Kevin McCarthy Fails To Put 'Protect Statues' Bill In Form Of A Statue
Bakersfield, California! The city that brought us the first stirrings of the Satanic Panic bullshit, the first stirrings of "Coronavirus is a hoax!" bullshit, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's bullshit. I haven't ever been there, but if you want to get worked up over something really stupid, it seems like an ideal place to call home.
Yesterday, while the nation was still in the middle of a pandemic, McCarthy announced his introduction of the "Protect America's Statues Act," which he says will "cut funding from cities and states that refuse to restore order." Wow! What a thing to be prioritizing right now, a time when many people are dying from a highly infectious virus. Statues of people who are already dead!
Just now → I introduced the Protect America’s Statues Act to cut funding from cities and states that refuse to rest… https://t.co/fKruW0AfYW— Kevin McCarthy (@Kevin McCarthy)1594905714.0
McCarthy introduced the bill with co-sponsors Jim Jordan and Sam Graves.
"Public monuments are indispensable because they tell the American story. It is wrong to erase our history. We should be learning from it. Instead, leftwing mobs in cities across the country are destroying statues of General Grant, St. Serra, Christopher Columbus, and abolitionists. This is lawlessness in its purest and most unacceptable form. Yet too many liberal mayors and governors won't restore order or arrest the rioters, the most basic duties of government. Many seem to agree with Speaker Pelosi, who excused mob rule as 'people will do what they do,' as if that absolves them of their failure to follow the law. If state and local officials will not protect historical monuments, then Congress must and will. My legislation has real consequences for states and cities: no order, no funding. It is time to respect our laws, protect our history, and punish the statue smashers."
Alas, no one was able to understand his statement, because of how he used words to explain it, rather than statues. Does his statement exist? Does the bill exist? Who can say? McCarthy better go find a chisel and a slab of marble and get to it, lest members of the House fail to understand what it is he wants them to vote on.
The best part of this statement, which we will not fully understand until it looks like the statue of David, is how he casually throws "abolitionists" in there. It is probably a reference to the statue of Frederick Douglass being torn down in Rochester, New York (where I grew up and happen to be right at this very moment), which was very much not torn down by "leftwing protesters." It also signals a refusal to acknowledge what the actual issue with these statues is. No one is mad at statues as a form of art. No one is trying to make American history go away. Claiming that this is the case is a ridiculous strawman that makes absolutely no sense at all.
Also, many — if not most — of the statues are being taken down with the permission and blessing of the cities they are in and then put in museums or somewhere indoors. That is not "lawlessness," it is "redecorating." Given the way things are going right now, it seems like it would be less likely for statues to be torn down "lawlessly" in the areas McCarthy is probably fantasizing about "defunding" right now, in the middle of a pandemic.
Or the Trump administration could just send in unmarked federal officers in unmarked nongovernmental cars to grab people off the streets of cities like Portland, Oregon, for doing graffiti, which is definitely the wrong kind of redecorating, and which is also a thing that is happening literally right now, so it's time to write that up, if you will excuse us.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse