bookmark_borderMorgan Freeman is a bully and a bigot

I recently stumbled across a disturbing tweet by Morgan Freeman, in which he demands that the hotel that hosted CPAC denounce the event because its stage was shaped like a rune. If that sounds absolutely ridiculous, that’s because it is. 

The one good thing about this situation is that the Morgan Freeman in question is not the famous actor, but just a despicable excuse for a human being who happens to share the actor’s name. 

Freeman’s tweet is below:

In case it is not immediately apparent how ridiculous this is, allow me to explain. First of all, there is no proof whatsoever that the stage was designed to look like the odal rune. The CPAC stage looks like a pretty typical stage shape to me, and it is entirely plausible that the resemblance to the rune was coincidental. Second, even if the stage was intended to look like the rune, why is that bad? Runes are Viking letters. The fact that the Nazis happened to use this rune does not make the rune a Nazi symbol; it is a Viking symbol that happened to be used by Nazis. There is no rule that if a symbol has ever been used by Nazis, then no one is allowed to use it ever again. 

Continue reading “Morgan Freeman is a bully and a bigot”

bookmark_borderMorgan Wallen and the cancel mob

Country star Morgan Wallen is one of the most recent victims of the politically correct, bullying mob. After his neighbor’s Ring camera captured a video of him using a racial slur outside his home and leaked it to TMZ, his career has essentially been completely destroyed. His record label and agent dropped him, all major radio stations stopped playing his music, Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music removed his songs from their playlists, CMT and the County Music Association removed his appearances from their channels, and the Academy of Country Music disqualified him from eligibility for awards.

While using a racial slur isn’t the greatest thing to do, society’s punishment of Wallen is excessive and unjust, and yet another example of the warped priorities of cancel culture. The actions of Wallen’s neighbor, who violated his privacy by recording a video of him on his own property and leaking the video to TMZ, are more disturbing and worthy of punishment than Wallen’s actions, yet have gone completely unexamined, uncriticized, and unquestioned. More significantly, hundreds of people across the nation have destroyed irreplaceable works of art in the name of the Black Lives Matter movement – actions that are far more reprehensible than merely saying a word – yet have escaped punishment completely.

Making matters worse, the media, instead of so much as mentioning the possibility that Wallen’s punishment may have been too harsh, are almost exclusively focusing on the viewpoint that he is not being punished harshly enough and even that country music in its entirety is racist. For example, the LA Times published an article called, “Nashville has punished Morgan Wallen. But country music’s reckoning with racism awaits.

This article and others like it are problematic for several reasons. First of all, the article is racist, criticizing the “formula of white men in denim — Luke Bryan to Luke Combs to, now, Morgan Wallen — singing about small-town life, a formula that leaves out Black artists, women and even left of center musicians like Tyler Childers.” Although racial and gender diversity are always welcome, there is nothing inherently bad about white men in denim, and it is discriminatory to imply that people who fit this description are somehow worse than people of other genders, races, and clothing choices. This point also ignores the discrimination in favor of women, non-white people, and especially “left of center” people that exists in much of our society, and the fact that the country music industry is one of the few spaces in which conservative and non-political people have been allowed to exist and be themselves. The article also quotes singer Vanessa Carlton, who alleges that “the white men who have been in charge of these radio stations and labels for a long, long time… protect the cancer because they are the cancer.” It shouldn’t even need to be stated that to call a group of people “cancer” because of their race and gender is blatantly sexist and racist.

The article also makes the false contention that Wallen’s punishment has been lenient compared to those of other country artists for various missteps. “Non-male artists, and non-white ones, are rarely offered the grace Wallen has received in his short career,” the article says. Singer-songwriter Kalie Shorr alleges in the article that “careers have been lit on fire for much less.” In addition to the fact that being completely exiled from radio and TV and suspended by one’s record label and agent can hardly be characterized as “grace,” neither Shorr nor the author of the article provides any convincing examples to support their claims. The article mentions LeAnn Rimes, who was allegedly “pushed out of the genre” for cheating on her husband, the Dixie Chicks, who sparked controversy when they insulted President Bush, and Rissi Palmer, who “lost her label for failing to sell the same number of records as white artists who walk in with a massive advantage.” But none of these artists have been punished anywhere near as severely as Wallen has. The music of Rimes and the Dixie Chicks is still played on the radio all the time. As for Palmer, it seems that the article considers it a punishment that she was held to the same standards that a white artist would be. But isn’t this exactly the way things should work in a just and non-discriminatory society? For someone to be held to lower standards because they are black is just as racist as excluding someone because they are black.

