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Dr. Carol M. Swain Notes the Empty Space Where Robert E. Lee Statue Stood

AP Photo/Steve Helber

I'm calling it now … Joe Biden will bring up the hoax that Donald Trump called neo-Nazis "very fine people" during the debates (while Trump's mic is shut off). The video is clear as day: Trump was saying there were good people on both sides of the argument over tearing down Confederate statues. Some thought they were a painful reminder of slavery. Others thought they were important historical artifacts. We know which side won that argument. Trump was also prescient in asking where it would stop: George Washington? Thomas Jefferson?

When former Harvard President Claudine Gay was proven to be a plagiarist, academics like Marc Lamont Wilson blamed "mediocre white men" for trying to tarnish an accomplished black woman's academic reputation. Among those mediocre white men was Dr. Carol M. Swain, from whom Gay had plagiarized part of her work. Swain wasn't happy about the academic theft.

This week, Swain posted a photo from Virginia of where the Robert E. Lee monument used to stand. Now there's nothing — not even a statue of George Floyd.

Attached is my photo of the space  that once held the Robert E. Lee monument. There is nothing to see now.  On Wednesday, I visited the empty spaces that once told an important part of Virginia’s history.  Unfortunately, in the cultural revolution of 2020, anarchists  destroyed historical artifacts which were a major source of tourism for Richmond, VA. Seeing the grass mounds left behind was a deeply troubling experience for me that triggered memories of the Taliban’s 2001  tearing down of Afghanistan’s  Buddhas of Bamiyan. There is no real difference.  Those so-called leaders who allowed the monuments to be desecrated and removed have robbed our children of an opportunity to learn from history. Instead, we have taught our children how to acquiesce to the loudest voices.

"Anarchists" is the right word. The statues had stood forever without anyone saying a word, but suddenly schools were being renamed and Nancy Pelosi was having portraits of Confederates removed from the Capitol Building. Progressives can destroy, but they can't create. 

The Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, a symbol of reconciliation, was targeted for removal last December. They tried, and failed, to remove the Emancipation Monument from Washington, D.C., which showed President Abraham Lincoln helping lift a former slave from his shackles. I guess people were offended that Lincoln was standing up while the freed slave wasn't. Some city — I think it was Boston — got rid of their facsimile, though.

Where does it stop? A professor on Twitter gave detailed instructions on how the Washington Monument could be pulled over. Popular Mechanics did a feature on the best ways to tear down statues you didn't care for:

Maybe you’re operating with an even smaller team—or, bless your soul, toppling the statue all by yourself. In that case, your best bet is melting the damn thing. So let’s make a thermite reaction.

“The formula is very simple,” says Chris Harrison, a chemistry professor at San Diego State University. “It’s 3:1 by mass of rust and aluminum powder. You mix those together and use a piece of magnesium to use as a high temperature fuse. And if you don’t have one, you could use a sparkler.”

Again, that's a great photo from Swain of nothing to see. It's just gone — gone from the land, gone from the conversation. 

***

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