The presidential campaign will be about…statues?


So, how are you celebrating the Fourth of July? I’m not. It’s just another day when idiots will crank up the jingo and make me embarrassed to be an American, so I don’t have any reason to party — quite the contrary, I plan to duck down low and hope the whole shameful episode goes away soon.

The president, on the other hand, took the opportunity yesterday to amplify his disgrace with a partisan demonization of his critics.

“The radical ideology attacking our country advances under the banner of social justice. But in truth, it would demolish both justice and society,” Trump said. “It would transform justice into an instrument of division and vengeance and turn our free society into a place of repression, domination and exclusion. They want to silence us, but we will not be silenced.”

The president, who recently signed an executive order aimed at punishing those who destroy monuments on federal property, referred to “violent mayhem” in the streets, even though many of the mass demonstrations have been largely peaceful. He warned that “angry mobs” were unleashing “a wave of violent crime” and using “cancel culture” as a weapon to intimidate and dominate political opponents — in what he compared to “totalitarianism.”

And Trump asserted that “children are taught in school to hate their own country and to believe the men and women who built it were not heroes but villains.”

“This radical view of American history is a web of lies,” he added.

“They think the American people are weak and soft and submissive,” Trump said. “But no, the American people are strong and proud, and they will not allow our country and all of its values, history and culture to be taken from them.”

To demonstrate totalitarianism, Trump also had Indian protesters, who have long protested the seizure of their land to build a ‘patriotic’ monument to American colonialism, sculpted by a racist, arrested. Message received.

We’re living in interesting times, when we face the ongoing threats of a pandemic and climate change, when the police have been rampaging against the citizenry, when naked racism is exposing itself everywhere, when the government is a nest of corruption and incompetence. One might wonder what our president might do to address these issues, rather than inflame them. Don’t worry. He has a Plan. A cunning plan, no less, one that we’ll hear much more about as he runs for re-election.

In an effort to fight back, he announced a surprise executive order establishing “The National Garden of American Heroes”, a vast outdoor park featuring statues of “the greatest Americans to ever live” – a selection sure to provoke debate and controversy.

You see, the real problem is that statues are under threat, and we have to provide a refuge from oppression for a huge gallery of random collections of statues. Someone threatens to tear down a statue of slaver and traitor Robert E. Lee? Send in a helicopter and whisk it away to some acreage full of other statues of people no one should like. A retirement home for representations of dead people of dubious character, if you will, sprinkled with a few monuments to people like Ulysses Grant and Harriet Tubman to give the shameful dead some respectability.

That’s a Trumpian solution, all right, celebrating the problem and making it worse, creating a centralized repository of bad art and bad history which he can have patrolled by armed guards who will shoot and/or arrest people who dare to protest his celebration of freedom. He also desperately wants to make this nonsense a campaign issue, because for sure he won’t be running on his record or his abilities.

Comments

  1. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    He wants us to celebrate Confederate Generals such as Robert E Lee as heroes despite leading armies against us. Like said in the OP it is abhorrent that he is arresting the owners (so to speak) of the land that we took from them violating* a treaty we made with them. Blasting fireworks over a forest at risk of wildfire, by saying “it’s a STONE monument, can’t burn” is the action of a malicious psychopath trying to sound like a moron for his words to get disregarded.
    He loves to generalize, pointlessly.
    The fact we hate aspects of our history, he generalizes to saying “we hate history”.
    Saying the removal of monuments to Confederate generals is hatred of our country, makes him sound like a Confederate who got time warped 150 years into his future to restore the Confederacy, and reestablish slavery to restore our economy.

    SCOTUS decided the treaty was violated by us, and set up a trust fund as recompense, which the Oglala have refused to touch, wanting the land returned, as they consider it sacred ground, which we heartlessly desecrated to carve a monument of leaders, we honor, who were not kind to the Oglala in their lifetime. It is a literal stick in eye of the native residents of these lands.

  2. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re @1
    yes. good point.
    Independence Day, is actually a generic term that can be applied anywhere over the world, and is not exclusive to the USA only.

