Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Symbolism

From the Washington Post:

The House on Tuesday passed legislation to remove statues of Confederate leaders from the U.S. Capitol and replace the bust of Roger B. Taney, the U.S. chief justice who wrote the 1857 Supreme Court decision that said people of African descent are not U.S. citizens.

The vote was 285 to 120, with 67 Republicans joining Democrats in backing the measure. A similar bill passed the House last year on a 305-to-113 vote but did not advance in the Senate, then controlled by Republicans.

Upon reintroducing the bill this year, House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) pointed to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, during which some supporters of then-President Donald Trump carried Confederate flags.

“There are still vestiges that remain in this sacred building that glorify people and a movement that embraced that flag and sought to divide and destroy our great country,” Clyburn said. “This legislation will remove these commemorations from places of honor and demonstrate that as Americans we do not celebrate those who seek to divide us.”

The legislation directs the Architect of the Capitol “to remove all statues of individuals who voluntarily served the Confederate States of America.” It specifically mentioned three men who backed slavery — Charles B. Aycock, John C. Calhoun and James P. Clarke.

The legislation would replace the bust of Taney, which sits outside the old Supreme Court chamber on the Capitol’s first floor, with one of Thurgood Marshall, the first Black Supreme Court justice.

The legislation faces challenges in the evenly divided Senate, where it would have to overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold.

I’m trying to imagine what the defense of leaving these statues in place: they represent history, it’s part of our heritage, and removing them is “woke cancel culture” and giving in to “critical race theory.” But I don’t have to imagine that at all.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) used the floor debate to suggest the Democratic Party is racist.

He argued that many of the statues or items the bill would remove were tributes to Democratic politicians from the past. McCarthy then argued that an academic theory that focuses on systemic racism is itself racist and tied it to today’s Democrats.

“All the statues being removed by this bill are of Democrats,” McCarthy said. He added: “Democrats are desperate to pretend their party has progressed from their days of supporting slavery, pushing Jim Crow laws, and supporting the KKK. But today, the Democrat Party has simply replaced the racism of the past with the racism of critical race theory.”

Critical race theory is an intellectual movement that examines the way policies and laws perpetuate systemic racism. Fox News and other right-leaning media organizations have been heavily covering accusations by some conservatives that teaching about these issues through a racial lens is itself racist.

In a later tweet, McCarthy went further, saying that “the Dem Party has simply replaced the racism of the Klan with the racism of Critical Race Theory.”

McCarthy didn’t explain how an academic theory is similar to the Ku Klux Klan, which was involved in lynchings and violence against Black Americans.

Nor can he. Because he doesn’t have a clue as to what critical race theory is other than Tucker Carlson’s current masturbatory moment to create ratings and hatred.

When I was in Valdez, Alaska, last week, some dude in a big white pickup drove up and down the street with a big Confederate flag waving from the back.  I have seen that before here in Florida, so Stupid History Theory isn’t limited to just the yahoos here in the Lower 48 (vide Sarah Palin).  But those people are wimps.  Why go around waving the Stars and Bars when what you should be waving is the swastika?  The CSA battle flag doesn’t have the impact they’re trying to convey, but the symbol of the Third Reich would really do it.  After all, they both represent regimes that used slave labor and believed in white supremacy at all costs.  And they have one other thing in common: they both lost their wars at incalculable cost, and the world is better off for having defeated them.  We don’t need their symbols to remember them: the graveyards have enough of them.

One bark on “Symbolism

  1. Here’s an article at Politico that discusses what CRT really is. I found it helpful. It basically seems to be an investigation of cultural and other elements that have a racist effect that are beyond what various laws requiring equal treatment affect. Of course Ted Cruz and the rest just demagogue the issue without knowing much about it. Well, with Ted or Josh they might know more but whatever political advantage they think they will get by riling up the rubes is all that matters or has ever mattered to them.

    https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/06/30/critical-race-theory-lightning-rod-opinion-497046

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