Founder Fodder and Fraudulent Fealty: Stature, Statues, & Statutes.
Why do Americans revere and revel in the selfish, subjugator, and seditious?
“Those of a certain historical personage must not be fully condemned for any genocidal character flaws, or sadistic ventures, if other achievements provide people of the same dominant culture with a properly justified, and suitably sanctified, distance from, or scale of, those crimes. Objectivity here is unhelpful.” — Mao, Stalin, Hitler, or Pol Pot?
Though Robert E. Lee has been called a great general with only minimal and biased evidence to back up that claim, let us consider the claim true. How does such a claim make his enslaver background, seditious actions, and racist ideas disappear? Americans may forgive whoever they want; however they are not truly forgiving without knowing the facts, and understanding how their easy forgiveness perpetuates racism, White supremacy, and our other social viruses. Americans support the enemy of today by venerating the ancestor that legitimatizes today’s racist conflicts. The distance from their actions and ideas cannot be used as a brush to whitewash away their racism.
Many founders and other historical figures may have done great things, or developed laudable ideas, and statutes in their era, but if we burnish the stature of those with ugly pasts with statues and such, are their good productions not corrupted by their bad actions? The Nazis had a campaign to reduce smoking because of its deleterious effects; does that mean we should have a swastika in every smoking cessation campaign? While that comparison may be simplistic and imperfect, the belief that nothing is harmed by promoting their effectively sanitized lives, and veneration of their visages in majestic poses is also simplistic fawning, and deleteriously imperfect in the inculcation of our current values. Must we hero worship any individual to promote and implement their better angel actions or ideas?
“Indians and wolves are both beasts of prey, tho’ they differ in shape.” — George Washington.