Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Growing Cultural Battle in America

It is obvious that we as a nation are beginning to show the signs of a culture that is beeing attack and not solely from Islamic terrorist but also from within our very nation as well. Every election we get an opportunity to listen to those seeking office talk to us about our history, our heritage, our traditions and yet the basic traditions of this nation seem to be under attack with very little notice.

As a Virginian, I have grown up in a State based on the very principles of such great Americans, though not perfect, as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Patrick Henry, and George Washington. Our leaders reference these great men as if to pay homage to an era that simply represents our past. I beleive these men should be referenced as means of grasping our future.

If there is any doubt that a battle is being waged against its very underlying soul, you need only observe the breakdown of our cities, schools and in fact the various attempts to revise our very history in a way in which not only lessons its significance but does our nation as a whole a disservice.

What I am addressing here is the attack upon our history itself. An battle being waged against our historical significance. People want to bury our past as a means of redefining our future. People want to shape the past so it fits securely within the context of our current self. We want to remove those parts of our past that do not reflect our political positions. We would like to deprive our children the right to explore the controversies of the past and would rather shape that past to bring about a desired outcome that is purely based on agenda. In fact, people want to turn their backs on the very basic principles by which our nation was created.

The word "value" has been so politically distorted that when we as as people her the phrase "our values" we almost are driven to place it in a political context and not neccessarily in the context of reason.

On the one hand our leaders want us to embrace our traditions and yet are telling us through their actions that they contuinuely allow that tradition to be undermined.

Case in Point. Frederick, Md 2007
Chief Justice Roger Taney.

Justice Roger Taney, a native of Frederick Couty, Md was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (1836-1864)that was instrumental in the writing of the Dred Scott v. Sanford descision that declared blacks to be non-citizens and in fact allowed slavery to be carried out in the entire Union which certainly was pivotal factor leading to our nations Civil War. Incidently, Justice Taney in his career was a Attorney General of Maryland, Attorney General of the United States, and also a former Treasury Secretary of the United States.

Now in 2007, our nation after years of allowing activists groups use the courts as a sword for promoting an un-Amercian agenda have targeted Justice Roger Taney, whose wife was sister to Francis Scott Key. They seek the removal of his statue, a bust in fact, from outside City Hall in Frederick, MD under the grounds that it may promote a sense of healing among the community. Ring any bells? Behind this latest attack is the NAACP who obvious believes that the statue on government grounds represents a threat to its agenda.

This begs one question? Is not the bust art? Is it not a sculpture? Where is the so-called left who always seem very quick to promote the neccesity of freedom of speech with regard to art. And if its art and has a right to be displayed then where would the NAACP advise it be displayed. In a museum or behind close doors? No. If we look to the debate in Richmond, Va over the potential removal or relocation of the Musuem of the Confederacy they would prefer these institutions be dissolved. Another point involves the issue of the Confederate flag displayed as well. In this case activist groups want the flag removed form the Chambers of the State Capital where I think a grand total of 1% of the Virginia population even knew it was in the first place under the same grounds. I guess goverment should be in the business of making people feel better about who they are? Will its removal do anything to solve the issues facing the City today? I sincerely doubt it. Its solely a political and tactical battle be waged against our past. We don't like it, lets remove any memory of it, lets diminsh or maybe just maybe we can simply removal all reference to it. And yet I wonder would that merely just lesson the significance of exactly how far we have come as a nation by removing the barometer in which to view our progress?

Glenora Hughes, General Counsel for the Maryland Commission on Human Relations was quoted recently saying in reference to the Taney statute that the :

" symbolism of the statue is similar to having the Confederate flag in the represents a constant reminder that you are not equal.It sends the message that creates fear or reminds people of the vestiges of racism that still exist today"

What exists today is people who choose to fuel racism by there very actions against things that they claim create it. I wonder just how many residents of Maryland even know who Justice Roger Taney was?

It is obvious that the rulings of Justice Taney have proven over time to be contrary to the will of the American people but to vanquish that part of history serves exactly what purpose. Are we to cast aside all those men who may have been on the opposite sides of our nations greatest debates? Should we remove all the monuments of Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia and throughout the city except Arthur Ash? Do not get me wrong this is not a race issue, but that is exactly what the extreme activist themselves are shaping it to be, Thats is what they want. That is how they will win.

Thats the beauty of those who would play the race card. No one rational in society supports racism and these groups feel government will back down in the face of that portrayal. Well I say this is not about race no matter how hard they try to make it about race, its about our histroy.

Does Justice Taney have any historical relevance at all to this groups? Does a flag? Or are they simply viewed as points at which to continue to promote division within our culture. Should not Maryland reflect equally on the greatest of its historical leaders no matter their failings? Is not Chief Justice Roger Taney as important to our history as a nation as Justice Thurgood Marshall. We are all Amercians and we are all equal under God and we should treat all of our leaders, past and future with that dignity.

