COVID-19 cases are surging across the nation. Governors and mayors are pausing and even rolling back their reopening plans. The country's up a creek, and Donald Trump, who's regrettably still president, doesn't seem interested in finding paddles. No, he's obsessed with goddamn statues. They're his TPS reports.

Trump issued an executive order over Fourth of July weekend that will create a “garden" of shadows statues. Here are some of the wackier excerpts:

America owes its present greatness to its past sacrifices. Because the past is always at risk of being forgotten, monuments will always be needed to honor those who came before.

Information about the past is helpfully located in history books, although that would require Trump to read. Monuments don't tell us much by themselves. For instance, George Washington was not a giant stone head. He was a person who owned other people. I don't want to detonate Mount Rushmore. I would just like us to stop with the fairy tales about cherry trees and maybe talk honestly about the 123 people Washington held in bondage.

These statues are silent teachers in solid form of stone and metal.

Uh, no.

To destroy a monument is to desecrate our common inheritance.

As an aside, remember when some poor bastards hung a tarp over the USS John McCain so Trump wouldn't see it and freak out like a big baby?


Among others, monuments to Christopher Columbus, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Francis Scott Key, Ulysses S. Grant, leaders of the abolitionist movement, the first all-volunteer African-American regiment of the Union Army in the Civil War, and American soldiers killed in the First and Second World Wars have been vandalized, destroyed, or removed.

Christopher Columbus wasn't American, and he died almost 270 years before 1776. This is otherwise a very impressive list of dead white men with a nod to the 54th Regiment Memorial that I doubt Trump gives a fuck about. It's been vandalized before, because shit happens, and as conservatives love to point out when blocking hate crime legislation, we already have laws against this.

Trump's actual issue is with people deciding to remove monuments all legal and proper. He can't help reminding us of where he stood during the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally.

These statues are not ours alone, to be discarded at the whim of those inflamed by fashionable political passions; they belong to generations that have come before us and to generations yet unborn.

Sure, that's how you dismiss an ongoing national “reawakening" on race when you're a bigoted sack of shit.

Trump has assigned a task force to establish a National Garden of American Heroes. Can you imagine getting this assignment, knowing Trump's going to have his ass kicked in four months? This garden isn't happening, and everyone on the task force should focus instead of polishing their resumes for a potential Fox News gig.

The National Garden should be composed of statues, including statues of John Adams, Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Daniel Boone, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Henry Clay, Davy Crockett, Frederick Douglass, Amelia Earhart, Benjamin Franklin, Billy Graham, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Douglas MacArthur, Dolley Madison, James Madison, Christa McAuliffe, Audie Murphy, George S. Patton, Jr., Ronald Reagan, Jackie Robinson, Betsy Ross, Antonin Scalia, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Tubman, Booker T. Washington, George Washington, and Orville and Wilbur Wright.

This is a straightforward fifth-grade list of “important Americans" with a few glaring Otisburg inclusions. He thought he could drop Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in there between Betsy Ross and Harriet Beecher Stowe and we wouldn't notice. That's an obviously contentious choice. We don't even have Thurgood Marshall, who represented the plaintiffs in Brown vs. Board of Education and was the first Black Supreme Court justice. Sandra Day O'Connor probably also deserves a shout out.

James Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association, said Trump's selection of American heroes "vary from odd to probably inappropriate to provocative." You'll note that Ronald Reagan is the only president included from the past 150 years, so by Trump's own “logic," it's fine for Americans to forget how we ended the Great Depression and won World War II.

All statues in the National Garden should be lifelike or realistic representations of the persons they depict, not abstract or modernist representations.

That's right: Trump opposes art and creativity in all forms. He'll probably demand that the statues are animatronic like the band that used to play at Chuck E. Cheese.

[BBC]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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