Finally, the article makes the disturbing implication that it is somehow wrong for the country music industry and/or its members to be politically neutral. It quotes author Charles Hughes, who says, “The claim that we all just need to come together and get along, or that country artists shouldn’t be political, just isn’t good enough.” Unless my interpretation is completely wrong, Hughes is saying not only that it is bad for people to oppose the ideology of political correctness, but that it is also bad for people to be neutral on this matter; in other words that the only acceptable option is to actively support the ideology. There are numerous legitimate reasons to oppose the political correctness ideology, which I have explained many times in previous blog posts. Any person would be completely within his or her rights – and in my opinion would be acting courageously, correctly, and honorably – to speak out against this ideology, and it is intolerant and deeply wrong to suggest otherwise. But to suggest that people don’t even have a right to stay neutral is beyond intolerant and wrong. Even worse, the article quotes country program director Christal Blue, who claims that “if a programmer quietly pulls Morgan Wallen today but makes no public statement about their station not tolerating the behavior, they remain complicit.” In other words, not even exiling Wallen from the airwaves is sufficient for the politically correct bullies; he also must be verbally condemned at every opportunity.

Today I ordered Wallen’s latest album, as well as his earlier one (they are still available for sale, at least for now). Not only do I like a lot of his songs, but this is one small way of fighting back against the politically correct mob and their toxic ideology of intolerance in the name of tolerance and conformity in the name of diversity.

bookmark_borderChristmas ornaments are now racist, apparently

As the cult of political correctness reaches new levels of ridiculousness, Confederate-related Christmas ornaments are now a target. Yes, you read that right. Christmas ornaments.

According to a Yahoo News article by Nicole Maurantonio, a professor at the University of Richmond, “Confederate Christmas ornaments are smaller than statues – but they send the same racist message.”

Maurantonio criticizes Confederate-themed cookbooks, stuffed animals of Stonewall Jackson’s trusty steed, Little Sorrel, and ornaments depicting such sites as Stone Mountain and the Confederate White House. 

“While these keepsakes may seem apolitical, their very circulation enables Confederate myths and symbols to become ‘normal’ features of people’s daily lives,” she writes. “My research suggests they can thus desensitize Americans to the destructive nature of such stories and icons… In that way, seemingly apolitical objects like cookbooks, toys and Christmas ornaments commemorating Confederate history serve to normalize – rather than problematize – the objects, rituals and stories surrounding the Confederacy.”

Maurantonio also complains that “many unexamined Confederate symbols have made their way into people’s kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms” and that “like Confederate statues and flags, Confederate Christmas ornaments strengthen this myth that the Confederacy – an entity built on white supremacy – was about southern ‘heritage.'”

But the Confederacy was about southern heritage. This is not a myth; but the truth. If one truly stopped to examine Confederate symbols, one would realize that they stand for the values of liberty, freedom, individual rights, resistance to authority, and thinking for oneself as opposed to mindlessly conforming to social norms and complying with existing power structures. These things are, in my opinion, awesome, not destructive. Therefore, the Confederacy should be normalized, not problematized. America needs more, not fewer, Confederate symbols in people’s lives. It is the Black Lives Matter movement and the associated attitudes of political correctness that are truly intolerant, racist, and destructive. 

“Christmas ornaments communicate something about the person or family that displays them,” Maurantonio writes. “They reveal their history, passions and aesthetic taste. So pause to consider whether your Christmas tree represents your values. Does a keepsake from Stone Mountain really belong between an ornament crafted in a kindergarten classroom and a glass nutcracker gifted by your grandmother?”

