bookmark_borderJudge Kurt D. Engelhardt is awesome

On Friday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed a lower court’s decision to halt, temporarily at least, the immoral and authoritarian OSHA order forcing businesses with over 100 employees to force all of their employees to undergo medical procedures against their will.

Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt, who authored the decision, made some excellent points that had me pumping my fist and jumping up and down with joy while reading it. Some highlights are below:

  • “On the dubious assumption that the Mandate does pass constitutional muster – which we need not decide today – it is nonetheless fatally flawed on its own terms. Indeed, the Mandate’s strained prescriptions combine to make it the rare government pronouncement that is both overinclusive (applying to employers and employees in virtually all industries and workplaces in America, with little attempt to account for the obvious differences between the risks facing, say, a security guard on a lonely night shift, and a meatpacker working shoulder to shoulder in a cramped warehouse) and underinclusive (purporting to save employees with 99 or more coworkers from a ‘grave danger’ in the workplace, while making no attempt to shield employees with 98 or fewer coworkers from the very same threat).”
  • “The Mandate is staggeringly overbroad. Applying to 2 out of 3 private-sector workers in America, in workplaces as diverse as the country itself, the Mandate fails to consider what is perhaps the most salient fact of all: the ongoing threat of COVID-19 is more dangerous to some employees than to other employees. All else equal, a 28-year-old trucker spending the bulk of his workday in the solitude of his cab is simply less vulnerable to COVID-19 than a 62-year-old prison janitor. Likewise, a naturally immune unvaccinated worker is presumably at less risk than an unvaccinated worker who has never had the virus. The list goes on, but one constant remains – the Mandate fails almost completely to address, or even respond to, much of this reality and common sense.”
  • “It is clear that a denial of the petitioners’ proposed stay would do them irreparable harm. For one, the Mandate threatens to substantially burden the liberty interests of reluctant individual recipients put to a choice between their job(s) and their jab(s). For the individual petitioners, the loss of constitutional freedoms ‘for even minimal periods of time… unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.'”
  • “Of course, the principles at stake when it comes to the Mandate are not reducible to dollars and cents. The public interest is also served by maintaining our constitutional structure and maintaining the liberty of individuals to make intensely personal decisions according to their own convictions – even, or perhaps particularly, when those decisions frustrate government officials.”
  • “Health agencies do not make housing policy, and occupational safety administrators do not make health policy. In seeking to do so here, OSHA runs afoul of the statute from which it draws its power and, likely, violates the constitutional structure that safeguards our collective liberty.”

To say that the vaccine mandate threatens to substantially burden people’s liberty interests is an understatement. Almost nothing violates individual liberty more severely than requiring people to undergo a medical procedure as a condition of employment.

Engelhardt is 100% correct when he writes that OSHA has overstepped its bounds by enacting the mandate. OSHA’s job is to protect workers’ safety in the workplace, not to control people’s personal medical decisions or to shape behavior in order to achieve the government’s desired public health outcomes. Although forcing all workers to get either a vaccine or weekly covid testing does reduce the likelihood of a covid outbreak at a workplace, it is clear that the motivation of Biden and his administration in enacting the mandate is not specifically to make workplaces safer, but simply to force as many people as possible to get the vaccine. In other words, Biden wants everyone to get the vaccine, and his administration determined that an OSHA standard would be the most effective (and most likely to survive legal scrutiny) means of doing that. The fact that making everyone get a medical procedure does not fall within OSHA’s purview (not to mention the fact that doing so violates everyone’s rights) doesn’t seem to matter to the Biden administration. 

Nothing makes this clearer than the fact that the mandate applies even to workers who work from home 100% of the time. If the mandate was intended to protect workers from catching covid at work, then it would grant people the option of working remotely (if their job duties allow) as an alternative to vaccination or testing. If a worker never physically sets foot in the workplace, their vaccine and testing decisions do not affect the safety of their co-workers. Forcing remote workers to undergo medical procedures does nothing to improve workplace safety, yet this is exactly what the Biden administration chose to do.

