SD Gov. Kristi Noem Vows No Ruffians Shall Pull Down Mount Rushmore
With everything the Right loves most under threat these days, from murderous cops to statues of slavery defenders, it's good to know that some people are willing to promise they'll protect things that aren't really under any threat at all. Take South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem — please! On Twitter yesterday, Noem vowed to make darn sure the politically correct crowd will never, ever blow up the presidential faces carved into Mount Rushmore, so THERE. Not surprisingly, she made that solemn vow in response to the usual load of Twitter twaddle (Twittle?) from Ben Shapiro, who regularly frets about worst case scenarios in the culture wars. (If tweets are still messed up, please click the blue bird for "video" and also "whatnot.")
Not on my watch. https://t.co/U6gGap5Ib6— Governor Kristi Noem (@Governor Kristi Noem)1592917757.0
WJW-TV in Cleveland took pains to note that "It's unclear if there is any mounting pressure to have Mount Rushmore destroyed or how that would be accomplished."
Now, crazy Indigenous people and historians do keep pointing out that the entire mountain was kind of stolen from the Lakota Sioux tribe, to whom the Black Hills had been granted "in perpetuity" as part of the Treaty of 1868. And there's certainly a strong case to be made that the carvings should be regarded as a desecration of land that's literally sacred to the Lakota people. The images of four American presidents, in the middle of Native territory, is every bit as much a fuck-you to Indigenous people as any Confederate statue put up after Reconstruction was to Black people.
And let's not forget the project was the brain child of Actual Goddamn KKK Fan Gutzon Borglum, who
had white supremacist leanings. In letters he fretted about a "mongrel horde" overrunning the "Nordic" purity of the West, and once said, "I would not trust an Indian, off-hand, 9 out of 10, where I would not trust a white man 1 out of 10." Above all, he was an opportunist. He aligned himself with the Ku Klux Klan, an organization reborn—it had faded after the Civil War—in a torch-light ceremony atop Stone Mountain in 1915. While there isn't proof that Borglum officially joined the Klan, which helped fund the project, "he nonetheless became deeply involved in Klan politics," John Taliaferro writes in Great White Fathers, his 2002 history of Mount Rushmore.
So sure, it's a "problematic" monument, but there aren't any plans to blow it up that we know of. Or even to pull it down with ropes. Noem can probably stop worrying about the big white heads and get back to letting South Dakotans die needlessly of COVID-19, as well as picking fights with Native tribes over highway checkpoints set up to slow the spread of the virus. (That fight is still unresolved; Trump administration officials have been threatening coronavirus relief funds, and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday to keep the checkpoints up.)
Gosh, could Noem's tweet be intended as yet another reminder to tribes that they'd better not get any big ideas? Pssh, such silly conspiracy-theory thinking, Dok!
Oh, yes, Noem and Shapiro are also participating in a long tradition of rightwing paranoia about radicals blowing up Mount Rushmore, which is best countered by the question, So Damn What?
Noem isn't the only prominent wingnut this week pledging eternal vigilance against horrifying (to the Right) but extremely unlikely Bad Things Those Liberals Want. Trump campaign superlawyer Jenna Ellis took this brave stand Monday:
I’m going on record now: If they try to cancel Christianity, if they try to force me to apologize or recant my Fai… https://t.co/k9mtAemCyt— Jenna Ellis (@Jenna Ellis)1592870060.0
It must have worked, because as of blogtime, Christianity remains uncancelled. And Ben Shapiro is getting ready for his book tour for his latest opus, a book-shaped object titled How to Destroy America in Three Easy Steps.
Aw hell, if only it were that easy!
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