President Trump has been busy on Twitter lately. He is suddenly passionate about preserving our national heritage and is lamenting the removal of Confederate monuments in cities around the country.
“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson – who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish! Also the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!”
-Donald Trump (0n Twitter)
I’m not fooled for a moment by Trump’s sudden heart for history. For one thing, Mr. Trump, removing Confederate statues and monuments isn’t an attempt to change history–it’s an attempt to keep from glorifying historically monumental mistakes. This notion that the people who want to see the monuments come down are trying to re-write history is just absolutely ridiculous. Why would we want to cover over that part of history? We wouldn’t–we would want to, as you say, learn from it. To leave the monuments stand without any message as to the terrible harm those men helped to rain upon our nation is not educational, it’s sending the wrong message–it’s glorifying evil. You tweet about being sad to see our country being “ripped apart” yet you want to continue to glorify men who did the worst ripping ever done here.
Your feigned concern about the monuments doesn’t fool me, Mr. President. I know you’ve never cared a whit about them before.
No, your tweets aren’t what they seem to be.
Your tweets are nothing more than dog whistles–desperate ones–blown in an attempt to rally the last of your support base–the alt right. You are tweeting exactly what they want to hear from you. I’ve got to hand it to you, that’s actually a very smart move, because they will respond to it. This is something they can rally behind. Well played.
But your support base has shrunk so much that it won’t make a real difference. What you are really doing is driving the last nails into the coffin of your legacy. It is this for which you will ultimately be remembered.
There will be no monuments to you–none beyond those gaudy towers you’ve built and emblazoned with your own name.
In a hundred years, nobody will be clamoring to tear down your statues, for there will be none.
To quote you, sir, “sad.”
Photo Credit- Getty/Chip Somodevilla