Friday, June 19, 2020

Enough! Malcontents and Vandals Desecrate George Washington and the Flag

As part of protests in Portland, Oregon on the eve of Juneteenth, a group of about 20 demonstrators vandalized and toppled a statue to the father of our country - and then burned an American flag on it.
I do NOT hold all those living in Portland, Oregon OR all those protesting for civil rights and racial justice responsible for this.
Rather, I am asking ALL Americans -- regardless of color, race, gender, sexual orientation, political beliefs, etc, etc. -- to recognize something CRUCIAL and which SHOULD be very obvious....
Please read this carefully....
When you topple a statue to George Washington and burn an American flag on it, you are doing much more than simply denouncing racism, protesting police brutality, or calling for criminal justice reform.
You are, in fact, very graphically and very clearly calling for the downfall of the United States of America.
If you value the United States of America, you will denounce this.
Rage and radicalism will not get us to where we want to be. We do not need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Let's unite against racism and for justice. But let's do so as Americans who love and value our country.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Liberty and Justice For All Depends on Living UP to our Founding Principles, Not Rejecting Them

Dear Reader:
For this post, I wish to make a personal appeal. An appeal from my heart. 
  • I deplore racism and embrace equal justice and civil rights for all.
  • I repudiate white supremacy, and recognize there are cultural and systemic issues which still need to be addressed.
  • I support criminal justice reform.
  • I support holding government and all civil servants (including, but not limited to, law enforcement) accountable.
  • I support moving Confederate statues to cemeteries and museums (and out of central, public, community spaces). And I call upon all Americans (and do so, as one born and raised in Virginia) to stop celebrating the Confederacy as a noble enterprise.
  • I believe some Army bases should be renamed.
  • I believe Harriet Tubman should replace Andrew “Trail of Tears” Jackson on the $20 bill.
  • I want to be a part of the solution and to do my part to move our country forward on all these issues.
If you believe that toppling statues to our Founding Fathers will solve our problems, you are being foolish. 
If you believe repudiating the founding principles of the United States is going to bring about equality and social justice....
You are being not only foolish, but reckless.
I am not saying statues are more important than people, nor am I saying the Founders were sinless saints worthy of national worship. They were flawed. They were (like us) sinners. 
Rather, I am arguing that they laid out principles upon which this Republic was founded that even the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass ultimately praised. And not only Douglass, but also Hiram Revels and all the first African American members of the US Senate and House of Representatives (elected during the Reconstruction era).
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr certainly criticized the Founders (and rightly so) but he did not trash them, nor did he call on the American people to renounce them. Go back and watch his “I Have a Dream” speech. He called on Americans not to renounce the founding principles of their country but rather to live UP to them: “I have a dream today that one day this nation wil rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.”
I support all peaceful protests for civil rights and equal justice under the law. 
But when it comes to the rioting, the violence, the destruction of property, and (yes) the toppling of statues, what we are experiencing is more akin to the FRENCH Revolution than the American Revolution. And frankly more akin to many of the socialist revolutions in the 20th century.
If we continue down this road.....and I say this as a student of history.... you have no idea the whirlwind we will reap.
This nation has its sins and shortcomings. 
We can choose to improve it with love or destroy it with hate.
I know my choice. What is yours?

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Now We're Defacing Statues to Abolitionists?

Statue to Matthias Baldwin (pic taken in calmer times)
The controversy surrounding some of our nation's statues is understandable. I can understand many people objecting (even passionately) to statues of Christopher Columbus, Jefferson Davis, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and even Robert E. Lee.

But Matthias Baldwin!?

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, we have reached full-on Insanity. We are living in the midst of utter incoherence.

The protests and unrests are about (or are supposed to be about) reminding Americans that black lives indeed matter and that civil rights should be guaranteed and safeguarded for all Americans. 

Well, guess what? Matthias Baldwin agreed. Were he alive today, he would almost certainly be marching in the streets protesting the murder of George Floyd. 

Matthias Baldwin was an early abolitionist and civil rights champion. He was a proponent of the importance of education, and funded the education of black children out of his own pocket!

And yet... few people today have heard of him. And rather than his monument serve as a beacon of light or hope or inspiration, it has become the target of rage and defilement.

Vandals have, over the last several days, defaced or destroyed statues and memorials to:

  • the 54th Massachusetts
  • Union soldiers from Philadelphia 
  • Matthias Baldwin, and...
  • Abraham Lincoln

It is inconceivable that someone can champion civil rights and racial equality on the one hand and with the other hand, deface a memorial to the 54th Massachusetts or a monument to Matthias Baldwin.

To read more about what happened to the Matthias Brown statue, click here

It's not just personally inconceivable. It's objectively incoherent, preposterous, and absurd.

Clearly, these vandals - these malcontents - did not pay attention in history class or read a worthwhile history book in their lifetime. But what makes this even harder to grasp (at least for those of us who like to occasionally engage our brain) is that these folks can't even be bothered to read the plaques that normally accompany such statues or memorials!

To be clear, I oppose racism, repudiate white supremacy, support criminal justice reform, and believe in holding all public servants accountable. And I know that not all those protesting for civil rights and equal justice for all support the madness associated with defacing, damaging, or destroying these statues. 

But I hope all of us can agree: Nonsense like this needs to stop!