Of course it does. The fact that ornaments communicate something about the person who displays them is exactly why Confederate images belong on Christmas trees everywhere. In addition to numerous Confederate toy soldiers, figures, and dolls in a variety of shapes and sizes, I am the proud owner of a Stone Mountain magnet and Breyer horses of both Little Sorrel and Robert E. Lee’s equine companion, Traveller. Additionally, there is a Confederate warrior of sorts on my Christmas tree among the Santas, bows, and bulbs. I wonder what the politically correct mob would say about this ornament…

bookmark_borderConfederate supporters are not white supremacists – rebutting a libelous blog post

This happened a while ago, but I just came across an extremely wrong and offensive blog post describing a protest at a Confederate monument in Gainesville, Texas.

The author, Michelle H. Davis at Living Blue in Texas, repeatedly uses the terms “white supremacists” and “racists” to describe people who demonstrated their support for the Confederate monument. She uses these terms as if they are simply non-controversial, factual terms for these demonstrators, but the use of these terms is completely false and therefore defamatory. There is nothing racist or white supremacist about supporting the Confederacy or defending its monuments. It is possible that someone could support the Confederacy for racist reasons, but it is just as possible (and actually more likely) that one would support the Confederacy because the Confederacy rebelled against the federal government. In other words, I (and many other people) support the Confederacy because it stands for the values of liberty, freedom, individual rights, resistance to authority, and thinking for oneself as opposed to mindlessly conforming to social norms and complying with existing power structures. That is what the Confederate flag and Confederate monuments mean to me, so it is completely unwarranted to assume that anyone who supports these things is racist. 

Davis also describes the pro-Confederate group as “counter-protesters” with derisive quotation marks as if to imply that they are not actually counter-protesters. Given that these individuals were demonstrating their opposition to a different group who were advocating for the removal of the monument, they actually were counter-protesters, and there is therefore no need to insultingly put this term in quotes. She also falsely calls the counter-protesters “domestic terrorists” and describes one of the leaders of the counter-protest as a “moron,” which is a completely classless way to describe one’s ideological opponents. Plus, she posts pictures of counter-protesters and asks readers to contact police if they recognize them, which is a form of harassment and bullying. 

Davis claims that the pro-Confederate group “were clearly the aggressor,” which is false because necessarily, the group that is advocating for the removal of a statue is always the aggressor in any conflict. She complains that police “picked a side, and it wasn’t the side of the people who were against racism, against slavery, and wanted a fair and equal society.” Davis seems to presume that the anti-monument protesters were the ones who fit this description and criticizes the police for siding with the pro-monument protesters. But this characterization is false. Both sides in this conflict were equally against slavery. Judging by the fact that in her blog post Davis makes racist statements such as “there is a lot of actual history that white people were never taught,” she and her side are actually more racist than the pro-Confederate demonstrators. And the anti-Confederate demonstrators were actually advocating for the exact opposite of a fair and equal society. Advocating that a powerless, unpopular minority group be further marginalized and their history obliterated is as far from fair and equal as you can get. 

Finally, Davis describes a “hilarious” instance during the protest in which an anti-Confederate demonstrator taunted those who were defending the monument:

“The most hilarious thing is when she’s [sic] yells at the racists, ‘Yay! America!,’ then all the ‘counter protesters’ cheer, then she says something about how America kicked the Confederate’s ass. All of the white supremacists stop cheering and with a solemn face, just stare at her in silence. Crickets. How telling is that?”

In addition to the fact that Davis incorrectly uses the words “racists” and “white supremacists” and inappropriately puts the words “counter protesters” in quotes, I’m not exactly sure what her point is. The counter-protesters reacted negatively when the anti-Confederate demonstrator mentioned that the United States defeated the Confederacy. This reaction was entirely appropriate. The Union’s victory over the Confederacy was an instance of a powerful government trampling on the underdog. It was an instance of a people being denied their right to form an independent country and being forced to remain part of another country against their will. Why would anyone brag about this? Anyone who considers it a good thing that a powerful, oppressive government defeated a justified, courageous rebellion is a bully and an authoritarian. So yes, this incident is telling. Just not in the way Davis thinks it is. 

bookmark_borderReal estate website calls Columbus “genocidal explorer” – really??