  3. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re @3:
    speaking of Independence Day, I hope Nov 3 2020 will be our next one to celebrate when we gain independence from GOP domination of this country

  4. Sonja says

    Karl Marx worked as journalist in London during the American Civil War. Writing in 1861, he makes what I think is a good case for removing Confederate statues, but keeping the Founders:

    “The question of the principle of the American Civil War is answered by the battle slogan with which the South broke the peace. Stephens [VP of the Confederacy]…declared in the secession Congress, that what essentially distinguished the Constitution hatched at Montgomery from the Constitution of the Washingtons and Jeffersons was that for now for the first time slavery was recognized as institution for good in itself, and as the foundation of the whole state edifice, whereas the revolutionary fathers, men steeped in the prejudices of the eighteenth century, had treated slavery as an evil imported from England and to be eliminated in the course of time.”

  5. says

    Have a darkly ironic 4th:

    https://tucson.com/news/local/as-covid-19-explodes-in-arizona-sonora-to-close-border-to-nonessential-travel/article_7668dd23-53c4-5ed2-9d16-967b4112dbe9.html

    “SAN CARLOS, Sonora — Mexican authorities are closing the U.S-Sonora border to nonessential travel this holiday weekend, when Arizonans would normally flock to Mexican beach towns like Rocky Point and San Carlos for the Fourth of July.

    Starting Saturday, July 4, southbound travelers without essential business in Sonora will be turned away at border checkpoints in Nogales, Agua Prieta, Sonoyta and San Luis Rio Colorado, said Sonora Gov. Claudia Pavlovich’s office. The governor did not specify an end-date for the border closure.”

  6. HidariMak says

    My apology if this idea has already been raised, and for some possible tin hattery on my part. Is it possible that Trump is so desperate for help from Russia with the 2020 elections, that he’s continually making America worse? Between removing the law which would ban foreign interference with national elections, public health and the US economy being in constant peril due to mishandling of the coronavirus, and refusing to even publicly criticize Russia for their paying militants to kill US troops, incompetence is no longer enough to explain Trump’s actions, since it makes his ideal of establishing a fascist dictatorship harder to achieve.

  7. raven says

    So, how are you celebrating the Fourth of July?

    Doing the same thing I’ve been doing for 4 months now.
    Coffin Dodging!!!
    I will go nowhere and see no one in an attempt to not catch the Covid-19 virus and die.
    (As a Boomer, I’m in a high risk group.)

    It’s become a very popular sport here in the USA.
    Now that baseball, football, and basketball have been cancelled, Coffin Dodging is the most popular sport in the USA with tens of millions of people playing it every day.

    The prize for winning, needless to say is very valuable, you get more days to keep playing.
    As an extreme sport, the losers can be permanently disabled or killed.

    PS And oh yeah, Happy Fourth of July.

  8. says

    I 100% guarantee that his speech was written by Stephen Miller. It has his signature “No, you guys are the racists!1!!” fingerprint all over it.

  9. Artor says

    “It would transform justice into an instrument of division and vengeance and turn our free society into a place of repression, domination and exclusion. They want to silence us, but we will not be silenced.”

    Why is this idiot speaking in the past tense? All of this is already the status quo.

  10. dianne says

    I feel like there’s a horror movie premise in this statue retirement home premise somewhere, but can’t quite put my finger on it.

  11. unclefrogy says

    he is kind of cute in that in his pronouncements and statements he projects perfectly what he is doing he just says the other guy is doing it.

    “The radical ideology attacking our country advances under the banner of social justice. But in truth, it would demolish both justice and society,” Trump said. “It would transform justice into an instrument of division and vengeance and turn our free society into a place of repression, domination and exclusion. They want to silence us, but we will not be silenced.”

    there is a kind of perverse innocence to him
    reminds me of the song “The Snake” by Oscar Brown jr.
    uncle frogy

  12. raven says

    In an effort to fight back, he announced a surprise executive order establishing “The National Garden of American Heroes”, a vast outdoor park featuring statues of “the greatest Americans to ever live” – a selection sure to provoke debate and controversy.

