I Don’t Think So
Today marks the first birthday of The Blast. There was a hope this would be a celebratory essay about completing one year of producing 278 Blasts. Instead, of course, it is impossible to ignore the President’s reaction to the events in Charlottesville last weekend. Several months ago I wrote a Blast that proposed keeping Confederate statues only if an accompanying statue of a Black luminary were built next to it and a clear, honest historical narrative accompanied the paired statues, highlighting the brutality of slavery and making it clear the Confederate “cause” was white supremacy and nothing else. Charlottesville proved that the phony notion these statues were erected to “honor” some sense of Southern “heritage” is bullshit. These statues represent white supremacy and a “lost Cause” that fought, that left the Union (treason!), to protect the “right” to own and subjugate other human beings --- period. It is time to take these statues down --- and not because of “political correctness.”
Imagine if you saw a headline heralding “Angela Merkel Defends Nazi Statues” and read a story about the German Chancellor defending protestors who were railing against the removal of Hitler, Himmler, and Goering statues in Berlin. In fact, where in the world are statues of members of a losing cause commemorated in statues around a country? Ah, yes, the famous statue for those brave Bay of Pigs invaders in Havana; the classic Nicholas and Alexandra statues in St. Petersburg; the Ch’iang Kai-shek memorial in Beijing, etc. Maybe we can store all the Confederate statues in the Trump Presidential Library, along with a David Duke bust. Regarding the Nazis and World War II, The Allied Control Authority Coordinating Committee enacted the following directive in 1945:
The Control Council directs as follows:
On and after the date of this directive, the planning, designing, erection, installation, posting or other display of any monument, memorial, poster, statue, edifice, street or highway name marker, emblem, tablet, or insignia which tends to preserve and keep alive the German military tradition, to revive militarism or to commemorate the Nazi Party, or which is of such a nature as to glorify incidents of war, and the functioning of military museums and exhibitions, and the erection, installation, or posting or other display on a building or other structure of any of the same, will be prohibited and declared illegal; also the reopening of military museums and exhibitions.
Every existing monument, poster, statue, edifice, street, or highway name marker, emblem, tablet or insignia, of a type the planning, designing, erection, installation, posting or other display of what is prohibited by Paragraph I of this Directive must be completely destroyed and liquidated by 1 January 1947; also all military museums and exhibitions must be closed and liquidated by 1 January 1947 throughout the entire German territory.
Let’s be clear that the “Unite the Right” rally was about ethnic cleansing, that the Friday night “protest,” designed to “kick off” their weekend, intentionally echoed Nazi Germany. As reported by Joe Heim in Monday’s Washington Post:
They were going to march in a torchlight procession — a symbolic gathering meant to evoke similar marches of Hitler Youth and other ultraright nationalist organizations of the past century . . . The marchers took off at a brisk pace and immediately began yelling slogans: “Blood and soil!” “You will not replace us!” “Jews will not replace us!” Then they began chanting, “White lives matter!”
That is what these Confederate statues clearly represent --- and it’s what they have always represented. When we see the kind of demonstration like the one in Charlottesville, the idea erecting a Black leader’s statue to counteract a Confederate statue is a Fool’s Errand. What is even more disturbing, of course, is that the President of the United States defends the white supremacists and continues to portray the Free Press as “fake news.”
If you have not seen Vice's 22 minute documentary video, you need to (HBO & YouTube). According to Mother Jones:
“Charlottesville: Race and Terror,” follows Christopher Cantwell, an unabashed white supremacist who spews racist invective while traveling around with a band of neo-Nazis. Cantwell is a prominent “alt-right” shock jock who came to Charlottesville to speak at the “United the Right” rally. In the documentary, Cantwell and a posse of assorted white supremacists speak forcefully about the warped theories underpinning what they consider to be an impending and inevitable race war.
For anyone, including our President, who does not see that the alt-right, Neo-Nazis, and the KKK have been emboldened by the words from the White House, watch the documentary. Cantwell wants a race war --- and a race war that eliminates anyone who is not a WASP (or, in more common parlance, a NAZI). It is chilling because Trump’s unhinged and impromptu Trump Tower defense of these people guarantees more Charlottesvilles in the coming months. Trump’s claim that Washington and Jefferson were the same as Southern Confederates, while bemoaning “you’re changing history, your changing culture" reveals not only his ignorance but also his values. Donald Trump’s world is one of white culture and white culture over all else. When he makes a moral equivalency between Neo-Nazis and the counter protesters, he has revealed his own core beliefs. Slavery was an American holocaust. The treatment of Native Americans was an American holocaust. Japanese American citizens were put in concentration camps. To deny those events as part of our history and culture is the real “fake news” that this Administration wants us to believe. It is shameful.
Our President has given aid and comfort to bigotry and hatred, period. Where are the Republican leaders in all this? NOT ONE has called out Trump by name --- rather they are critical of “hate groups” and “Neo-Nazis” through their Tweets. Who will finally stand up to this blatantly immoral President and “speak truth to power?” Mitch McConnell? Paul Ryan? Where is the "leadership?"