In a dismaying example of how thoroughly the political correctness movement has infiltrated our society, an article on the real estate and urban design website Curbed refers to Christopher Columbus as a “genocidal explorer.” The article by Brock Keeling, about San Francisco’s decision to remove its statue of Columbus, begins:

Christopher Columbus never stepped foot on what is today the United States. He never visited California or sailed the Pacific Ocean. And he didn’t discover America in 1492. But that hasn’t stopped American cities, including San Francisco, from erecting statues honoring the genocidal explorer. 

Seriously? Why is an article on a real estate website personally insulting a historical figure? The article mentions that Nancy Pelosi and Maya Angelou have been suggested as possible replacements for Columbus, both of which make me sick to my stomach. And it mentions matter-of-factly that vandals have attacked the Columbus statue repeatedly over the years, usually on Columbus Day. Does Keeling not realize that these despicable acts constitute hate crimes against the Italian-American community? It’s inappropriate to treat heinous acts of bigotry and destruction as perfectly normal events.

A spokeswoman for the city’s art commission, Rachelle Axel, said that the beautiful statue was removed “because it doesn’t align with San Francisco’s values or our commitment to racial justice… who and what we honor through our public art can and should reflect our values.”

The idea that a statue of Christopher Columbus does not align with San Francisco’s values reflects poorly on San Francisco. A world in which a statue of a brilliant, courageous explorer is considered contrary to the predominant values is a dismal place that I would not want to live in. 

bookmark_borderStatues and “intolerance for partial narratives”

An article in San Francisco Weekly claims that the despicable acts of destruction that have been perpetrated against beautiful statues and monuments are motivated by “growing intolerance for partial narratives.”

In June, mobs of intolerant bullies ruined statues of Father Junipero Serra, Francis Scott Key, and Ulysses Grant in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Mayor London Breed cravenly got rid of the city’s beautiful statue of Christopher Columbus because of the threat that it, too, would be violently destroyed. But if someone considered partial narratives to be a problem, then destroying all statues that represent viewpoints and cultures other than their own would be the exact opposite of what they would want to do. Presenting a full and complete version of history requires the inclusion of figures such as Serra, Key, Grant, and Columbus, because presenting a full and complete version of history requires the inclusion of all viewpoints and cultures. The actions of these vicious bullies have made the historical narrative partial and incomplete by dictating that only those viewpoints deemed to be compliant with political correctness be included. 

I was struck by a social media comment quoted in the article, where the commenter said, “Monuments reflect our values. We need updated monuments for updated values.” But values are not something that should change over time. Moral right and wrong are absolute and eternal; there is no reason why the values commonly held in 2020 are any more likely to be correct than the values held in 1492 or 1861 or any other year. Additionally, people have different ideas about what constitutes moral right and wrong and therefore which historical figures are worthy of admiration. To change monuments based on the values that happen to be popular at the time is unfair to those who hold values that happen not to be popular. Why should some people get to see their values reflected in the monuments around them, while others are deprived of this? That’s why it’s so important to have monuments representing a wide range of ideologies and values, as opposed to only the ideologies and values popular at the moment.

“The people who are vehemently opposed to these narratives are saying [the statues] represent a forced celebration of oppression and public funding of a narrative of oppression,” Kim Morrison, a professor at San Francisco State University, said in the article. “The types of things we celebrate are war, colonialism, and the conquering of a land, and we don’t talk about the human loss that has gone along with that. It’s been the partial telling of a story and forcing large segments of communities that have been hurt by those particular monuments to believe that they should participate in celebrating things that have harmed their communities.” She also suggested that replacement artwork “celebrate diverse communities.” 