There is a battle being waged against our culture. We just simply are to busy to recognize the totality of it. Yet.


MB said...

There's a reason that there are no monumental busts of Pol Pot in Cambodia, Idi Amin in Uganda, or (wait for it . . .) Hitler in Germany. Some former leaders are so symbolically repugnant to the values of a nation that they deserve no place of honor. Really, does it offend you so much that the man who could look at another man and declare him property should not have a place of honor?

C.W. said...

MB where do we draw the line? In fact in Germany more childeren are taught about Hitler than we teach our children about Robert E. Lee or Jefferson Davis. What does that say? The man rose to head our Supreme Court in a different time and a very different world. Should we remove his picture from the halls of the Court? He existed, he was a Chief Justice, he was an American and ultimately he was wrong. And yet so was every President before Lincoln on the issue because they did nothing the change the staus quo. How about their legacy? Is it only now that these groups are feeling offended for a statue that has resided in its place for thirty years.

Anonymous said...

Thats why this next election is so crucial. We need Judges appointed to the SC and the lower that will follow strcit construction of the US Consititution so people like "MB" and the "they deserve no place" crowd can be checked by the rule of law and the real laws intent.

J. R. said...

Busts in a public place are not just art, they imply honor. The statues of Taney (there's also one in Annapolis that should be relocated) need to be moved to museums instead of the public square. Why? Because only in a museum can we explain and understand the complex history that men like Taney represent--some good deeds in his case (many great deeds in the case of people like Washington or Jefferson) that must be balanced with some ignoble deeds. In Taney's case, since he is remembered almost exclusively for his major ignoble deed, a place of honor in the public square is no longer appropriate. Coming to consensus on that is the purpose of public discussions (as this blog is a part) over who deserves to continue to be honored and why.

MB said...

No, it's not only now that people are offended. People have been pissed off for more than a 100 years - it's just taken this long for society to realize that yeah, maybe it's not such a great idea to honor someone who saw a human being as property.

Your point about what's taught in Germany shows that you're missing it - it's about the honoring of Taney, not the information. Of *course* kids should be taught about him (and Lee, Davis, etc.). Every country would do well to examine its own mistakes. As J.R. points out, there's a big difference between education and honoring. And Taney deserves no place of honor.


And Anonymous, I suspect you wouldn't know strict construction if it bit you on the @ss. But thanks for playing.

Anonymous said...

And MB "seperation of church and state" is literally written into our U.S. Constitution I guess. Funny, I think that was a Supreme Court "interpretation" in the 1950's.

Anonymous said...

MB and in 2001 the twin Budda Statues, a remarkable site, was destroyed by the Taliban in Afghanistan probably from the same point of view as yours. I guess that makes it just.

MB said...

See, Anon, you're a perfect example of why I'm not so worried about the "Digital Divide." You can get online, have access to all the information and intelligent analysis in the world, and STILL be an idiot. Good job!

Charlie said...

MB I fail to see your justification for calling ANON an "idiot" He is correct in addressing the fact that those statues were destroyed by the Taliban. I am not sure what you are implying with your comment. Are you saying the destruction of the relgious landmarks was justfied because they "deserve no place of honor". Would you support the removal of the Taney bust and its feature center stage at the old Catholic Church in Frederick where Taney attended? Is it your contention that it would be acceptable for it to be displayed on those grounds but not the grounds of city property. And I was thinking if twenty or thirty years from now and we actually pass true anti-abortion laws in this country should later we completely dismiss those Justices repsonsible for Roe v. Wade or should we not honor those who were flat out against a women's right to vote. Your implying that the present should dictate the confines in which we judge the past.If that is the case we are all in trouble. I see no outcry against the statues of those who were documented slaveholders like Thomas Jefferson, I suppose that is because you know your position is baseless, otherwise you would apply your logic to all of them and not cherrypick the issues like Taney's bust and argue his service was "repugnant to the values of a nation". As if Dred was the only case this Justice determined. The same folks judge people like Justice Roberts by a politically motivated logic and not the rule of law that a judge has to interpret. Do not confuse the role of Justices and Legislators when reviewing law. Go back a review just about all the laws on the books in America at the time of Taney's service and then come back and debate.
How many of our Founding Fathers by the way could look "at another man and declare him property" ???

Anonymous said...

MB people like you want the museums like the Museum of the Confederacy closed down as well...first get them out of the public square...then move them temporarily into the museum..then we will work to get the museum closed or moved out of town. Your a great Amercian...snark.

Anonymous said...

Hey MB probably didn't support the Vietnam Memorial either in the public arena.