By enacting this vaccine mandate, the Biden administration has perverted the purpose of OSHA. A government agency that was founded to protect workers from the harmful actions of employers is now being used to require employers to do harmful things to their workers. Let’s hope and pray that these recent court decisions are the beginning of turning the tide back in the direction of liberty, individual rights, and human decency.

bookmark_borderNo, hateful vandalism is not understandable

On Columbus Day, among numerous acts of hate and destruction that took place around the world, someone vandalized a cemetery in Middletown, Connecticut. This horrible excuse for a human being wrote profane graffiti about Christopher Columbus and about cops, as well as the phrase “land back.”

According to this article by the local NBC station, “Some people who spoke with NBC Connecticut say they don’t support the vandalism but sympathize with the sentiment.” For example, one person said, “I can understand where the anger and frustration are coming from,” and another person said, “I understand the anger and the vitriol that people have.”

Sentiments like these have been very common during the statue genocide of the past year and half. These sentiments are, frankly, unacceptable. 

Vandalizing a cemetery or church, destroying a statue or monument, scrawling expletives to insult a historical figure… all of these actions are cruel, hurtful, and morally wrong. It’s as simple as that. People who commit actions like these are bullies and bigots. They are motivated by intolerance and hatred of people who are different than them. They have nothing to be angry about, nothing to be frustrated about, and nothing to feel vitriol about. No one should sympathize with their sentiments. 

When the Oklahoma City bombing, or the Boston Marathon bombing, or 9/11 happened, did anyone say, “that was the wrong way to go about it, but I understand the sentiments?” 

No, they did not.

If a predominantly black church or a statue of a black person was vandalized, would people say, “I don’t condone vandalism, but I understand the anger and frustration?” 

No, they would not.

Yet when the victim of a vicious act of hate is a historical figure of European descent, the hate is somehow understandable. 

Every time a statue, monument, memorial, church, or cemetery is vandalized, the action needs to be condemned fully and wholeheartedly, not partially and with qualifications. Neither these actions nor the motivation behind them deserve anyone’s sympathy or understanding. 

bookmark_borderKim Janey’s hypocrisy

I posted earlier this week about Boston Mayor Kim Janey’s disgraceful decision to stomp on Christopher Columbus and Italian-Americans, but after reading some of Janey’s additional comments on that decision, I have more thoughts to share. 

In response to criticism by City Councilor Lydia Edwards, Janey replied, “Italian-Americans have a rich history in the city of Boston and certainly in our nation. We should celebrate all cultures, and I want to remind everyone here: Justice is not a zero-sum game. We can lift up the experiences of indigenous peoples, and we can also respect Italian-Americans.” (source: Stop Anti-Italianism)

I agree with this statement. But the problem is that Janey’s executive order obliterating Columbus Day goes completely counter to her words. 

If Janey actually believed that we should celebrate all cultures, she would not have gotten rid of Columbus Day. You cannot truly celebrate Italian culture without celebrating the very first Italian-American, Christopher Columbus.

If Janey actually wanted to respect both indigenous peoples and Italian-Americans, she would have created an Indigenous Peoples Day on a different date. Taking away Columbus Day inherently disrespects Italian-Americans.

Janey says that justice is not a zero-sum game, but her decision to obliterate Columbus Day makes justice exactly that. Needlessly, she took a holiday away from one group of people in order to create a new holiday for another group. She lifted up the experiences of indigenous peoples at Italian-Americans’ expense. 