    I had to check to see if this wasn’t a joke by the Onion.

    .1. Trump has a history of issuing executive orders with no followup, no way to carry them out, and no funding. This is what he did during the pandemic and why we still have the pandemic.
    There is a good possibility that this will be soon forgotten.

    .2. BBC. “State authorities and civic organisations are invited to donate statues for it.”
    I can see that this would be a huge benefit.
    All those embarrassing and useless statues don’t have to be torn down or defended.
    They could all be “donated” to the National Depository of Unwanted Monuments.

    .3. Who is going to visit it and why anyway?
    It just seems like a boring way to waste a vacation trip.

  13. says

    So I had to look it up a couple weeks ago, there’s a scene in Golden Eye, the James Bond film that takes place in a park/dump full of statues that came down after the fall of the Soviet Union. That place really existed. It’s called “The Park of Fallen Heros”. I would have loved to have seen it, but they started clearing out the garbage about ten years ago. I don’t idolize Lenin or Stalin or any of them, well maybe Gorbachov a bit. But it still would have been something to see.

    Go ahead, build your “Hero Garden” Donny. I’ll enjoy watching it rot into the ground.

  14. blf says

    I feel like there’s a horror movie premise in this statue retirement home premise somewhere, but can’t quite put my finger on it.

    Another appearance of the Weeping Angels in Doctor Who, perhaps especially if it’s built on, say, the Hanford Site

  15. nomuse says

    I actually sort of like the park idea.
    Instead of being in the middle of public life, or worse yet, standing in front of a school or library or courthouse as a reminder of long-standing biases, they are off somewhere else.
    Somewhere that is contexting them only by silence. Sure, I’d love to see Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson in a museum of the tribal experience, where it could be explained properly why that statue was built and by whom and what it means to living people. But having the made-in-anger statues all congregated in a bare plaza where their uniformity of crude workmanship and bad taste are on full display; well that’s not bad. That silence would speak volumes.
    Plus it makes a third option. No, we’re not destroying this Important Piece of American History, we’re just moving it. Somewhere where the only people subjected to it are racists and idiots and the rare snarky art student.
    It would also be a great exercise in self-labeling. Oh, that school sent a tour there? I’m not saying shun them, but maybe we should take a closer look at their policies and behavior. A bit like the ark park — say, we can’t convince them to build this Garden of Racism on reclaimed ground, can we, so we can add the chance of it all rotting and then falling into its own swamp?

  16. unclefrogy says

    as a record of history such a “garden of fallen heroes” would be interesting displaying people and events we no longer memorialize , full of old dead politics

    a good solution to a difficult problem. The Ozymandias garden
    uncle frogy

  17. dianne says

    blf @16: Someone definitely needs to add a weeping angel statue to the statue retirement home if it ever happens.

  18. says

    @18
    “The Ozymandias garden”
    I love that!
    “Half sunk, a shattered visage lies…”
    “My name is Forest and look upon my racism and despair.”

  19. birgerjohansson says

    Speaking of monuments….
    Trump supporters shouted ‘go home’ to indians protesting the rally held at Mt Rushmore, on indian land.
    This is a perfect example of historical ignorance.

  20. says

    @21
    “Go Home” huh. Do MAGA morons have zero sense of irony? Only explanation I’ve got. We carved the faces of our nation’s heroes into a mountain on someone else’s (literally) promised land. Australia hasn’t carved Steve Erwin and Paul Hogan into Uluru (AKA Ayer’s Rock). Sorry Aussies, not trying to pick on you, just trying to showcase the absurdity of Mt Rushmore in general.

  21. Akira MacKenzie says

    Samuel Johnson was wrong. Patriotism isn’t “the last refuge of the scoundrel.” It’s patriotism’s ONLY qualification.

  22. Akira MacKenzie says

    @24

    Samuel Johnson wrote that ”Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” Since I’ve never met anyone who evoked patriotism (especially the American) who wasn’t a colossal shit from the get-go, I disagree with him that it’s the last.

