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Making History…and Erasing History

The past couple of weeks have been something to behold.  What started as a local protest calling for justice for George Floyd who tragically died at the hands of Minneapolis police on May 25 has exploded into a sometime violent nationwide revolution and a power grab by leftist radicals.  Even the modern 24-hour news cycle has struggled to keep pace with the events of the last two weeks.  Inigo Montoya, the character in the film “The Princess Bride” who was on a quest to avenge his father’s death, used a phrase when trying to explain to Wesley that Buttercup was about to be married to the evil Prince Humperdinck.  Montoya said, “Let me explain… No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”  I am still amazed that movie was not nominated for an Oscar.

So, in the context of the chain of events since Floyd was killed, “Let me explain…no, let me sum up.”

Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone

Most of the recent attention has been focused on the newly formed Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), a six-block area in downtown Seattle, which was taken by force during a riot and which has apparently seceded from the union. There are signs at the borders stating “Welcome to CHAZ” and “You are now leaving the USA.”  This latter message brought to mind the famous sign which was posted at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin after the end of World War II which warned “You are now leaving the American Sector.”  The other side of that sign, run by communists, was not very pretty.  The CHAZ denizens’ desired autonomy is apparently leading to shortages.

You might think that Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan would be concerned about this turn of events in her rainy city. She’s not…at least publicly.  She has also rebuffed President Trump’s call for Seattle to regain control of the city.  She has also declared that the actions to take over a portion of her city “are not terrorism, but patriotism.”

This is not the exercise of First Amendment rights.  This is a hostile takeover of territory, complete with border walls and controlled access enforced by armed guards.  It is still unclear exactly who is in charge of this new state.  It is also unclear what is happening to the businesses and residents within the borders of the CHAZ. What is clear as this and other autonomous zones are popping up all over the country is that they are less focused on seeing justice done for George Floyd as on taking political power.

One of the obligations of government is to maintain order and keep the peace.  To allow a group to take over a part of your city is doing just the opposite.  I guess we’ll all wait to see what Her Honor does, if anything, to resolve this conflict.

Rushing to Erase History

The stock market fell last week after making some tremendous gains as parts of the country begin to reopen.  But that’s not the only thing that is falling.  If you’re keeping score at home, statues and other monuments are falling (being toppled) all over the nation. Protesters (anarchists) have defaced/destroyed/pulled down statues of:

  • Christopher Columbus
  • Robert E. Lee
  • Jefferson Davis
  • Various confederate monuments

Interestingly, the statue of abolitionist Matthias Baldwin in Philadelphia has also been vandalized for some reason.

Not wanting to be left out, as reported on RollCall.com, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week called for the removal of 11 statues of confederate officials and soldiers from the U.S. Capitol National Statuary Hall Collection. In her letter to the Committee on the Library, Pelosi said, “While I believe it is imperative that we never forget our history lest we repeat it, I also believe that there is no room for celebrating the violent bigotry of the men of the Confederacy in the hallowed halls of the United States Capitol or in places of honor across the country.” The timing of the Speaker’s request is notable in that she has been in Congress since 1987 and Speaker of the House for over seven years.

The cancel culture’s insistence on removing statutes they deem inappropriate and silencing voices that disagree with them is a very slippery slope which, if left unchecked, threatens the bedrock founding principles of our Republic. Yes, some of our history is uncomfortable and regrettable. However, it is improper to just make it disappear as if it never happened.  All you can do with history is study it, learn from it and move forward.

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