Janey’s statement makes absolutely no sense given her actions with respect to Columbus Day. If she actually believed her own words, she would not have done what she did. There is indeed a way to lift up indigenous people while also respecting Italian-Americans, but obliterating Columbus Day is not it. 

bookmark_borderThe BAA’s discrimination against Italian-Americans

Disgracefully, the Boston Athletic Association, the organization that runs the Boston Marathon, has joined the chorus of those who are blatantly discriminating against Italian-Americans and anyone who admires Christopher Columbus. Because the race this year falls on Columbus Day, which has wrongfully been obliterated and replaced with “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in some places, the organization decided to grovel at the feet of the Indigenous community while completely ignoring all other ethnic groups, cultures, and perspectives. Here is an email that I wrote to them:

Dear Boston Athletic Association,

I am a lifelong resident of the Boston area who has always enjoyed watching the Boston Marathon. I am writing to share how hurt and disappointed I am with your decision to pay special recognition to Indigenous Peoples’ Day and to the Indigenous community, while completely ignoring Columbus Day and the Italian-American community.

On your website, you note that October 11 is “recognized as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in cities and towns on the marathon route,” but make no mention of the fact that this date is also Columbus Day, a holiday that is extremely important to Italian-Americans, or the fact that October is Italian-American Heritage Month. You issued an apology to “all Indigenous people who have felt unheard” but have made no mention of any Italian-Americans who may have felt unheard. Plans for Marathon day include featuring past and present runners of Indigenous descent, but no runners of Italian descent, as well as the creation of a mural that expresses “gratitude to the history of Indigenous runners of the Boston Marathon past and present,” but no works of art relating to Italian runners. Additionally, the BAA has donated $10,000 to WINGS of America, an organization that helps young Indigenous people, and $20,000 to an Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration in Newton, but to my knowledge the BAA has not donated to any Columbus Day celebrations or any organizations that help Italian-Americans.

Your decisions with regard to Indigenous Peoples’ Day were probably motivated by concerns about diversity and inclusion, but they are actually discriminatory, intolerant, and completely antithetical to the ideas of diversity and inclusion. Over the past year and a half, the Italian-American community has really been hurting due to the vicious attacks on statues of Christopher Columbus, one of our cultural heroes. Instead of acknowledging our community and the trauma and pain that we have suffered, the BAA chose to inflict further pain on me and my fellow Italian-Americans by excluding us.

The BAA’s actions with regard to Indigenous Peoples’ Day send the message that people like me are not welcomed or valued. As a result, I will not be watching the Boston Marathon this year. It might be too late to change the plans for this year’s Boston Marathon, but I hope that at future Marathons, the BAA will treat all cultures equally instead of singling some out for special recognition while excluding others.

Sincerely,

Marissa B.

bookmark_borderKim Janey stomps on Italian-Americans

It is painful to even type these words, but today Boston Mayor Kim Janey decided to stomp on the faces of Italian-Americans and everyone who loves history by abolishing Columbus Day in the City of Boston.

For most of my life, I have been proud to be from Boston. Starting when I was a teenager, I enjoyed exploring the different neighborhoods, cheering on the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, and Pats, visiting all of the T stops throughout the city, and photographing the various buildings, landmarks, and public art. But no more. The city of Boston has betrayed me. When someone inflicted horrible pain on me and on the rest of the Italian-American community by brutally ripping the head off of the Christopher Columbus statue, the city of Boston responded by doing nothing to comfort us or even to acknowledge our loss. The city of Boston responded by taking away one of the few good things remaining to us, thereby compounding our pain and rubbing salt in our wounds. The city of Boston responded by rewarding, not punishing, the people who inflicted this horrible pain. To say that these actions are mean, unjust, and completely lacking in empathy is an understatement. 

Clearly, the city of Boston does not value or welcome people like me. Instead of being proud to be from Boston, I am now ashamed to be associated with it. Any enjoyment that I once derived from spending time in Boston is gone.

