“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” —George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905
Condemning Columbus & Exonerating Slavers
The City of Los Angeles has voted to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. And six months ago, Pepperdine University made the decision to remove a statue of Christopher Columbus erected in 1992 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s famous voyage to the New World, the same voyage that eventually resulted in the founding of an America whose President Thomas Jefferson would ban—together with England—the international slave trade, by 1808. It also goes without saying that another great American president, Abraham Lincoln, would abolish slavery domestically for all time. Pepperdine’s explanation of its removal of Columbus is, therefore, ironic to those who know history.
Pepperdine issued a statement saying of Columbus that, “as the impact of the arrival of explorers was assessed more fully, especially as those impacts related to indigenous people, a different view formed. Today, for many, including those within our campus community, stories of conquest and the art associated therewith are painful reminders of loss and human tragedy.” So what about the “stories of conquest” wherein indigenous peoples conquered other indigenous peoples? And what history can be taught that does not contain “painful reminders of loss and human tragedy” for somebody somewhere? Must we, then, stop teaching history? Human beings are nowhere and at no time perfect, nor will they ever be.
And what makes indigenous Americans so much better than white Americans, other than the fact that the Left finds it politically-correct to find no fault with Indians while blaming white people? What of the human tragedy associated with whites whose family members were killed, kidnaped, tortured, and enslaved by Indians? It was commonplace among many indigenous tribes to enslave debtors, captives, and prisoners of war. The Comanches even tortured women!
So replacing the commemoration of Columbus (whose bringing of European culture to the Americas ultimately resulted in the eradication of the international slave trade) with commemoration of the indigenous peoples (many of whom owned slaves) offers no moral improvement. This is merely an attempt to rescue one group’s feelings at the expense of another group.
The Comanche Indians, often under the direction of the women, exceled at torture. There is a record of a 16-year-old’s tribulations at the hands of the Comanches: “The 16-year-old girl’s once-beautiful face was grotesque. She had been disfigured beyond all recognition . . . by the Comanche Indians. Now, she was being offered . . . by Indian chiefs as part of a peace negotiation. To gasps of horror from the watching crowds, the Indians presented her at the Council House. . . . ‘Her head, arms and face were full of bruises and sores,’ wrote one witness, Mary Maverick. ‘And her nose was actually burnt off to the bone. Both nostrils were wide open and denuded of flesh.’ Once handed over, Matilda Lockhart broke down as she described the horrors she had endured—the rape, the relentless sexual humiliation and the way Comanche women had tortured her with fire. It wasn’t just her nose, her thin body was hideously scarred all over with burns. When she mentioned she thought there were 15 other white captives at the Indians’ camp, all of them being subjected to a similar fate, the Texan lawmakers and officials said they were detaining the Comanche chiefs while they rescued the others.” Who possesses the moral high ground here?
Not all indigenous peoples were peace-loving. So sponsoring an Indigenous Peoples Day is irresponsible, since doing so honors the cruel along with the kind. And just as all Indian tribes were not cruel, neither are all white people motivated by racism.
The Left’s Campaign of Organized Forgetting
The American Left—in its attempts at organized forgetting—wishes to destroy the memorials from America’s past. Such monuments are not a danger to modern-day America—an America in which a black man can be elected President of the United States.
Those memorials stand as tokens of remembrance—of the good, the bad, and the ugly—and they bear silent witness to what America could return to, if unpleasant lessons are excised from the pages of history, thereby making them unavailable for learning. George Santayana intimated that only lovers of the truth can ever be free. “The truth is cruel,” according to Santayana, “but it can be loved and it makes free those who love it.” So, we must embrace all of history, if we are to learn the truth about the depths to which human beings can plummet, as well as the heights to which they can soar. America has paid for many of her lessons in blood, sweat, and tears, and they ought not to be so cavalierly ignored or so casually forgotten.
Are Democrats Aiming to Forget Their Racist History?
Most—if not all—of the racist memorials at issue are depictions of Democrats. Indeed, the Democrat Party was the party of slavery, while the Republicans were abolitionists. It was the Democrat Chief Justice Taney who wrote for the Supreme Court in support of the Dred Scott decision that “as a black man, Scott was not a citizen of a state and could not bring suit in a federal court. . . . [S]upporters of slavery (members of the Democratic Party) were pleased with the Dred Scott decision. It supported their rights to have slaves. . . .”
Democrats voted against Lincoln and for a war in favor of keeping slavery; it was Democrats who founded the Ku Klux Klan; and Democrats created the Jim-Crow apartheid that was murderously enforced by the Klan: “The 1924 Democratic Convention, in the race against the arch-conservative, pro-civil-rights . . . Calvin Coolidge, was . . . known as the ‘Klanbake’ for the heavy and vocal KKK presence; their nominee that year would go on to argue the losing, pro-segregation side in Brown v. Board of Education.”
