During the past year, we have witnessed an assault on our cultural heritage and history; the anti-American iconoclasm that gripped the activist economy throughout the United States is now a force of absolute desecration that will erase our entire history and heritage if given the chance. First, they came for the Confederate monuments under the bullhorn of racism. Quietly supported by mainstream conservatism, these same anti-American iconoclasts just as quickly turned against Lincoln, Grant, and other Union war heroes, much to the consternation of mainstream conservatives too blind, willfully or ignorantly, to see what the war against our art is about.
How did it come to this? As many know, there has been a “long march” through our institutions by anti-American and anti-Western liberals who see themselves as the vanguard elect eradicating the sins of white Western Christian civilization. These are their own words. Following the radical deconstructionist theories of the neo-Marxist left in Europe, these iconoclastic fanatics embraced the new theory of narrative power and oppression rather than economic power and oppression. Rather than a working-class uprising, a new nihilistic middle class would seize the reins of revolution and radicalism to destroy the bourgeois middle class they sprang from and, simultaneously, loathed.
Humans are story-making creatures. We love stories. And stories communicate ideals and morals to the next generation. Plato knew this reality well, which is why he held the poets in low regard; since the poets promoted falsity and immorality, they needed to be kept in check. Ever since Plato, we have been wrestling with the story of art, statues, and our public landscape.
The 1619 Project should be seen as a blessing in disguise for all patriots. It reveals, unambiguously, the ideology of the anti-American movement within America. America, per the 1619 Project, is irredeemably racist. It was founded on racism and became powerful because of racism and White supremacy. Every aspect of American life, the 1619 Project proclaims, has been untouched by our racist sin. Racism is, as has become ubiquitous, our “original sin” and “birth defect.”
The assault against our public memorials and statues, especially those commemorating Lincoln, Grant, the 54th Massachusetts, and the Founding Fathers, shouldn’t be surprising. Those desecrating barbarians loathe our public landscape, especially those places adorned with the Founding Fathers and Union heroes because those statues challenge their acidic fundamentalism. The iconography of American independence, abolition, unionism, and reconciliation stands as an enduring testimony to the goodness of America.
America is a land of freedom, progress, and opportunity. Nothing declares those realities better than our public statues and symbols. The story that these immortal and eternal statues tell is an America that is antithetical to the 1619 Project and its street barbarians and thugs.
Washington stands as a testament to the beacon of liberty to which we all aspire. Lincoln stands as a testament to true political courage, unlike the cowardice of Antifa and their ilk, in fighting for freedom, progress, and reconciliation. Grant stands as a testament to the virtue of military fortitude and determination, not to mention genius: Grant is the only commander of the war to have captured three armies (Fort Donelson, Vicksburg, and Appomattox). Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts, immortalized in Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts Fifty-Fourth Regiment by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, stands as a testimony to American courage and greatness, a monument to heroism and unity that revealed the courage of the American spirit.
So long as statues of the Founding Fathers, Lincoln, Grant, and the Union dot our public landscape, they tell the story of American progress, freedom, and the triumph of the better angels of our nature. Precisely because they communicate this story, it is necessary for the anti-American left to destroy the symbols of that story because they counter the false narrative that gives them their demonic inspiration and power. If America is, in fact, a land of freedom, progress, and opportunity — becoming freer and better as time goes on — then the narrative sway of the new vandals loses its grip. It is, therefore, imperative to destroy all statues and monuments telling the story of the America we know to be true: an imperfect union becoming more perfect as time goes on.
This brings us back to 1619 instead of 1776 or 1865. Seventeen seventy-six was a watershed moment in human history. Until recently, everyone knew this. Even Europeans long modeled their aspirations after America. (Now we seem to model ourselves after the Europeans.) Europeans flocked to the United States for the chance to participate in the growing movement to freedom and equality. The failed revolutions of 1848 and 1849 brought a new wave of Europeans to America’s shores as their last best hope to escape persecution. Many of the Forty-Eighters, like Carl Schulz, became important leaders of the new Republican Party.
The story of our cherished iconography and symbols, from the freedom promised and manifested in men like Washington, Jefferson, and Madison to the new freedom and equality advanced by Lincoln and the Union, had to be “re-evaluated” (a favorite buzzword among the barbarous left) as racist and, therefore, their endurance over our public square and space a legacy of that original sin of racism and white supremacy.
Our Founding Fathers began the great story of American freedom, progress, and hope. That story continued after they died, and their spirit remained with us. Lincoln said our founding was “a rebuke and a stumbling block to … tyranny and oppression.” If Lincoln was right, then the 1619 Project is wrong — and the 1619 Project can’t be wrong, so Lincoln has to go. (Not to mention Washington and the heroic bunch who founded the country whom Lincoln identified as having served as that rebuke and stumbling block to tyranny and oppression.) That’s the logic of the new vandals desecrating our streets and parks, whether from the streets or in public office.
According to the demonic spirit of destruction running rampant across America, insofar that any icons and symbols of our history and heritage remain, we must view them negatively, with hatred and disgust. Why?
Their goal is to have us renounce our noble history and heritage of freedom, equality, and progress. By surrendering our noble history and heritage, we prostrate ourselves to the anti-American forces who would see us exterminated as the only solution for our supposed sins. Theirs is a world without grace and forgiveness. Ours is a world of grace, reconciliation, and heavenly redemption, celebrated and memorialized in our sculptures and paintings reminding us of that reality. This world, antithetical to the acidic ideology of our opponents, cannot exist, so it must be destroyed.
This is why leftists hate the men who fought for greater freedom, equality, and justice. Washington and Lincoln must go because their presence terrifies the new left in America. If they are right, then the leftists are wrong. We must cherish our artistic and cultural patrimony because it tells a story. In cherishing our sculptures of freedom and progress, we have the superior story to tell — superior because it is also the true story. Ours is the real story of American progress and inclusion, freedom and equality. Veritas liberabit vos.
Paul Krause, American Thinker