There are no words adequate to fully express the moral wrongness of Janey’s actions regarding Columbus Day. Every atom in my body screams in agony at the injustice of this situation. So instead of writing words of incoherent rage, I will share a strongly but civilly worded email that I wrote to her earlier today:

Mayor Janey,

I am writing to express my hurt, anger, and disappointment at your executive order to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. This executive order is an example of something that has been far too common over the past year and a half – actively inflicting harm and pain on one group of people for the benefit of a different group of people that happens to be politically favored. This executive order takes away a holiday that is important to Italian-Americans, thereby excluding us from what is considered worthy of honoring and celebrating in the city of Boston. This is discriminatory, intolerant, and completely antithetical to the ideas of diversity and inclusion.

Over the past year and a half, the Italian-American community has really been hurting due to the dozens and dozens of vicious attacks on statues of Christopher Columbus, one of our cultural heroes. In particular, the beheading of the Columbus statue in Boston inflicted horrible pain on me as an individual and on the Italian-American community as a whole. Your executive order inflicts further pain on me and my fellow Italian-Americans by taking away yet another important part of our culture and heritage. Additionally, your executive order rewards the people who destroyed the statue by establishing a holiday in their honor.

In conclusion, this executive order sends the message that inflicting harm and pain on people is a good thing that deserves to be rewarded and celebrated. It sends the message that people like me are not welcome in the city of Boston. It sends the message that some people’s feelings matter, while other people’s feelings do not; that some viewpoints and perspectives matter while others do not; and that some cultures matter while others do not. Hopefully you agree that these are not good messages to send. I respectfully ask you to reconsider your hurtful and exclusionary executive order and reinstate Columbus Day.

Sincerely,

Marissa B.

bookmark_borderBiden’s totalitarianism reaches new lows

Thanks to the FDA’s decision to officially approve the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, Joe Biden got a new excuse to act like a totalitarian dictator and to trample on everyone’s fundamental rights.

In a public address, he called on all employers, including private companies, organizations, state governments, and local governments, to require their workers to get the vaccine. “I’m calling on more companies and the private sector to step up with vaccine requirements that will reach millions more people,” the president said.

It’s absolutely appalling that the president of the United States, a nation founded upon the ideal of individual liberty, used the power of his office to urge companies to take away their employees’ freedom to make their own medical decisions. He urged companies to “step up” and violate people’s fundamental rights, as if violating people’s fundamental rights is somehow a good thing. As if bringing intrusion into personal medical decisions to millions more people is somehow a positive thing that makes people’s lives better, when nothing could be farther from the truth.

To value and protect individual liberty is both the job of the president of the United States and a requirement for being a morally decent person. Yet Biden is doing the exact opposite of this. As the most powerful person in the world, he chose to use that power to advocate for a world with less freedom, less dignity, and fewer rights for individuals. He chose to advocate for a world in which more people are forced to do medical procedures that they do not want to do. I can’t think of a worse way for a leader to use his or her power. Not only is Biden by far the worst president the United States has ever had, but he is also a despicable human being and far more of a bully than Donald Trump ever was. 

bookmark_borderRacist alderwoman celebrates anti-Italian bigotry

In one of the most disgusting twitter exchanges I have ever seen, a racist bigot decided to insult Italian-Americans, and Chicago Alderwoman Rossana Rodriguez expressed her agreement. 

As you can see in the above screenshot (via a pro-Columbus Facebook group that I’m part of), an anonymous Twitter user described participants in an Italian-American unity rally in Chicago as “racist” and threatened to beat them up. Rodriguez, for some reason, decided to respond to this person (I use that term loosely), expressing agreement and declaring her plans to celebrate the anniversary of the removal of Chicago’s Columbus statue.

There are no words in the English language (or any language) that fully capture how despicable this is. 