  23. lumipuna says

    The Ozymandias garden

    I met a traveller from the Land of Antics
    Who said: Two vast and trunkless hands of stone
    Strewn in a park. Near them, on the lawn,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those delusions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that tweeted at, and the hair that wasn’t dead
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    ‘My name is Trumpymandias, the president:
    Look on my wall, ye Swarthy, and despair!’
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The golf lawns stretch far away.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozymandias

  24. leerudolph says

    He was walking through a room bigger than a city, and everywhere he looked there were statues and carvings and rough-hewn images. He was standing beside a statue of a woman-like thing: her naked breasts hung, flat and pendulous on her chest, around her waist was a chain of severed hands, both of her own hands held sharp knives, and, instead of a head, rising from her neck there were twin serpents, their bodies arched, facing each other, ready to attack. There was something profoundly disturbing about the statue, a deep and violent wrongness. Shadow backed away from it.

    He began to walk through the hall. The carved eyes of those statues that had eyes seemed to follow his every step.

    In his dream, he realized that each statue had a name burning on the floor in front of it. The man with the white hair, with a necklace of teeth about his neck, holding a drum, was Leucotios; the broad-hipped woman, with monsters dropping from the vast gash between her legs, was Hubur; the ram-headed man holding the golden ball was Hershef.

    A precise voice, fussy and exact, was speaking to him, in his dream, but he could see no one.

    “These are gods who have been forgotten, and now might as well be dead. They can be found only in dry histories. They are gone, all gone, but their names and their images remain with us.”

    Shadow turned a corner, and knew himself to be in another room, even vaster than the first. It went on further than the eye could see. Close to him was the skull of a mammoth, polished and brown, and a hairy ochre cloak, being worn by a small woman with a deformed left hand. Next to that were three women, each carved from the same granite boulder, joined at the waist: their faces had an unfinished, hasty look to them, although their breasts and genitalia had been carved with elaborate care; and there was a flightless bird which Shadow did not recognize, twice his height, with a beak made for rending, like a vulture’s, but with human arms: and on, and on.

    The voice spoke once more, as if it were addressing a class, saying, “These are the gods who have passed out of memory. Even their names are lost. The people who worshiped them are as forgotten as their gods. Their totems are long since broken and cast down. Their last priests died without passing on their secrets.

    “Gods die. And when they truly die they are unmourned and unremembered. Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed, in the end.”

    From Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

  25. says

    @25, Ah that Samuel Johnson. The Dictionary guy. I see where you’re going now. Trump invokes patriotism whenever he’s threatened and he certainly is a scoundrel.

  26. blf says

    Apropos of nothing much, according to Quotes on Patriotism — The Samuel Johnson Sound Bite Page (my added emboldening):

    ● In the fourth (1773) edition of his Dictionary, Johnson defines “patriot” as “One whose ruling passion is the love of his country. It is sometimes used for a disturber of the government.

    ● “Let us take a patriot, where we can meet him; and, that we may not flatter ourselves by false appearances, distinguish those marks which are certain, from those which may deceive; for a man may have the external appearance of a patriot, without the constituent qualities; as false coins have often lustre, though they want weight.” — The Patriot (1774).

    ● “He that wishes to see his country robbed of its rights cannot be a patriot.” — The Patriot.

    ● “It is unpleasing to represent our affairs to our own disadvantage; yet it is necessary to shew the evils which we desire to be removed.” — Introduction to the Political State of Great Britain (1756).

  27. says

    @30
    I had to check the dates, but this kind of rhetoric reminds me a lot of the Jacobite rebellions that happened a few decades earlier.

  28. Rich Woods says

    “It would transform justice into an instrument of division and vengeance”

    Isn’t this exactly why Trump appointed William Barr to the Justice Department?

  29. Kagehi says

    Oooh.. Can we make his park like the mass statue graves they created in Russia, for everything depicting Stalin, or the original hammer and sickle stuff that was every place? Not that what replaced the USSR is better, but.. love the idea of endless fields of abandoned junk, waiting for the day that someone decides they need to be recycled. lol

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