President Donald Trump let fly another tweet-storm Thursday, questioning the wisdom of tearing down Confederate monuments. Rather than doing what almost any other politician would do in the face of withering criticism, The Donald went on the offensive – not to clarify any previous remarks about the Charlottesville protest and counter-protest, but to address the wider issue of our heritage.
Trump posed an important question to reporters during a press briefing Tuesday. “[I wonder] Is it George Washington next week?” He asked this referring to the removal of the General Robert E. Lee statue. “And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself ‘where does it stop?’”
Conservatism is, in part, about protecting traditions and traditional values. President Trump appears to understand this more than many conservatives, who have sat on their hands while American history is torn down. For 50 or 60 years, give or take, memorials to Confederate soldiers and leaders have stood, unmolested, in public spaces across much of the country. That they mean different things to different people is certain, but they are, still, a part of America’s history. Trump is quite correct to wonder where it stops. Already, some on the left are raising questions about statues of other American leaders. Over the weekend a statue of Thomas Jefferson at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia was vandalized. According to a report from ABC affiliate 13 News Now, “The vandal(s) used red paint — apparently to signify blood — on the hands of the statue. The words “slave owner” was written on the brick pavement surrounding the statue.” A student group at the University of Missouri has demanded the removal of a Jefferson statue.
These are not the only calls for the removal of statues of Jefferson and even George Washington. The Lincoln Memorial in the nation’s capital was vandalized with red spray paint Tuesday. When one considers Abraham Lincoln’s leading role in the abolition of slavery in the United States, it’s easy to see that removing statues is not about the Confederacy or slavery; it is about the destruction of American heritage.
Early Thursday, in a series of three tweets, the president expressed the concerns that every American patriot should feel on this issue.
Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson – who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish! Also …the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!
Over the weekend, we may well witness further meltdowns in the establishment media over Trump’s use of the word “beautiful” to describe the monuments. This would be yet more deflection, however, from the real moral of the story. When one sits in silence as certain “offensive” portions of a nation’s history are removed, one should not be surprised when a whole different part of history is suddenly declared “offensive” and that, too, is erased. Make no mistake, the destruction of American history has begun. The only question that remains is how much of it will disappear before people stand up and say “enough!”