The anti-Columbus and anti-Italian actions that have occurred over the past 14 months have inflicted enormous pain on Italian-Americans and those who love Columbus. All around the U.S. and in much of the world, society has almost unanimously told us that our feelings do not matter, our perspectives do not matter, our history does not matter, our culture does not matter, our happiness does not matter, and our rights do not matter. The symbols of our heritage have been cruelly destroyed, obliterated, and brutalized. We have been insulted, slandered, bullied, and discriminated against. Again and again, we are told that black lives matter, and that indigenous lives matter, while we are treated as if our lives do not matter. We have no power and no voice; our opinions are given no weight by those who hold positions of power in our society. Night after night, I lie awake crying, my mind tormented by images of Columbus statues being smashed to pieces, set on fire, decapitated, thrown to the ground, kicked in the head, and strangled. Every day I face the reality of living in a world that does not care about people like me, a world that has chosen to take away everything that makes my life worth living and refused to recognize the enormous negative impact that these decisions have caused.

And now, when a group of Italian-Americans bravely decides to stand up against these injustices, they are called racists and threatened with violence. 

And an elected official decides, instead of taking a stand against such reprehensible comments, to agree with them. Instead of expressing solidarity with people who have been harmed and discriminated against, she decides to celebrate this harm and discrimination with a glass of champagne. This is someone who is supposed to be a leader and a role model. 

It is “agitator in chief” and Rodriguez who are truly racist. Their tweets are beyond despicable, and the fact that over 200 people “liked” these tweets is a sad commentary on the state of humanity. I condemn these sentiments in the harshest possible terms.

bookmark_borderA new low in the war on Columbus

The senseless, infuriating, and heartbreaking war against Christopher Columbus has hit a new low.

A replica of his flagship, called the Nao Santa Maria, has been sailing around to various locations, providing tours to the public and educating people about history and sailing. (I visited it in Boothbay Harbor, Maine and Provincetown, Mass, and it was awesome.) In a development that should not have been surprising but is somehow still shocking and appalling, allowing the existence of a ship that is related to Columbus proved to be too much to ask of the intolerant, bigoted bullies of political correctness. 

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A variety of ships, including the Nao Santa Maria, were scheduled to take part in a festival celebrating the bicentennial of the state of Maine. The vessels were planning to sail along the Penobscot River, stopping at various locations from Bucksport to Bangor, from July 9-18. But lumps of flesh and bone with no souls (using the word “people” is too kind) demanded that the Santa Maria be banned from taking part. And, as always, the lumps of flesh and bone got what they demanded.

State Sen. Bill Diamond asked event organizers to remove the Santa Maria from the event, saying, “We regret that this ship was chosen for an event that is associated with Maine’s bicentennial, as the mistreatment of Native Americans is a devastating part of Maine’s history.”

Dick Campbell, the organizer of the tall ship festival, complied. According to the Bangor Daily News, he said: “In our interest to celebrate Maine’s maritime heritage and bring masted ships to the Penobscot basin and upriver to Bangor, we failed to appreciate the symbolic significance of bringing the replica of the Santa Maria to port. We are now much more aware of the impact having that vessel here has on those whose histories pre-date Maine statehood. We apologize to those who have been offended by our error.”

The entire tall ship festival was essentially canceled, with the ships’ trip up the river to Bangor called off and the Santa Maria barred from giving tours at Bucksport, where it was already docked.

One lump of flesh and bone with no soul, Dawn Neptune Adams, called the inclusion of the Santa Maria in the event a “gut punch” and “ridiculous” because Columbus didn’t sail to Maine. She and others who share her intolerant ideology organized two protests on the waterfront, as well as a showing of an anti-Columbus propaganda film, in response to the ship’s existence. 

Another group of lumps of flesh and bone issued the following statement, according to the Bangor Daily News: “The Penobscot Nation is disappointed and disheartened that any group would use a replica of a ship used by Christopher Columbus to celebrate the heritage and statehood of Maine. While offensive in numerous ways, as well as historically inaccurate, it is also deeply harmful to the Wabanaki Nations as well as the descendants of all Indigenous Nations.”

All of these comments and statements demonstrate a complete lack of logic and a complete lack of empathy.

