In the midst of the culture wars of the past 4 to 5 years, many beautifully carved statues and memorials to great and prominent figures have been very unceremoniously destroyed or displaced. Granite, marble or stone personas, not by their own volition, have been relegated to the annals of time and memory. Some, the dastardly, or clearly cruel personas, likely deserved this fate; but not others, as those of the well intentioned statesman, war soldiers or zealous missionaries to the Americas.
No statue is an island, but many have indeed been victims and pariahs of lost popularity or cultural whims. They have been recipients of pure disdain, set sail upon the seas of doubt and paranoia to a destination called obscurity..
If only these creatures, left unto themselves in isolation, could come alive and speak… what amazing discussions could ensue!
Christopher Columbus would engage Thomas Jefferson on a sundry of global issues. Thomas Jefferson would elucidate upon ‘liaise faire’ policies, and Pres Lincoln would have quite a few dainty things to address with Fathers of the Confederacy.
Fr Junipera, the famous priest of the California missions, could discuss how sensitivity should have perhaps played a bigger part, in encountering the natives of Spanish California .
Even the aforementioned Abe Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, could lift up the vision of the Slave with outstretched hands, with more dignity.
When we think of The Isle of Misfit soldiers, explorers, and statesman, perhaps we should indeed give pause and more due deference to these frozen characters; relegated to footnotes in history.
Their cold inanimate forms may no longer remain- but for better or worse- the awkward empty spaces they left do, and continue to resonate through the watery inlets of our memories and collective conscience.