Star Parker Outs the New Plantation
Contemporary Democrats have switched to a strategy of crippling black communities by incentivizing dependence on easy-money welfare programs, rather than encouraging the hard work that increases wealth. The Democrats have—according to Star Parker, a black ex-welfare mother and political activist—institutionalized poverty among blacks and other minorities, in order to create a “new plantation” to keep minorities poor and hungry for Big-Government handouts and freedom-killing socialism. Parker has written Uncle Sam’s Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America’s Poor and What You Can Do About It.
Forgetters of History Demand Segregation
So, is it really a surprise that, as a result of Leftist-controlled universities’ failure to teach history with integrity, black students at Cal State Los Angeles are demanding segregation from whites in separate-but-equal college housing facilities? And what about Harvard’s holding a separate-but-equal graduation ceremony for blacks? Does this really help race relations? Martin Luther King and Thurgood Marshall, both heroic Americans, would say, “No, it does not.”
The Democrat agenda of segregation (now called “identity politics”) is asserting itself once again. This is the agenda that Dr. King and many Constitutionalists both white and black fought against. Some Democrat leaders demand special protections for blacks and minorities—a supremacist mindset that wants minorities given privileges that whites are not allowed access to. This goes against the Golden Rule, yet many are accused of racist “dog-whistling” whenever they invoke the Equal Protection guarantees of the Constitution, claiming everyone should be treated the same, as Dr. Martin Luther King taught. White believers in the Golden Rule are often called racist, while blacks are labeled “Uncle Toms.” Today’s black segregationists’ demands for separate-but-equal facilities in education run counter to the principles of fair play espoused by Thurgood Marshall and Martin Luther King.
“Separate Educational Facilities Are Inherently Unequal”
It was Thurgood Marshall who appeared before the Supreme Court to argue that “segregation was a violation of individual rights under the 14th Amendment. . . . On May 17, 1954, Chief Justice Earl Warren, delivered the unanimous ruling: ‘We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.’”
Thurgood Marshall and Martin Luther King fought for a colorblind America, where the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution held sway, a civil society where black and white children could play together, attend school together, and be free together—free from discrimination, free from supremacist notions, and free from the segregationist beliefs of racists.
How the Left Is Already Attempting to Rewrite the Recent History of Charlottesville to Divide Americans
There are definite questions about the planning of the demonstration-turned-deadly in Charlottesville, Virginia. The “Unite the Right” organizer of the event, Jason Kessler, has solid bona fides with the Left—not the Right—and is a former supporter of President Barack Obama; according to The Southern Poverty Law Center: “Rumors abound on white nationalist forums that Kessler’s ideological pedigree before 2016 was less than pure and seem to point to involvement in the Occupy movement and past support for President Obama.”
White Supremacism & Nazi Fascism Are Left-wing
It should be noted that Fascists are Leftists. So perhaps Kessler’s Leftist credentials should not be surprising. The Nazis were originally the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, big-government socialists of the Left. The Nazis, who promoted racial-identity politics, are scarily similar to the Democrat Party of today. So, “Unite the Right” is a disingenuous—even dishonest—way for Leftist propagandists to refer to white-supremacist protestors, given the fact that fascist racism is a left-wing phenomenon.
Robert E. Lee: Insights
According to the left-leaning Snopes, “Robert E. Lee . . . neither owned slaves nor inherited any, thus it is not correct to assert that he ‘freed his slaves’ (in 1862 or at any other time). . . . [T]he slaves that Lee supposedly owned actually belonged to his father-in-law, George Washington Parke Custis. . . . Upon Custis’ death in 1857, Lee did not ‘inherit’ those slaves; rather, he carried out the directions expressed in Custis’ will regarding those slaves. . . . Custis’ will stipulated that all of his slaves were to be freed within five years. . . . So while Lee did technically free those slaves at the end of 1862, it was not his choice to do so; he was required to emancipate them by the conditions of his father-in-law’s will.”
Indeed, Lee’s is a complicated person. The National Review editorializes thus: “After the war, he accepted defeat and did his part to promote national healing. Yet, faced with a momentous choice at the start of the war, he decided he was a Virginia patriot rather than an American nationalist. He told one of President Abraham Lincoln’s advisers: ‘. . . If I owned the four million slaves . . . I would sacrifice them all to the Union; but how can I draw my sword upon Virginia, my native state?’” If history teaches anything, it is that human beings are complicated.