The existence of a replica of the Santa Maria is neither “ridiculous,” nor “offensive” (let alone in “numerous ways”), nor “harmful” (let alone “deeply” so), nor “historically inaccurate.” The statements by Adams and by the Penobscot Nation, however, are all of these things. First of all, the fact that the tall ship festival was being held in honor of Maine’s bicentennial does not create a requirement for every ship to have a connection to Maine. The Santa Maria is a ship; that alone makes it appropriate to include it. It is also cool, beautiful, unique, and different. As someone who loves Christopher Columbus and anything related to him, I appreciated the opportunity to visit the Santa Maria. If you don’t find the Santa Maria cool, then simply don’t visit it. It is wrong to deny others that opportunity.

It never ceases to astound and infuriate me that so many people think they have the right to obliterate from the earth everything that they dislike. Again and again, indigenous organizations have expressed anger and outrage that cultures other than their own are allowed to exist, that viewpoints other than their own are allowed to be expressed, and that historical figures that they personally dislike are allowed to be honored. And unfortunately, due to the cowardice and callousness of our society’s leaders, they get their way nearly 100% of the time. Columbus Day is abolished in city after city, statues of Columbus are brutally and cruelly town down, art depicting him is censored, things named after him are renamed, and now even a replica of his ship is banned from participating in a festival. These despicable bullies have nothing to be disappointed or disheartened about. They get their way on everything, while people such as myself who admire Columbus are allowed nothing. We are the ones who are truly disappointed and disheartened, for we are the ones being treated unjustly. It is us, not Dawn Neptune Adams, who have truly suffered a gut punch. After being psychologically beaten and battered again and again by one horrific anti-Columbus attack after another over the past 14 months, these protests and these comments are yet another thing that has shattered my heart into a million pieces. It is these mean-spirited, cruel, and intolerant views that are truly ridiculous, offensive in numerous ways, and deeply harmful.

Including the Santa Maria in the festival was not an error, and the organizers should not have apologized. In reality, they should apologize for canceling the event. By doing this, they mindlessly submitted to the unreasonable demands of a group of bullies without regard to the rights or feelings of anyone else. The pervasive, systematic obliteration from the world of anything related to Columbus has caused, and continues to cause, immense pain to those who admire him, including myself. By making the decision that they did, the event organizers sided with the perpetrators of this obliteration campaign and added to the pain of those who have been victimized by it. The lack of empathy is appalling. Every trace of the man that I admire is being systematically obliterated from the earth, and no one has considered the impact that these decisions have on people like me, or taken our viewpoints into account in any way.

It is difficult to know who is more despicable: the bullies who viciously protest the existence of cultures other than their own, or the spineless cowards who have abdicated their responsibility to make thoughtful, fair decisions and instead chosen to act as mere rubber stamps to the demands made by the bullies. 

After the Santa Maria’s visit to Bangor was canceled, a citizen of Castine, Maine named Rob DeGennaro offered the ship a place to dock outside his restaurant. According to WABI Channel 5, he said: “We can’t look at it the way that the protestors did over in Bucksport. I understand where they’re coming from as well, and we feel for that, but there’s a lot more that goes into this. I want to just keep it as a positive situation, a positive learning environment is what we’re trying to do here.”

I appreciate that DeGennaro stepped up and came to the ship’s defense, but he has more empathy for the protesters than they deserve. I do not understand where they are coming from, and I don’t feel for them. They are deliberately destroying everything that makes my life worth living. They deserve no empathy and no understanding, because they have no empathy or understanding for anyone else. There is no reason why a ship replica should be anything other than a positive learning experience. But the politically correct bullies will not allow anything to be a positive situation. They will not allow anything to exist that is unique, different, cool, beautiful, interesting, or valuable in any way. They take everything good in the world and destroy it; they take everything positive and turn it negative, controversial, and dark. Bland, mindless conformity is all they will allow to exist. 

