Take Racism Of The Pedestals Of History

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DD

Who knew Trump would turn the monumental ugliness of racism and fascism into things “beautiful”? That white men no one can identify, astride iron horses are three dimensional still frames of the interminable treasures of the beauty of hate and genocide, of slavery and the absurd pretenses of a nation fallen into the crevice of insanity?

These things beautiful celebrate over 750,000 dead — and zero lessons learned! Leave them up if the country — include the good citizens — would come to its senses, but sadly, the opposite is true. Their Lost Cause, so valiantly sought, was built on denial. And denial is still its basic pillar, the pedestal on which it stands, so well expressed by Texas when it seceded, writing: only “non-slave-holding States proclaim the debasing doctrine of equality of all men, irrespective of race or color — a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of Divine Law.” That is still the creed of today’s white supremacists, actively endorsed by fellow travelers of Nazis and the Klan, whose icons of hate Trump declares are things beautiful.

Slyly, Trump omits the obvious: where are the statues of the enslaved who endured, working the plow, taking no wages, denied the right to marry; the women who bore children for others pleasure; where are the monuments to their forgiveness, their strength and generous spirit? To their centuries-old pursuit of equality these monuments enshrined as an ugly, “debasing” thing?

Again, America is proving itself incapable of self-correction; it consigns their glorious victory behind history’s veil, leaving it unseen — and pelted with blame! By Trump’s logic, dictators that resist terrorists are heroes, but democratic forces that resist fascism and racism are part of the problem and equal in blame. Make no mistake, he is defending these lifeless figures not for their inner character but for their cruelty in carrying out violent acts of war— the reason they were elevated above those whose living witness should be their shame.

Their celebrated violence, frozen in a time known as “heritage,” attracted throngs of travelers from across the country to Charlottesville, Virginia, who avowed no purpose of enmity or animosity— only a love of heritage — and contradicted their denial: they shouted and chanted anti-Semitic and Nazi slogans of hate and division and pepper-sprayed and clubbed observers.

Put these beautiful works on private grounds. Let the haters fundraise and endow space. But take them out of our face. Act to remove the markings of the racial red lines they sit stride. Unite America in truth: stop denying the projection and prominence of hate in its public squares. It is not a thing of beauty, in life or iron.

burning

Walter Rhett lives in Charleston, SC and is a comment writer for the New York Times. He reaches a broad global audience.