But this is only one viewpoint about what constitutes oppression. In my opinion, policies such as the Durham-Humphrey Amendment, the progressive income tax, gun restrictions, and stay-at-home orders are far more oppressive than anything Columbus or Serra did. Why does Morrison’s idea of what is oppressive matter, while mine does not? I am forced to celebrate and to contribute to the funding of my oppression every single day. War, colonialism, and the conquering of lands are not the only things that inflict human loss. The everyday injustices, violations of liberty, and restrictions that prevent people from living their lives in the ways that they choose, these are far more harmful to human beings than acts of conquest by long-ago explorers and generals. Did Morrison ever consider how people who believe in medical freedom might feel about statues of Hubert Humphrey, who introduced the Durham-Humphrey Amendment, and Harry Truman, who signed it? Did she think about the hurt inflicted on the Confederate community by the existence of statues of Abraham Lincoln, who violated the First and Fourth Amendments in order to force the South to remain part of the United States against its will, or of William Tecumseh Sherman, who barbarically burned and destroyed farms, cities, and train tracks across the South in service of this same goal? Clearly, to her, only some of the people who are hurt by monuments matter, while others do not. 

As for the suggestion that art celebrate diverse communities… that was what was already being done before the Black Lives Matter movement began destroying everything in the world that does not conform to their ideology. By including statues of Columbus and Serra alongside those celebrating black and indigenous people, the world had a full, complete, and diverse telling of history. Destroying these statues took that away. Now, black and indigenous people’s narratives are the only ones remaining, the only ones allowed to be celebrated. That is truly a partial narrative. 

As a side note, the article characterizes the brutal and sickening destruction of the statue of Father Serra as an “act of civil disobedience.” Civil disobedience is the act of disobeying an unjust law as a form of protest. But the existence of a Serra statue is not unjust. It is actually the act of tearing it down that is unjust. These acts of destruction are neither attempts to make historical narratives more complete nor acts of civil disobedience. They are acts of bullying and intolerance whose purpose is to enforce conformity and eliminate true diversity.

bookmark_borderSan Francisco to rename 44 schools… but at least they’re consistent

The government body in charge of the San Francisco public schools recently came up with a list of 44 schools that they have deemed to be in need of renaming. The offending namesakes include Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, John Muir, Junipero Serra, and Dianne Feinstein.

“Lincoln, like the presidents before him and most after, did not show through policy or rhetoric that black lives ever mattered to them outside of human capital and as casualties or wealth building,” said Jeremiah Jefferies, the chairman of the San Francisco Unified School District School Names Advisory Committee.

As for Feinstein, she was blacklisted for ordering a Confederate flag that had been vandalized to be replaced back in 1986 when she was mayor of San Francisco. According to Jefferies, she “chose to fly a flag that is the iconography of domestic terrorism, racism, white avarice, and inhumanity towards black and indigenous people at the city hall. She is one of the few living examples on our list, so she still has time to dedicate the rest of her life to the upliftment of black, First Nations, and other people of color. She hasn’t thus far, so her apology simply wasn’t convincing.” In addition to the fact that the Confederate flag is the iconography of none of these things, and the fact that the term “white avarice” is racist, this is a pretty ridiculous reason to condemn someone.

The committee used the below criteria for determining which historical figures are unworthy of having schools named after them:

  • Anyone directly involved in the colonization of people
  • Slave owners or participants in enslavement
  • Perpetuators of genocide or slavery
  • Those who exploit workers/people
  • Those who directly oppressed or abused women, children, queer, or transgender people (apparently oppressing and abusing men is perfectly fine…)
  • Those connected to any human rights or environmental abuses
  • Those who are known racists and/or white supremacists and/or espoused racist beliefs

In terms of eliminating wide swaths of historical figures, these ridiculously stringent criteria go further than perhaps anything I’ve seen yet. It’s difficult, in fact, to think of anyone who would meet them. But in a strange way, this is actually kind of a good thing. With historical figures who fought for the Confederacy having been brutally and relentlessly attacked, condemned, slandered, and smashed to pieces over the past months, it’s only fair that Lincoln be “canceled” as well. If you’re going to depose historical figures from their places of honor, you should at least be consistent about it.

As Jarrett Stepman of the Daily Signal wrote, “If the criteria were really taken to its logical conclusions, then it would lead to erasing pretty much every leader and people in all human history… It’s interesting that Jefferies says the agenda is about uplifting ‘black, First Nations, and people of color,’ but are not all these groups, through the lens of history, also guilty of virtually every transgression on the committee’s list of criteria?”