I condemn the decision to cancel the Santa Maria’s trip to Bangor, and all those who were involved in it, or advocated for it, in the harshest possible terms.

bookmark_borderPremier of Manitoba criticizes statue attacks

Every time a statue is removed or destroyed, it is heartbreaking and infuriating. A recent example of this is the horrific destruction of the statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The statues stood outside the legislature building until July 1, when a mob of people (and I use that term loosely) tore them down and ripped the head off of the Victoria statue and threw it into a river. 

One tiny encouraging piece of news in this horrible situation is that Premier Brian Pallister strongly criticized these despicable actions, as anyone with any soul and any sense of morality would do:

“I want to be very clear: the statues will go back up. The people who came here to this country before it was a country, and since, didn’t come here to destroy anything — they came here to build. There are good and bad aspects to Canada’s heritage, as there are to any country’s heritage.… We’ve had good times and we’ve had bad moments. And Canada Day was one of those bad moments. We need to respect our heritage just as we need to respect one another. Not to find fault. Not to tear down, not to highlight every failure, but rather to realize that we’re a complex country as we are made up of complex people.”

Pallister added, “Nobody who was involved in the destruction of those statues or the damage to the grounds is going to have any place at the table around how we arrive at solutions.” And he called the destructive acts “failures of character on display.” 

That is 100% correct. In fact, to say that the people who destroyed these statues lack character is an understatement. These people are bullies. They are bigots. They have zero tolerance for different cultures, different viewpoints, or anyone who is different from them in any way. They have no regard for other people’s rights or feelings, and only care about themselves. They deserve zero empathy, because they have zero empathy for anyone else. 

This article by CBC demonstrates more sympathy for the statue destroyers than is warranted, in my opinion. The article notes that “many Canadians are grieving over the discovery of hundreds of Indigenous children buried in unmarked graves at residential schools across the country.” And the article mentions that the statue destroyers had been participating in an event called the “Every Child Matters” walk.

But what about the grief caused by their actions? Does no one see that for people such as myself who love statues, excruciating and unbearable pain is inflicted each time a statue is removed or destroyed, as the mob of protesters did on July 1? I don’t understand how someone could be “grieving” about something that happened before they were born, but regardless, no amount of grief gives someone the right to rip down a beautiful statue of a remarkable leader from history, desecrate it with hateful graffiti, hack its head off, and throw the head into a river. No amount of grief gives someone the right to inflict grief on another person who did nothing wrong.

Plus, when the protest organizers say that “every child matters,” apparently they are not including children who love statues in this statement. Or children who love learning about history and/or who might admire Queen Elizabeth or Queen Victoria. I am now a grown-up, but this would definitely have described me as a child. People like me, whether young or old, do not matter to the protesters. When they say that every child matters, they mean only children who share their skin color, culture, and ideology.

These actions are not really about children and whether they matter. If they were, instead of destroying statues, the protesters would be doing something to actually commemorate and honor the children who died. These actions are about inflicting pain for the sake of inflicting pain. They are about destruction for the sake of destruction. Regardless of how the children in the graves died (and there is no evidence that they died of anything other than natural causes), their deaths are not Queen Victoria’s fault, they are not Queen Elizabeth’s fault, they are certainly not the statues’ fault, and they are certainly not my fault. Yet statues, and by extension myself, are the ones being punished. 

Naturally, because the premier actually had something reasonable to say on the topic of statues and their destruction, numerous people have criticized him. For example, Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew said: “Right now, we are in a time when our country is grappling with the disclosure of just how many children died during the attempted destruction of Indigenous cultures and civilizations, so for the premier to say that, it shows that not only is he unaware of Manitoba’s actual history, but he’s also out of touch with our current reality. How can a leader make a comment right now that doesn’t really focus on those children? That should really be the focus of these conversations going forward.”

