Can one be “on the wrong side of history” when that history is purged because it’s judged to be racist or politically incorrect? That is a pertinent question for us to reflect upon these days.
This week we witnessed another mass murder of innocent citizens in a church by a deranged and warped young man. The immediate talking points by those who have agendas more important than finding and fixing the root causes of the problem were along the lines of two topics: the need for stricter gun control and the need for total disavowment of a symbol – the Confederate flag. I will pass on the former topic and focus on the latter for this post.
It is a given that the shooter had serious issues in his brief life experience, but it is the height of oversimplification to ascribe the symbolism of the Confederate flag as a main contributor to his racist and murderous mindset. Rather than facing the hard facts and questions into the true causes behind the behavior of any criminal or mass murderer, the increasingly popular approach is to latch onto a convenient scapegoat and create a media circus sideshow to force a visible change that in reality doesn’t solve any of the issues. Now if the citizens or legislators decide that a change as such is necessary, so be it – and in fact in this case it probably is very appropriate to do so. But to lead with this action is a shirking of duty to protect the general good.
What is more alarming is to observe the shift in ideology towards an aggressive compulsion to sweep away parts of history that are inconvenient, uncomfortable or sensitized. In the shooting aftermath, in rapid succession, legislators began to debate removal of Confederate flag flown in public areas, while Walmart, Sears and eBay quickly removed all merchandise that had references to the flag. Not to be outdone by other activists, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell went one step further in the purge by recommending that the statue of Jefferson Davis be removed from the Kentucky Capitol. As this continues to develop, I am certain that more Civil War historical artifacts will be targeted with censure.
All of this is a lesson and a warning. When the activist pack dog mentality gets some wins and gains more allies in their crusade, where will it end? What will be the next convenient target of their increasingly relativistic witch hunt? We have already seen school textbooks with revisionist history, ones that downplay or outrightly ignore the Christian background of many of many historical figures or events. We have seen crosses being removed from city seals and public areas. I expect to see more of this, only not as subtle, but rather significantly more vindictive, malicious and thorough in destruction.