In titling this piece, I use the term “conserve” because Confederate Monuments are dwindling at an alarming rate similar to populations of endangered animals, and free speech unfortunately finds itself in a similar peril. It simply isn’t safe to be a Confederate Monument anywhere, much less in the South, and now it has become unsafe to voice support for protection of these monuments.
Why is this the case? Truthfully, and as objectively as possible, I would have to lay blame at the feet of Identity politics.
Confederate Monuments are still prominent historical landmarks in many cities, including this one in front of the Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa, Florida. Source: Tampa Bay Times
Mayors and City Councils of “blue” Townships all across the South Eastern portion of the United States are ordering, by way of legislation or otherwise, that Confederate Monuments in their respective districts be destroyed because some few find them racially insensitive. Why they find these Confederate Men and women’s memories to be more racially inappropriate than the memories of our Nations founding fathers, most all of whom were slave owners, we may never quite know. Alas,the Left has also also found a significant source of political capitol in these monuments, and are seeming to cash it in for small victories during this drought of success the left is experiencing at state and federal levels.
Protestors toppling a Confederate Monument at the old Durham County Courthouse following the incidents in Charlottesville this week. Source: Long Room
For instance, today in Charlottesville Virginia, a group of citizens who had court approved permission to protest removal of a historical monument honoring the painful but profound Civil War of the American United States, were met with riotous opposition. Let me be very clear about what portion of this information is most important to understand, these citezens were at this particular park in Charlottesville to legally protest the removal of a Confederate Monument. That alone was the sole original purpose of the event today.
Not too terribly controversial right? I mean, in all actuality its just some bronze, iron and concrete that represents no more than a memory. The simple conflict lies in its implications, which is very easily argued on both sides, and make for valid points of debate and discussion.
That being said, this demonstration quickly branded the issue of confederate monument preservation as a direct conflict of race. This commandeering of the political stage, per usual, is the doing of the alt-left hate groups called ANTIFA (self proclaimed antifascist) and known terror group Black Lives Matter. Naturally the conflict turned violent at the hands of the riotous radicals and the mission of those original concerned citizens, who simply meant to exercise their constitutional right to protest the decimation of a monument, was lost and forgotten.
Why? Why have we allowed this become our reality as Americans? Why can we not as conservatives prevent our key ideologies from falling into this irrational argument of identity politics. We allow our ideas and values, like faith and history, to be painted as so evil that no logical conversation can be had about them. I cannot emphasize enough how alarmingly Orwellian this strategy is, or how upset we should all be that that the radical left is having alarming success employing it.
Let me begin my argument by sharing the, seemingly, little known fact that the happenings of 2017 cannot, in any reality, erase our country’s intimate familiarity with division, or the actuality of its enduring a Civil War.
Second, no amount of destruction to our Confederate Monuments can heal the ugly wounds of racism in the American South, and it is lazy as well as insulting to believe that it could. The real issue here is in how we will collectively move forward and protect the virtue of our principals like faith, history, and patriotism from the likes of extremists on both the left and the right. I may also remind that if we prove unable to seize the narrative on this particular incident as well as others like it, we alone will be responsible for the aftermath that a blow to conservatism would leave in its wake.
In my opinion, the charge must first be taken by conservative leaders in the form of harsh condemnation of radical racist views on both sides, by way of clarifying the difference between simple protest and riot. As we all understand, the people of this great nation have a constitutional right to protest all activities and even the existence of their governments on local, state, and federal levels. This being the case, the #neverTrump media mistitles the occurrences as protests, when they are in fact riots. The days events obviously began as a protest (an activity that furthers a cause) but evolved very quickly into a riot (an activity that is causeless, and silences all other causes).
Once again, we have another gross display of liberalism in a college town that has manipulated a peaceful protest into an unlawful riot, ultimately resulting in death and destruction. I am in no way endorsing the views of racial nationalism in the United States, but I am defending their right to voice their opinions/ideologies and to protest whatever they choose. The element of riot was once again introduced by the radical left to silence free speech and advance their political agenda with terror and misconduct and that is a problem.
Until we are able to stand up, take control of our message and enforce rule of law, we are in danger of not only compromising the conservative platform, but losing the rights of free speech we all so often lean on as Americans to ensure our voices heard without fear. The free speech that so many great men and women sacrificed their lives upon the alter of liberty to protect.