Stepman also pointed out the authoritarian nature of the political correctness movement. “Do what we say, or you will be smashed and erased,” he accurately characterizes this movement’s thought process. “Symbols of opposition will be torn down. You must accept our truth, or else… If anything, it teaches students to be ruthlessly intolerant, to be utterly incapable of understanding different perspectives and the limitations of human nature.”

bookmark_borderNortham to spend $11 million to ruin Richmond

After destroying everything that made Richmond, Virginia unique, beautiful, and good, Governor Ralph Northam is proposing to spend millions of dollars to create bland, homogeneous, meaningless new works of art. His proposed budget for 2021 includes $11 million to redesign Monument Avenue, which was until recently the location of five magnificent status of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Gen. Robert E. Lee, Gen. Stonewall Jackson, Gen. Jeb Stuart, and Commander Matthew Fontaine Maury. (Lee is technically still standing but has been completely covered with graffiti and will be removed next year unless an appellate judge reverses the court decision allowing his removal.) Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement brutally vandalized the beautiful statues over the summer, and Northam and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney took the side of the destructive mobs and ordered the statues removed. The budget also includes $9 million to develop a Slavery Heritage Site and $100,000 to build a Virginia Emancipation and Freedom Monument.

This article at Hyperallergic.com describes the plan as “funding public art that tells a more complete and inclusive story of American history.” National Geographic describes Northam’s vision as “inclusive art recognizing a diverse and challenging history… The long-term goal is to repurpose parts of Monument Avenue to better reflect Virginia’s and America’s diverse heritage… to elevate unheard voices and neglected histories.” In Northam’s words, “These investments will help Virginia tell the true story of our past and continue building an inclusive future. At a time when this Commonwealth and country are grappling with how to present a complete and more honest picture of our complex history, we must work to enhance public spaces that have long been neglected and shine light on previously untold stories.” And Alex Nyerges, director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, which is leading the effort to design new monuments, said, “It is about looking to the future, looking to a future that’s inclusive, that’s forward thinking, and there’s also an element of healing.”

Unfortunately, this plan is the exact opposite of how it is being described. A collection of public art that leaves out the Confederacy is by definition neither complete, nor inclusive, nor diverse. It is Confederate historical figures whose voices have traditionally been unheard and whose stories have been neglected. Removing their statues and replacing them with monuments to mainstream, moderate, non-controversial, bland, mundane people just makes their voices even more unheard and their stories even more neglected. Northam’s vision is to further marginalize those who are already marginalized and further elevate those who are already in the spotlight. Monument Avenue already did shine light on previously untold stories, and Northam and Stoney decided to wipe those stories out. Brutally inflicting further pain on those who are already hurting, in order to please those who already receive preferential treatment, is the exact opposite of healing. It is beyond sickening and beyond reprehensible that Northam, having destroyed Richmond’s diversity and beauty, is now spending $11 million of taxpayer money to replace these irreplaceable works of art with conformity and nothingness. If he truly cared about inclusion, diversity, healing, unheard voices, neglected histories, or untold stories, he would have ordered all of the beautiful Confederate monuments to be cleaned up, repaired, protected, and preserved for all time. 

bookmark_borderConfederate lives matter

It is horrible enough that supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement have brutally and mercilessly attacked, both physically and verbally, statues of historical figures in public places. What is even more disturbing is that these acts of vandalism and destruction are not limited to monuments on city streets and in public parks but have extended even to the graves of fallen soldiers.

For example, back in June, someone “tarred and feathered” several Confederate soldiers’ grave stones at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana. The area of the cemetery that the vandal(s) targeted is known as the Confederate Mound and contains the remains of 1,600 prisoners of war who died at Camp Morton. Tarring and feathering was a form of public humiliation popular during the 18th century that was often used by angry mobs against British tax collectors. 

In another incident, someone pulled down Confederate flags that had adorned graves at the Resaca Confederate Cemetery in Georgia. Some of the flags were arranged to spell out “stop racism” and others were scattered on the ground. Over 450 Confederate soldiers who died in the Battle of Resaca are buried in the cemetery. 

