Growing up in a Reagan 80’s home, the Republican Party I was introduced to, and even belonged to for a short period of time, was not proud or even defensive of Confederate flags or statues. Sure, you’d hear big name conservatives talk about how racists have a right to free speech too, but I can’t remember any one of them openly defending a statue or a monument to the Confederacy. The Republican Party I was first brought into embraced Lincoln with such proud fervor that the thought of embracing his literal enemies was comical, at best.
Over time, I left the GOP, and apparently so did their senses. Because I cannot for the life of me figure out why Republicans are willing to toil so hard in defense of the Confederate Generals that wanted to see Abe Lincoln — the man who literally gave their party its first big victory on the national stage — killed and run out of office. The GOP I was in didn’t buy into Civil War revisionism about slavery being almost parenthetical to the war, and it didn’t try to placate racists by making them feel too proud of their Confederate flags and statues.
The GOP I grew up in understood the importance of remembering history, not necessarily honoring every bit of it. At worst, I heard elder statesmen in the party argue that each city or state should have the right to put up monuments to whomever they please, as long as taxpayers don’t have to foot the bill. Of course, I also never heard a single Republican tell me the truth about the Confederate monuments, that they were mostly put up in the Jim Crow days to intimidate black people, either.
And they didn’t say that stuff because by then they were already beholden to racist Dixiecrats. I was told that the Democrats are still the KKK’s party because they may not advocate slavery or welcome racists, but they, you know, want black people addicted to government, or so the story goes. I know now, of course, that in the interest of political survival, the Republican Party made a deal with itself — tolerate racists and pretend to publicly distance yourself from them while sending dog whistle signals that you’re okay with their racism.
Now? We have Nazis and Klan members rolling up in cities, blockading people from taking down confederate statues. Even as communities agree among themselves, without any pressure from the federal government, to remove them, white supremacists are defending their icons of decades-long intimidation and threats against people of color. And instead of unequivocally denouncing them, our president is trying to play the “both sides are wrong” card. If I hadn’t already, I’d leave the Republican Party of this in a heart beat. I’ve been gone from it for many years now, but I know without any hesitation this would’ve sealed it for me.
One thing you would never hear back in the day from a Republican, even ones who defended racists’ free speech rights, was that more confederate monuments are needed. Why? Because the GOP I was a part of abhorred the confederacy, that’s why. It was a treacherous band of die-hard slavery defenders who took up arms to not only preserve the horrific plague that was the slave trade, but to literally dissolve the country in that failed pursuit.
Yet, the Vice President of the country, a Republican, recently said in an interview that he wants to see more confederate statues. He pulled the most common card the GOP uses to placate the racists in its ranks — the heritage, not history one. And he showed himself to be the modern day gross incarnation of Republicans, not the old school one that may have been old fashioned, but not a fucking craven lunatic willing to make nice-nice with racists and hood wearing dipshits with burning crosses.
“What we have to walk away from is a desire by some to erase parts of our history just in the name of some contemporary political cause.” – VP Mike Pence (Source)
I wish I could sit down with Pence and tell him that ending racism isn’t some contemporary political cause. I wish I could explain to him why you don’t see Nazi flags and Hitler statues in Germany. I wish I could smack some fucking sense into that lantern-jawed bigot’s head by helping him see how these statues aren’t a part of any heritage or history to be part of. But you see, either Pence himself is a racist piece of shit, or he has, as a modern Republican, figured out he has to make racists not feel so bad about being called racists. So I’ll never be able to get him to see reason.
I also wish I could sit every Republican down and teach them what history books and museums are for so we don’t keep having the same irrelevant bullshit discussion over “erasing” or “forgetting” history.
Again, the GOP I left at least at the time wouldn’t argue that we should be memorializing traitors and slavers more as opposed to less. But Pence’s comments got me to thinking — maybe it’s time for a compromise. Let’s call Pence’s bluff. Let’s build more monuments.
I think we should totally build more monuments — but I want to build them to icons of American liberalism. I bet that if we put a statue of Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, up next to a statue of General Robert E. Lee, Republicans would praise us for exercising our freedom of speech, don’t you? If we put up a statue of Harvey Milk right next to a statue of Stonewall Jackson, I bet you’ll see confederate flag waiving evangelicals high fiving our libtard asses! A statue of Obama put up right next to a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis?
It’ll be peace, harmony, and togetherness in our fair union once more. Or, you know, they’d flip their shit and have meltdowns all over the country. So that just leaves us with one question left to answer…
…who’s going to start the GoFundMe so we can pay for all the heroes of liberalism statues?