New Orleans. Malcolm Suber with “Take ‘Em Down Nola” coalition – a group that has been fighting to remove monuments in the Big Easy – said because Jackson “was a slave owner and the architect of the Trail of Tears that murdered more than 5,000 native people… he is not deserving of any place of respect,” the local ABC affiliate WGNO reported.
Another former president who’s come under fire is Thomas Jefferson, the founder of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. In February this year, a statue of Thomas Jefferson was vandalized with fake blood at the College of William and Mary, Jefferson’s alma mater. “On the ground nearby was a message about the man who penned the final draft of the Declaration of Independence: ‘Slave owner,’” reported the Washington Times.
In April 2016, protesters turned their rage to another, more modern, “face of oppression”, dumping red paint on a Denver, CO, memorial honoring more than 70 fallen police officers. According to the Denver Post, they also “plastered stickers on the memorial and nearby pillars” during a protest against law enforcement officers. “Each [protester] wore a mask made of black bandanas printed with AK-47s on them.”
As the incomplete list above demonstrates, attacks on our monuments and history are not about the Confederacy or Trump. They smash the symbols of America’s past because they do not like America, and, more importantly, the story of America, as currently written. The story – our history – the American identity forged over hundreds of years must be undermined, subverted, and rewritten. To form a new, progressive society – free of a “dirty,” “racist,” “oppressive” past – the statues and monuments of old must go. This is about making yesterday’s heroes today’s villains.