Violence on All Sides
After the demonstration began at Lee’s statue in Charlottesville, an unwelcome contingent of violent Leftists appeared, as if on cue, bearing baseball bats and spoiling for a fight. The original demonstrators—racist as many of them were—were peaceful. It was the Antifa crowd whose violent attacks sparked the rioting on all sides—Nazi Leftists, KKK Leftists, Antifa Leftists, etc. A New York Times reporter initially questioned the Hollywood media narrative that white supremacists were the only violent people at the event.
Police Stand Down
As the violent group approached, the police stood down and allowed a veritable combat zone to come into existence . President Trump quickly issued a statement that was descriptive of the situation where all the groups had engaged in violence, saying, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides.” The president also said, “Above all, we must remember this truth, no matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are all Americans first. . . . We must love each other, respect each other and cherish our history and our future together.”
According to Breitbart News, President Trump “moved quickly to address the violence in Charlottesville, first sending a message on Twitter condemning the violence. ‘We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for,’ he wrote. ‘There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Let’s come together as one!’” Trump’s remarks immediately sparked media criticism for his not condemning neo-Nazis and white nationalists by name. But, as Breitbart has pointed out, “[t]raditionally . . . presidents usually address violent protests by calling for peace and unity—waiting to assign blame until order is restored.”
In the past, the left-leaning American Civil Liberties Union, whose leadership is comprised of Democrats, argued to allow racist demonstrations by Nazis, as long as they were peaceful. So, criticism by the Democrat media outlet Politico, criticizing Donald Trump’s remarks defending free speech, as long as it is peaceful, is duplicitous. Indeed, Democrats defended the ACLU position on free speech in the past—which was identical to Trump’s position in his official comments. Trump also made a comment hinting that not all of the demonstrators wanting to preserve the history symbolized by the monument were racist and that not all of the Antifa counter-protestors were violent, in an effort not to rush to judgment: “You have people who are very fine people on both sides.” By pointing out that the groups were mixed in nature, and not condemning everyone who participated in the original protest, Trump came under fire from the Left that never would have been leveled at him, had he been a Democrat.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964
When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, 65% of Democrats voted for the legislation. But 80% of Republicans voted for the law. Republicans opposing the act did so due to what they saw as the problematic wording of Title II and Title VII, while many Democrats who did vote for the act would not have done so without the coercion of President Johnson.
A Sidenote on Modern-Day Democrat Racists
Senator Robert Byrd, a Democrat and an ex-leader of the Ku Klux Klan, filibustered the civil rights bill. It was Byrd who had written these words, in December 1944: “I shall never fight in the armed forces with a negro by my side. . . . Rather I should die a thousand times . . . than to see this beloved land . . . become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.”
Is it, therefore, shocking for many to learn that Senator Byrd was Hillary Clinton’s mentor and best friend in the Senate. And it was Bill Clinton, a Democrat President of the United States, who justified Byrd’s ultra-racism, saying that Byrd “once had a fleeting association with the Ku Klux Klan, and . . . I’ll tell you what it means. He was a country boy from the hills and hollows of West Virginia. He was [just] trying to get elected.” But Leftist journalists tend to turn a blind eye to the racism of Democrats, in an attempt to hide it from the public.
It is interesting that Snopes rushed to debunk a story about Hillary’s wearing black-face at a party, only to have their debunking efforts debunked by others, as if to say, “Not so fast!” Had Trump been the one accused, would a speedy debunking by Snopes have even been attempted?
The Voting Rights Act of 1965
When the Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed, it saw 94% of the GOP support it and 71% of Democrats. Finally, Republicans could celebrate the restoration of the voting rights they had approved for blacks a century earlier, before the Democrats repealed them. The history of Republicans supporting civil rights more than Democrats—even in the passage of the ’64 and ’65 acts—has been rewritten by a corrupt media.
True History Must Be Taught
It is common today for students, when asked to name Abe Lincoln’s party affiliation, to answer that he was a Democrat. In the history teaching of today, even in America’s universities, instructors often omit Lincoln’s party affiliation. When students state aloud the falsehood that Lincoln was a Democrat, many professors stand silently by, choosing not to correct them. So the issue is much larger than mere statuary. The problem is one of teaching the truth to students, that few historical personalities are all good or all bad. For example, Thomas Jefferson, who owned slaves, also wrote into the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal,” thereby sponsoring an American birth of freedom for all people—according to the Golden Rule—that would eventually legitimize Lincoln’s abolitionism and, ultimately, Dr. King’s Civil Rights Movement as well.
True history must be taught—even if the truth is that many American Indians were fierce warriors and slavers who tortured their captives; and that Christopher Columbus set in motion forces that would result in the founding of a new nation that would become the freest country known to man and the safest place on earth for the faithful to practice their religions.
So, to express gratitude for the freedom that never would have existed, but for Columbus’ momentous efforts, “Happy Columbus Day!”
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com