The United States is made up of millions of people from different cultures and backgrounds, but all of them came to America to live in freedom and unity as “One Nation Under God.”
But these days, the idea of being a proud, unified country seems to be swept under the rug in favor of each culture trying to one-up the other in how they were disrespected in the past.
So, here we go again with calls for another national treasure to be destroyed because it has offended one culture for decades – and they’re jumping on the “erase history” bandwagon before it leaves without them.
The Great Social Justice Chopping Block
If things keep up like they have been, we’re going to find ourselves living in a barren wasteland, leveled by woke, virtue-signaling citizens against anything that represents America.
No monuments, no buildings, streets and schools named after anyone, no ties whatsoever to the past.
Maybe this is why some cities just don’t name their schools. There’s nothing offensive about “PS 135” – although I’m sure someone will find something wrong with that eventually.
As we continue to see history erased across the world due to hatred – and not inequality – radicals are striking while the iron is hot, attacking every symbol of our nation’s past.
Say what you will about the mistakes of our past, but we are human. If we didn’t make mistakes – and then learn from them – there would be no faith or forgiveness or AA or WW (“formerly Weight Watchers” before Oprah became offended by the decades-old moniker).
No, the SJWs and BLM and HAR (Houston Association of Realtors, who will no longer use the derogatory label of “master bedroom”) are on the warpath to destroy America.
And now, the first Americans, Native Americans, want one of our most treasured national monuments destroyed – literally erased – because they can only see the flaws in our past and not the growth.
Time for a face-lift?
The Oglala Sioux have lived for generations in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It was their land first, until terrible white settlers came and stole it from them.
And I’m not really being sarcastic here. I mean, Native Americans got a bad break during the Westward Expansion. They were not respected, nor was the claim to their land made to the U.S. government.
It was terrible and they are still in some ways suffering the consequences of it generations later. But is erasing history really going to bring about change?
For decades, the Oglala Sioux have been calling for the removal of Mount Rushmore, the iconic sculpture carved into the face of a mountain that the Sioux consider part of the Great Sioux Reservation.
Yes, they want to remove Mount Rushmore.
Well, not the mountain itself, but the offensive visages of what most Americans view as some of our most important and influential historical figures – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.
While hatred of the monument has existed for generations among the local tribes, President Trump’s recent Independence Day visit has further enraged them.
Oglala Sioux president Julian Bear Runner is furious because he claims that Trump and his team didn’t really consult with tribal leaders about whether he was allowed to make the visit to celebrate America’s Independence Day.
He also feels it’s just another slap in the face since Mount Rushmore should never have been marred by the images of our Presidents in the first place.
Just another white President visiting the land other white Presidents stole from them.
There are two factors to the Sioux’s fury over Mount Rushmore.
First, and most importantly, is that the mountain was originally known as the “Six Grandfathers” by several Lakota tribes who lived on the surrounding lands. The Sioux consider this land of their ancestors to be the spiritual center of their culture.
After the Civil War, the tribes were given the land of the Black Hills in the Fort Laramie Treaty. But then many white settlers came searching for gold – and found it – particularly following an 1874 expedition led by one George Armstrong Custer.
The white settlers encroached on this sacred land in their lust for gold, and when confronted by the tribes, begged for the U.S. Army’s protection.
The famous Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876, in which the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne tribes were victorious, didn’t end the fight over these lands. Food and supplies to Native American tribes were cut off by the federal government under the Indian Appropriations Act the same year.
They were starving and saw no choice but to sign away the land of the Black Hills to the feds. They were moved to reservations, their lands officially confiscated in 1877.
They view the Presidents depicted on Mount Rushmore as nothing more than a reminder of their imprisonment and the ultimate injustice to their culture.
The same faces many Americans look up to as great leaders who helped build the foundation of our nation are looked upon by these Native American tribes as a symbol of “white supremacy and racism.”
Tribal leaders point to the fact that Washington and Jefferson owned slaves, and that Roosevelt once made a comment to the effect of “the only good Indians are dead Indians.”
The presence of Lincoln, in particular, infuriates the tribes due to Lincoln’s approval of hanging 38 men of a Dakota tribe in Minnesota after a violent altercation with white settlers.
Too add insult to injury, they take offense to the sculptor who carved the famous faces into Mount Rushmore, Gutzon Borglum.
Borglum was commissioned to sculpt the monument in the 1920s to welcome tourists as they journeyed across the country during a new trend called the “great American road trip” and as a symbol of American democracy.
But Borglum is thought to have been a member of the KKK and had sculpted several monuments in honor of the Confederacy during the early 1900s when Civil War veterans groups and their families were memorializing the losses suffered during the conflict.
Oglala Lakota tribesman Nick Tilsen agrees Mount Rushmore should be destroyed, saying, “It’s an injustice to actively steal Indigenous people’s land then carve the white faces of the conquerors who committed genocide,” as reported by USA Today.
Tribal leaders in the area don’t want to see the mountain blown up, because that would cause more irreparable damage to their beloved Black Hills.
But they all agree, these four “offensive white” faces should be removed very soon…
… And that the sculpture so beloved by so many Americans is a sign of disrespect and only serves to symbolize a period of history when white men “lied, cheated, stole, and murdered” to acquire their land.
A hundred years after the Black Hills lands were confiscated by the federal government, the U.S. Court of Claims awarded millions in compensation to the tribes over the unlawful seizure. The U.S. Supreme Court also ruled that the government in the late nineteenth century had violated the Fifth Amendment, ensuring even more compensation.
The tribes declined, because financial compensation would end their ability to continue to fight to reclaim the Black Hills.
And that’s why Trump’s visit is a sore point and the current social unrest has renewed the tribes’ request for the destruction of the monument. Strike while the iron is hot, they say.
You can’t change the past, but you can learn from it.
Not only do the majority of Americans believe Mount Rushmore should be left alone as a symbol of America, but so do many Native American groups and other tribal leaders.
One member of a local Native American advocacy organization believes the monument should stand, perhaps with the addition of exhibits and films on the struggle of the tribes of the Black Hills.
A way to teach future generations about our nation’s history – and serve as a warning not to repeat it.
Others, like South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, says the monument will not be destroyed – at least, “Not on my watch,” she stated on Twitter.
The opinions vary, but most feel it’s just another ridiculous attempt to erase history rather than an opportunity to remind us of how much our nation – and We the People — have grown and changed.
Our nation has seen so much destruction of history in recent months… so much division.
This destruction is not going to change anything. It may make angry people feel less angry for a while – until something else offends them. It’s surely not a cure for the underlying disease.
So when will it end?
Well, as I said earlier, unless we come together as Americans, it won’t end until there’s nothing left to destroy.
What’s to be gained in a nation devoid of history — devoid of the symbols and reminders that represent where we were divided and where we were united?
Nothing good in my book.