Groups of far-left protesters are tearing down and vandalizing historical statues and monuments they deem antithetical to their views. They began by targeting Confederate statues and monuments, and have now expanded their efforts to include those of other historical figures, with some analysts saying their real goal is to tear down the legitimacy of the American founding.
In Durham, North Carolina, a mob tore down a statue of a Confederate soldier on Aug. 14, and on Aug. 17 an unknown individual vandalized a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
In Atlanta, Georgia, another mob of protesters vandalized the Peace Monument which depicts an angel directing a Confederate soldier to lay down his weapon.
In other parts of the country, including in Florida and Baltimore, local government officials are having Confederate statues removed. And in San Antonia, Texas, local officials are looking to remove a statue of a famous leader at the Alamo, which some have allegedly mistaken for a Confederate statue.
The efforts of the far left are moving beyond Confederate statues to include those of other historical figures as well.
An unknown assailant vandalized the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 15, in Washington, using red spray paint to leave the phrase “F*** Law.” In Chicago, a bust of Abraham Lincoln erected in 1926 was found defaced and burned. Lincoln was the head of the Republican Party and the leader of the Union, which fought against the Confederates.
Angela Rye, a commentator for CNN, political analyst for NPR, and head of her own political advocacy firm in Washington, D.C., has called for tearing down the statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, because these founding fathers were slave owners.
On CNN on Aug. 17 during a heated discussion she said, “I don’t care if it’s a George Washington statue or a Thomas Jefferson statue, they all need to come down.”
In his press conference on Aug. 15, Trump had warned that the statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson would be next as the demand for removing Confederate statues expanded.
President Donald Trump tweeted on the morning of Aug. 17: “Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson – who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!”
“Also the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!” Trump tweeted.
A poll released by NPR, PBS, NewsHour, and Marist on Aug. 16 found that 62 percent of Americans believe that “statues honoring leaders of the Confederacy,” should “remain as a historical symbol.” It found that only 27 percent of respondents believed the statues should be removed.
The efforts to tear down the statues received additional fuel after violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a group that included white supremacists protested plans to tear down the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
The protests turned violent after a group of anarchist-communist protesters with Antifa arrived with weapons and launched attacks, and a female protester was killed after a man crashed into two cars at an intersection filled with pedestrians—an incident that is still being investigated.
John Daniel Davidson, a senior correspondent at The Federalist, gave his analysis on the recent events during an Aug. 15 segment on Fox News with Tucker Carlson.
“This has been coming down the pipe for a number of years,” Davidson said, noting that in April 2015, around the 150th anniversary of the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, some far-left news outlets in the mainstream media were even calling for the desecration of Confederate graves.
He compared the recent developments to the Cultural Revolution under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), from 1966 to 1976, where people were directed to destroy their historical relics and traditional culture. It was led by Mao Zedong, history’s most prolific mass murderer, credited with killing 60 to 70 million Chinese people.
“If you want to see where tearing down statues by mobs will get you, look at pictures of China’s Cultural Revolution, where they tore down statues, temples, the whole thing—even stomping on them,” Davidson said.
He added, however, that it appears the protesters aren’t necessarily just against the ideas of the Confederates. Rather, he said, “They’re trying to delegitimize the U.S. government and the traditions of American society because they don’t believe in them.”
“This is not about the Confederacy,” he said. “This is not about the Civil War. This is about political power.”