August 19, 2017

Remember way, way back in 2012 (I know, it feels like a lifetime ago, back when we had a sane president, doesn't it?) when the pundits over on Fox "news" were griping that President Obama had not denounced the artwork by photographer Andres Serrano, known as "Piss Christ," which depicted a small crucifix submerged in a jar of urine?

Well, guess what? They're all art lovers now that the "art" we're talking about are these Confederate memorials that are finally starting to be removed in cities around the country.

Here's now Fox regular and wife of Congressman Sean Duffy, Rachel Campos-Duffy responded when Fox & Friends host Abby Huntsman asked her how she explains to her children what's going on with these protests around the country demanding that these Confederate monuments come down.

CAMPOS-DUFFY: Well I've thought a lot about it, and first of all, I believe that art isn't just meant to sooth us or make us sore. Sometimes art is meant to be there to make us grapple difficult things, painful things... in this case about our own American history.

What I've tried to do is tell my kids, look, I think communities have to decide and not moms, and so these things should be left up to their communities and if these statues cause pain to people in those communities, that community should decide whether that statue is worth it or not.

What I've found though is that I've really said, we need to back up for our kids at least. And I think the problem is so much identity politics at the adult level has been injected into our children's lives. We used to talk about the melting pot when I was a kid. That's now offensive. We now... it's the salad bowl.

There's so much emphasis on what divides us in the name of, you know, diversity is what they call it. I think we need as parents, and grandparents, because we can't depend on schools and the media and Hollywood to do that, to talk about what unites us, what's good about America.

If you start from that point, we can have these difficult conversations with a lot more love.

As Kevin Drum, and many others have pointed out this week in the wake of these protests, these statues were put up for one reason, and one reason alone, to terrorize black people: The Real Story Behind All Those Confederate Statues:

Vox points me today to some data I was looking for last night. Thanks, Vox! It’s from the Southern Poverty Law Center, and it shows us when all those Confederate monuments and statues were erected: [...]

Most of these monuments were not erected right after the Civil War. In fact, all the way to 1890 there were very few statues or monuments dedicated to Confederate leaders. Most of them were built much later. [...]

Yes, these monuments were put up to honor Confederate leaders and soldiers. But the timing of the monument building makes it pretty clear what the real motivation was: to physically symbolize white terror against blacks. They were mostly built during times when Southern whites were engaged in vicious campaigns of subjugation against blacks, and during those campaigns the message sent by a statue of Robert E. Lee in front of a courthouse was loud and clear.

No one should think that these statues were meant to be somber postbellum reminders of a brutal war. They were built much later, and most of them were explicitly created to accompany organized and violent efforts to subdue blacks and maintain white supremacy in the South. I wouldn’t be surprised if even a lot of Southerners don’t really understand this, but they should learn. There’s a reason blacks consider these statues to be symbols of bigotry and terror. It’s because they are.

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