In 2015, a racist scumbag (I refuse to name him–let his name be lost to history) who shall henceforth be known as “some asshole” shot up a church. According to his own screed he did this to “inspire” others to rise up and join him in some kind of racist jihad. (Part of the reason I am using that term for “holy war” is because it would annoy the asshole that much more.)
Notice that “inspire” bit. People weren’t listening to him. He was a racist asshole and, as such, nobody paid any heed to what he said. They certainly didn’t join him in his self-proclaimed jihad.
Well, a certain segment immediately rose up and insisted that far from trying to inspire others to his own vile ways that were his own responsibility, he was actually inspired by widespread racism in the US as a whole and in the South in general. In particular it was those Confederate Flags!
Actually, most of those people wouldn’t recognize the actual Confederate Flag:
That was the flag of the Confederate States of America. How often do you see this flag flying anywhere? What you see is the following:
Close variants of this flag were the battle flag for the Army of Northern Virginia, the Army of Tennessee, and the second Naval Jack (flag flown at the bow of a ship or boat where an “Ensign” is flown at the stern). This wasn’t a flag for politicians or decision makers. It was a flag for the poor saps who fought in the lines and on the ships. Many of these men were conscripts given no choice in the matter. Many of the volunteers had no interest in the subject of slavery and just wanted to defend their homes against what they saw as “northern aggression”. (One can believe they were wrong while still recognizing their own position as an honorable one.)
But, the flag had to come down people were told and they started coming down.
That wasn’t enough.
Next it was monuments to generals and soldiers who fought in the war. The most prominent to come under fire was the Stone Mountain monument but others were also targeted and removed. Most, if not all, were and continue to be removed based not on votes showing a clear wish of “the people” but on the basis of protests carried out by a tiny fraction of the population who make up for their lack of numbers with the volume of their demands. In fact, so far as I know, not one was removed based on a popular vote or even a reasonably reliable poll. Just lots of screams by loud protesters and politicians saying “fine already!”
And the politicians give them what they want. If the politicians don’t? Why then the loudest among the protesters will take it anyway as in the case of Durham, NC where vandals pulled down a statue and seemed confused about why they were being arrested for vandalism. Or even starting to dig up a buried Confederate General.
So would this ongoing removal of memorials be enough?
President Trump suggested that the people going after Confederate memorials now might go after Washington or Jefferson next because they were both slave owners.
Apparently he was right.
CNN commentator “I don’t care if it’s a George Washington statue or a Thomas Jefferson statue or a Robert E. Lee statue they all need to come down”.
A tile decoration in a New York city subway that merely bears a coincidental resemblance to the battle flag/navy jack has to be changed
A pastor in Chicago demands that Washington Park and Jackson Park (named for Andrew Jackson, the founder of the Democrat Party) need to be changed because of their views on slavery.
And if they get their way, will that be enough?
Look, I’ll be blunt here. A statue is not going to turn an otherwise decent person into a racist. That a school is named for a person who fought or led troops in the Confederacy isn’t going to make its students suddenly go out and hate black people. None of this actually perpetuates or creates racism. And while actual racists might point to those symbols, taking away the symbol isn’t going to make them any less racist. It just adds fuel, and a sense of being justified, to their hatred.
The people behind these movements know this. They are not stupid. They know that none of this will accomplish anything toward the ending of racism. So, since they know this will not accomplish their stated goals we have to look elsewhere for what their real goals might be. Actually, you don’t need to look very far. The people pushing behind these movements gain power and influence by their perpetuation.
That means that, no, getting whatever they’re demanding now will not be enough. Declaring “that’s enough” will mean an end to their power and influence. Nothing will ever satisfy them because for those who have acquired a taste for power and influence that hunger is a bottomless pit that can never be sated.
Giving them what they want, in the hopes that they’ll go away, does not get rid of them. It merely tells them that they can keep making demands to get still more. Much like the Danes of a day gone by:
It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
To call upon a neighbour and to say: —
“We invaded you last night–we are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away.”
And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you’ve only to pay ’em the Dane-geld
And then you’ll get rid of the Dane!
It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say: —
“Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away.”
And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.
It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say: —
“We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that pays it is lost!