Additionally, at the Confederate Cemetery in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, someone defaced an obelisk honoring known Confederate soldiers as well as unknown Confederate soldiers who were discovered in a mass grave nearby. A swastika was spray-painted on the obelisk and the names of the soldiers crossed out. 

In Little Rock, Arkansas, vandals beat, attempted to pull down, and graffitied an obelisk in Oakland Cemetery that honored 900 mostly unknown Confederate soldiers who died in various hospitals in the area. “They destroyed one of our obelisks and wrote all over it with spray paint, and chipped it very badly beyond repair,” said cemetery employee John Raines, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. “They wrote a bunch of racial slurs and f this, f that.” The vandals also desecrated nine nearby wooden grave markers, gouging the word “Confederate” out of them. To their credit, cemetery staff reported the incident to law enforcement as a hate crime, and a man named Mujera Benjamin Lungaho was recently arrested and charged with vandalizing the graves and obelisk.

In Silver Spring, Maryland, someone knocked down a grave marker in the Grace Episcopal Church cemetery that honored 17 Confederate soldiers who died in the Battle of Fort Stevens. A note left on the scene read: “Here lies 17 dead white supremacists who died fighting to keep black people enslaved. The Confederacy was and always will be racist. Let this marker be a more accurate depiction of history because the last one was a disgrace.” The original grave marker, which the vandal(s) characterized as “disgraceful,” simply read, “in memory of seventeen unknown Confederate dead” and provided additional factual details about them. 

The behavior demonstrated in these and similar incidents is beyond despicable. It is wrong to argue that Confederate statues should not be displayed in city squares, but to deny fallen soldiers a dignified and peaceful rest is an entirely new level of wrongness. The fact that people would take it upon themselves to go into a cemetery and desecrate soldiers’ graves, in some cases bringing spray paint or even a strap with which to pull down a memorial, is disgusting. It takes a truly cruel, nasty, and mean-spirited person to demonstrate such hatred towards someone who died over 150 years ago. Yes, the South had slavery, but it is ignorant to view that as the single defining attribute of the Confederacy and of the soldiers who fought for it. Confederate soldiers were people, just like you or me, each with different motivations for joining the Confederacy and each with an individual story. (See this Facebook post for an eloquent example of this.) One does not need to agree with or support the cause that these soldiers fought for in order to acknowledge their personhood and show them basic respect.  

The BLM movement is based on the presumption that most people believe that black lives do not matter. But essentially no one holds this view. Instead, it is rebel soldiers who are treated as if their lives did not matter. In our politically correct society, it is considered “disgraceful” to provide a Confederate soldier with a simple, factual grave marker, while an “accurate depiction of history” requires these soldiers to be reduced to “white supremacists” and their cause reduced to “fighting to keep black people enslaved.” Acknowledging those who fought for the Confederacy as individual people is no longer acceptable; instead they must be posthumously sworn at, insulted, beaten, thrown on the ground, stomped on, tarred and feathered, their very names violently obliterated. This is true bigotry, and this is true intolerance. And it is not limited to a handful of vandals but extends to prominent politicians as well. 

An attempt by Congress to replace Confederate-inspired military base names has received a lot of publicity, but what is even worse about Section 377 of the National Defense Authorization Act is that it would actually require Confederate soldiers’ graves in Arlington National Cemetery to be desecrated. This amendment would require that the government “remove all names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederate States of America from all assets of the Department of Defense.” The website Conservative Daily points out that there is a large Confederate monument at Arlington that is surrounded by the graves of 482 soldiers. The amendment would presumably require the removal of the monument, which would be logistically impossible to do without disturbing the graves. And even if somehow the Confederate graves were allowed to remain, the amendment would ban any sort of signage or plaques pertaining to them. “Just think about how small of a person someone would have to be to write an amendment in 2020 that could force the exhumation of 482 Civil War soldiers because they disagree with the cause they fought for,” the Conservative Daily article continues. “The GOP is so spineless, they actually believe that posthumously punishing Civil War dead is a reasonable ‘compromise’… Three years ago, this started as a debate over whether cities should have statues honoring Confederate officers like Stonewall Jackson or Robert E. Lee. Today, it has transformed into a debate over whether Civil War grave sites should be exhumed so that the dead can be posthumously punished.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

bookmark_borderWhat part of “preserved and protected for all time” do you not understand?

