Mark Levin: Black Lives Matter Wants To Topple Confederate Statues Just Like Confederacy ... Huh?
Conservatives lately love to compare Black Lives Matter protesters to the Confederacy. That's as ahistorical and gross as comparing the Jewish George Soros to the Nazis, which conservatives have also done, a lot. Tuesday, enemy of the site Mark Levin complained on his radio show about people trying to overthrow the government. Horrors! He didn't mean the officials within the Trump administration who are actively stripping our democracy for parts. No, the true threat to Mom and her frozen apple pie is people vandalizing statues of American traitors.
LEVIN: It's an amazing thing, as I keep saying. Early on during this you might recall the — the mostly peaceful protesters who were pulling down statues [...] Indiscriminately. It didn't matter they were abolitionists, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant — as well as Confederate generals, as well as Catholic icons.
No memorial to Abraham Lincoln was vandalized this summer. Protesters have demanded the removal of two statues in Washington DC and Boston that feature a freed, formerly enslaved person kneeling at Lincoln's feet. It isn't the best demonstration of the American concept that we are all born with inalienable rights. They aren't granted to us by generous white men who deserve a thank-you shoe shine.
Side note: At the Emancipation Memorial's unveiling in 1876, Frederick Douglass dragged the statue and Honest Abe. The brother wasn't in a foot-kissing mood.
DOUGLASS: Truth compels me to admit, even here in the presence of the monument we have erected to his memory, Abraham Lincoln was not, in the fullest sense of the word, either our man or our model. In his interests, in his associations, in his habits of thought, and in his prejudices, he was a white man.
He was preeminently the white man's president, entirely devoted to the welfare of white men. He was ready and willing at any time during the first years of his administration to deny, postpone, and sacrifice the rights of humanity in the colored people to promote the welfare of the white people of this country.
Had it existed at the time, Ye Olde Fox News would've condemned Douglass's “divisive" remarks, and that's even with former Confederate soldiers hosting the network's prime time lineup.
LEVIN: Nancy Pelosi got out and — Eva Pelosi — and she said, "These Confederate generals, they should be removed."
Why? Why should they be removed?
"Because they were trying to overthrow the government." That's what she said.
Yes, it's a reasonable position, unless you're afraid that if we stop glorifying white supremacists, we'd have no other white men to admire. Relax: We'll always have Chris Evans and the impressive contents of his camera roll.
LEVIN: And that's exactly what Antifa and Black Lives Matter is doing and they don't talk about that.
It's difficult to talk about things that aren't happening. It's why I rarely mention my Untitled Bebe Neuwirth Musical project.
And that's real — you know, they're not statues. Those are real people with real Molotov cocktails.
White American men protested the British Tea Act by illegally boarding ships and hurling chests of tea into the Boston Harbor. In today's dollars, that was $1.8 million worth of property damage. This expensive vandalism escalated into the American Revolution.
However, when protesters today talk about “revolution," they're referring to lawful, constructive change. The Constitution put mechanisms in place for non-violent overthrows of the existing government. The first was arguably the fourth presidential election, which started ominously enough on October 31, 1800, and ended on December 3. Thomas Jefferson was the Democratic-Republican candidate, and incumbent President John Adams represented the Federalist party. Very different political philosophies and views of governance were on the ballot. The Federalists preferred a strong, central government. Adams had gone sort of Bill Barr during his one term and passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which made it harder for immigrants to become citizens and restricted statements critical of the government. The First Amendment wasn't even nine years old and America had shrugged it off when it became inconvenient.
Adams Sedition Acts www.youtube.com
You've probably seen Hamilton so you know how this turns out, but it wasn't until February 17, 1801, that Jefferson was elected the next president. Aaron Burr almost won, which seems less crazy now given the current White House occupant.
The point here is that overthrowing the government — non-violently — isn't a bad thing, even if the new government is too inclusive and democratic for Levin's tastes. The defeated Federalists accepted the results of the election. The future Confederacy in 1860 didn't and responded with violent insurrection. It's the current president who is attempting to undermine faith and trust in our elections, and it's his supporters who are most likely to grab a gun once the Biden/Harris ticket hits 270 electoral votes.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."