Actually, Kinew is the one who is out of touch with reality. Of course, it is sad that children died a long time ago. But what has been happening to statues around the world is far more horrific. These protesters, and all those who share their ideology, are inflicting excruciating and unbearable pain on people right now. They are destroying something the entire purpose of which is to be permanent, something that by its very nature should never, ever be destroyed. Destroying statues is not okay. Inflicting excruciating and unbearable pain on other people is not okay. This is what people should truly be outraged about, and this is what needs to be the focus of all conversations going forward. 

bookmark_borderRidiculous statement on Cecil Rhodes statue

In a small victory for people who are opposed to destroying everything good in the world, Oriel College, part of the University of Oxford, decided not to take down its statue of Cecil Rhodes.

In response, Rhodes Must Fall, the organization pushing for the statue’s destruction, issued a truly messed-up statement. “We send our own clear message to Oriel College and the University of Oxford: the resistance of Rhodes Must Fall in Oxford will not be ignored,” they tweeted. The rest of the statement is as follows:

There’s a lot of ridiculousness to rebut, but here goes:

  1. Organizations like Rhodes Must Fall are not practicing “resistance,” but the exact opposite. They are advocating that all cultures other than their own be obliterated from the earth. They are bullies and bigots who have no tolerance for anyone different from themselves. Therefore, they are the authoritarians and their opponents are the resistance.
  2. The reference to “rich, conservative white men” is sexist and racist.
  3. Monuments to Cecil Rhodes are not “physical images which glorify white supremacy.” They are physical images which glorify Cecil Rhodes. A person is not the same thing as white supremacy.
  4. The phrase “violent refusal” makes no sense. By definition, refusing to do something cannot be violent; only actively doing something can be violent. Removing a statue is violent; deciding against removing a statue is not.
  5. The “fire of decolonisation that is spreading through the planet” is Rhodes Must Fall’s way of describing the brutal and senseless effort to destroy everything that makes life worth living. This movement is bigoted and intolerant, and its goal is to completely ruin the lives of people who love art and history. It deserves to be criminalized, and it absolutely must be contained if the world is going to retain any trace of goodness or beauty in the years to come.
  6. The “culture war” that the statement references was not instigated by the the conservative party, as the statement implies, and it most certainly is not “a genocide driven by white supremacy.” This war was instigated by Rhodes Must Fall and the organizations that share its ideology, as they are the ones who are attempting to obliterate from the world all cultures other than their own. Rhodes Must Fall is actually correct in characterizing this conflict as a genocide, but in a way that is the opposite of what they intended. By attempting (successfully, in the vast majority of cases) to obliterate other cultures’ heritage and art, their side is perpetrating a genocide.
  7. The statue of Rhodes is not “harmful iconography,” and there is no “ongoing harm” from “generating and maintaining coloniality around the world,” whatever the heck that means.
  8. The anti-colonial movement is not based on liberation, as the statement claims. It is based on obliterating other cultures, which is the opposite of liberation.
  9. I’m not sure exactly what the reference to “reparations” means, but Rhodes Must Fall seems to be implying that Oriel College should compensate them for some alleged harm. This is disturbing, as Rhodes Must Fall and similar organizations are the ones inflicting harm on others. They are the ones who should pay reparations to those who they have harmed, not the other way around.
  10. The statement complains about the “refusal to listen” to the voices of those who have called for the removal of the statue. But those who love statues and want them to stay are the ones whose voices have truly been ignored. For the past year, anti-statue voices are literally the only ones that have been listened to, while pro-statue perspectives have consistently been ridiculed, dismissed, and completely disregarded.
  11. “We will continue to fight for the fall of the statue and everything it represents.” So you will continue to fight for everything that makes life worth living to be destroyed and all cultures other than your own to be obliterated from the earth. Great.

Needless to say, the decision to keep the Rhodes statue was the correct one, and Rhodes Must Fall has absolutely no right to demand its reversal. The members of this organization, and all those who share their ideology, are bullies who are trampling on the rights of everyone else, yet preposterously, they claim to be the “resistance.” They accuse their victims of genocide, while they are the ones who are truly guilty of this. These intolerant bigots have gotten their way for far too long, and it’s about time they got a taste of well-deserved defeat.