As I wrote about earlier, during this summer of political correctness run amok, the beautiful Confederate carving at Stone Mountain has become a target of anti-Confederate intolerance. Now, a group of politically-correct, intolerant people have formed an organization called the Stone Mountain Action Coalition and have presented their demands to the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, the group in charge of maintaining the mountain and its surrounding park.

For those who have never seen Stone Mountain, it is a huge mountain near Atlanta, Georgia with an enormous image of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson carved into the side for all to see. Near the base of the mountain are various statues, flags, and plaques honoring people from each of the 13 states of the Confederacy. Stone Mountain is, in my opinion, a truly unique, amazing, and awe-inspiring sight.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Stone Mountain Action Coalition is demanding that the carving no longer be maintained, that the nearby Confederate flags be removed, that Confederate-related names of streets and buildings in the park be replaced, and that the park focus on themes such as “nature, racial reconciliation and justice.”

One of the co-chairs of the coalition, Ryan Gravel, said, “We don’t believe that taking a piecemeal, token kind of approach to adding little trinkets here and there is going to be good enough to really resolve the history of the mountain and the way that people see it.” Meymoona Freeman, another co-chair, said, “It’s time for transformation, it’s time for healing, and it’s time for progress.” Other members of the coalition stressed the need to make the park “more welcoming.” 

But what exactly needs to be “resolved” about Stone Mountain? The carving is an incredible feat of engineering and art honoring three historical leaders. The fact that some people dislike those historical leaders, and by extension the carving, is not a problem that needs to be solved. Every single thing in the world has people who like it and people who do not like it. No one has the right to demand that everything they do not like be obliterated from the world, particularly when the thing in question is a unique, magnificent, and beautiful landmark that took years of creativity, craftsmanship, and hard work to create. There is nothing hateful or racist about honoring the Confederacy and its leaders. As the Confederate point of view falls further out of favor among the mainstream media, political establishment, and society as a whole, it is even more important that sites like Stone Mountain be preserved. Even if the carving is not actually removed, to cease maintaining it and to get rid of the Confederate flags and street names would be to strip the park of its uniqueness and identity. It would be to make Stone Mountain, and the world, a more bland, homogenous, and character-less place. For those who admire the Confederacy and enjoy this memorial park, getting rid of the Confederate features would be the exact opposite of healing, the exact opposite of progress, and the exact opposite of making the park more welcoming. And to actually destroy the carving would be so unfathomably awful that it hurts to even consider the possibility. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked several geologists for their thoughts on how such a thing could be achieved. Their ideas, which involve explosives, disfigurement, years of dangerous work, and millions of dollars, are sickening when one considers that these measures would be employed with the goal of destroying a priceless work of art.)

The reason the Stone Mountain Action Coalition is not demanding removal outright is that Georgia law currently protects the Confederate memorial carving. This law was enacted as part of a compromise in 2001 when the state legislature voted to remove the Confederate flag from the Georgia state flag. The law reads: “The memorial to the heroes of the Confederate States of America graven upon the face of Stone Mountain shall never be altered, removed, concealed, or obscured in any fashion and shall be preserved and protected for all time as a tribute to the bravery and heroism of the citizens of this state who suffered and died in their cause.” The fact that some people are even mentioning the possibility of changing this law demonstrates the intolerance of the politically-correct crowd. What part of “preserved and protected for all time” do they not understand? First, Georgia’s flag was changed, with the assurance that Stone Mountain would remain. Less than 20 years later, those who seek to destroy Confederate history have broken their promise and are trying to get rid of Stone Mountain as well. Attempts at compromise have done nothing to stop the inexorable progression towards a complete erasure of Confederate heritage. There can be no compromise, there can be no moderation, and there can be no “pushing the limits” of the law by ceasing maintenance of the carving and hoping that nature and the elements gradually erode it. Stone Mountain must be preserved and protected for all time, just as the law says. And given that the anti-Confederate bullies have reneged on their part of the compromise, advocating for a return of the old state flag wouldn’t hurt either.