Monday, June 22, 2020

The New Social Revolution

    Two serious issues far too long embedded in our society have of course become increasingly clear in recent events. We still have an endemic racial bias against minorities—blacks, native Americans and others. And law enforcement in our country needs overhauling on basic levels. Hard to dispute that when certain cops blatantly use excessive force and commit murder after murder on video. Citizens by the hundreds of thousands are demanding reform through massive protests, and millions more support those events that have peaceful intent. But as usual the protests have brought out a rogue element of extremists and destroyers and looters, casting a shadow over the whole movement and tending to swing the pendulum too far the wrong way.

     Recently there’s been a rash of statue-toppling across America.

    One day in San Francisco protesters tore down statues of Francis Scott Key, lyricist of “The Star Spangled Banner;” St. Junipero Serra, first US saint of the Catholic Church; and Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th president who once bought a slave (whom he freed) but who led the Union with distinction against the slaver Confederacy. Nobody has yet attacked the imposing General Grant National Memorial in Manhattan. Another recent target has been Teddy Roosevelt, despite his many contributions including the preservation of wilderness areas and the establishing of our treasured protected national parks.

    Portland rioters even went so far three days before Fathers’ Day to attack and pull down a statue of George Washington, revered father of our whole nation. They wrapped a flag around his head and torched it because he was once a slave holder. We have a statue of him in Raleigh, so I suppose that will have to go, as well (protesters there have recently destroyed two other local statues, so they’ve had some practice). Of course, the name of our national capital will need changing. They'll also have to rename towns like Washington, NC, and any number of streets across America. It might be a bit too difficult to pull down the Washington Monument, but I suppose it can at least be defaced a good way up with graffiti using ladders. The history books will need to expunge George Washington Carver even though he was black. And what about Mount Rushmore? It’s not only racist because of Washington’s visage, it’s also sexist because none of the figures is female, although I heard there’s a plan to give George a dynamite nose job and some Sherwin-Williams makeup and rechristen her Georgina.

    We’ll have to be very careful about putting anybody up on a pedestal from now on lest the radical protesters come in the night with their righteous zeal, their ropes, and their spray paints.

    And if Aunt Jemima Syrup and Uncle Ben’s Rice represent racism, are Betty Crocker Cookbooks and Bob’s Red Mill Oatmeal reverse racism? Col. Sanders’ Chicken and Granny Smith Apples must be ageist. And Mickey and Minnie and Daffy must be shameful symbols of creature denigration.
    Let’s hope the extreme elements on both sides of the racial and law enforcement issues will calm down and our country will see long overdue meaningful and lasting reforms emerge from the current chaos that will change our society for the better.


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