SPECIAL TO THE CALDWELL JOURNAL (By Daniel B. Rundquist)…The recent events in Charlottesville and Boston and elsewhere are examples of how violent “protestors” are when it comes to not getting their way. Upset over the surprise outcome of the last national election, the unhappy members of the losing party are now turned to violence by increasing increments. We are witnessing – at an alarming rate – the protestations against and the subsequent removal or destruction of public and private objects that collectively represent American history.
Recently the Confederate Soldier’s Monument that stood outside the Old Durham Courthouse was torn down by “protestors.” Others support “blowing up” Mt. Rushmore and removal of all Civil War monuments across the country, including calls to remove the Jefferson memorial and other monuments in Washington, DC.
A bust of Abraham Lincoln was burned in Chicago, a Confederate monument in Kansas City was vandalized and has been requested to be removed, a bust of Christopher Columbus in Detroit is being “protested” and vandalized. Now a group of “protestors” wants to remove the Confederate Soldier’s Monument on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill, also referred to as “Silent Sam.” The Mayor of Chapel Hill has issued a letter to the UNC Chancellor asking for her to petition for removal of the statue, stating, “Clearly, the presence of the Silent Sam statue on campus presents a clear and present danger to the students on campus and our community at large.” (i)
So, for decades the inanimate object was a fine memorial and a celebrated part of UNC’s campus but just now it has suddenly become a “clear and present danger?” Of course, it is not so. The lawless mobs allowed to take over Franklin Street by force represent the “clear and present danger” but let’s not confuse the truth with mere facts.
I expect that the mobs will eventually be successful in removing Silent Sam, but he won’t be the last casualty in the war against the American veterans’ memorials. All across the country, municipalities and mobs are removing historical monuments. Even our N.C. Governor Roy Cooper has now bought into the notion presented by these “protestors,” stating on August 15th, “…I don’t pretend to know what it’s like for a person of color to pass by one of these monuments and consider that those memorialized in stone and metal did not value my freedom or humanity.” (ii)
American veterans are connected by a kind of brotherhood that is not understood by most ordinary civilians. Our veterans often feel a connection to those who served before them. Honestly, Governor, have you ever once considered how veterans and their families will feel when they see that you have supported the removal of memorials to their service and sacrifice? And you apparently believe that the veterans who fought in the war were some kind of Nazi-style ideologues – which is just plain stupid.
He continues, “Some people cling to the belief that the Civil War was fought over states’ rights. But history is not on their side. We cannot continue to glorify a war against the United States of America fought in the defense of slavery. These monuments should come down.” (iii)
Note to Governor Cooper: THESE ARE MEMORIALS TO OUR VETERANS WHO SERVED THEIR NATION. Do you really think that Confederate foot soldiers went into battle with the war cry of “For Slavery, for slavery!” This is as insulting as it is uninformed. A man who served as North Carolina Attorney General for 16 years should know better. Please take some time to learn your Civil War history before embarrassing the residents of your state any further with ignorant remarks designed to support the political agenda of your party.
He continues, “Our Civil War history is important, but it belongs in textbooks and museums – not a place of allegiance on our Capitol grounds. And our history must tell the full story, including the subjugation of humans created in God’s image to provide the back-breaking labor that drove the South’s agrarian economy.” (iv)
Excuse me, Governor Cooper, but you are neither a dictator nor an historian. Who are you to decide for us now that these memorials belong only “in textbooks and museums?” Many other people think differently than you do. And what about the soldiers who were drafted, conscripted by their government to serve – on both sides of the conflict? Were they not themselves “subjugated” by the government you today represent?
Just like the violent mobs, our Governor does not want to discuss or debate anything. By his statements, he expects North Carolinians to comply with his desire to remove all monuments statewide that memorialize our Civil War era veterans, and who knows what else? His position of leaving our historical monuments unprotected, and calling for their removal is both alarming and unacceptable. In light of such a position, the case could be made that he is simply unfit for office and should be removed. However, the citizens of North Carolina should not mistake the Governor’s statements for mere incompetence or even cowardice, -in fact he has now purposely aligned himself with the unruly Fascists like the ones filling streets in Durham, Chapel Hill, and elsewhere.
What is lost here, of course, is the enforcement of the simple rule of law. America is a nation ruled by laws, not by men. It is a violation of the law to assemble without a permit in most public places and to damage public property, like statues and memorials. It’s also against the law to assault a police officer and to trespass. As an American and a taxpayer, I am justifiably offended that my own state Governor chooses not to enforce the law and protect the monuments that we paid for and want to maintain in our state. It is the duty of government to enforce the law and protect public property.
But the ruse works like this now; a “protestor” whines and complains about an inanimate object he really could not actually care less about, and then rallies similarly minded people to his cause. Then the threat of violence is made by the mob until the object is either destroyed by the “protestors” or government caves in and removes the object without even asking the residents or taxpayers who actually own it. History is erased either way. Only four were arrested in Durham for destruction of their monument, but why did law enforcement permit it to happen in the first place? These “protestors” got what they wanted – destruction of the memorial. This is an outrage that must not be tolerated by the American people, period.
In a free republic, we may either debate or agree to disagree on the cause, purpose and rationale of the Civil War itself, but memorials to those who served have little or nothing to do with these issues. The debates over the monuments were settled long ago, which resulted in their present placement. North Carolinians traditionally celebrate the memory of those who served regardless how any one person or group might feel about the conflict in which they served.
America must continue to honor our veterans, not remove them and our memory of those who served. If anything, we need even more memorials for our veterans, like those that were recently erected in both Granite Falls and in Sawmills. I will go further here and propose now that every public street, road, and highway in America should be immediately renamed with the names of all our veterans from every conflict – from the Revolutionary War forward, beginning with those who fell on the battlefield. These are the people who in service to their country have secured our Liberty, not these modern political agitators, politicians, and phony “protestors.”
These “protesters” cry about “free speech” every time they are given a chance to be on TV. On August 14th, Black Lives Matter Chicago Twitter account, @BLMChi issued this statement: “After WWII, Germany outlawed the Nazis, their symbols, salutes & their flags. All confederate flags & statue, & groups should be illegal.” That does not sound much like support of free speech to me and that’s because en masse these “protestors” are not merely exercising their right to free speech as they may claim; they have a much larger agenda to erase actual American history and will without a doubt replace it with their own views. This is how revolutions begin and republics die – with the destruction of history. It happened in Rome, Constantinople, Russia, Germany, and other places at other times. Once the history is swept away, a new mindset is forced onto the people with often brutal results.
The evidence of the “protesters” intellectual dishonesty lies in the earlier reference to “protesters” in Detroit distraught over the bust of Christopher Columbus and in the vandalism in Chicago of Abraham Lincoln’s bust. Columbus was not even an American, and arrived here in 1492 – long before the slave trade ever did. He had nothing to do with anything related to the American government established in 1776. Lincoln did his best to end the horrible Civil War any way he could, and sought to heal the nation afterward. So, for the “protesters” this is less about “the Civil War” and all about dishonoring our American veterans – whom they apparently hold in contempt, and erasing American history that is inconvenient to their aggressive anti-American political agenda.