COLUMN: Monumental Failure

Harry Caines contributes a weekly column to Harry is a resident of Logan and an alumnus of Utah State University. He can be reached via email at His column is a work of opinion, and does not reflect the views of Cache Valley Daily, the Cache Valley Media Group, or its employees. 

<em>“Malaise Forever.”</em>

—from “The Simpsons”, the engraving on the Jimmy Carter statue that (very) briefly stood in Springfield.

I am socially liberal on a great many issues. Having a fairly acute understanding for people who think like me, I can state emphatically that the most prominent character flaw social liberals embody is that they have no history of winning gracefully.

Two weeks ago, a group of racists who identified with the Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, the former Confederate States of America and an array of White nationalist groups marched through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. Their purported mission was to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a city park. Counter-protestors stood against them. Violence ensued. A woman, Heather Heyer, died when a car driven by a Nazi sympathiser rammed into a crowd.

In the aftermath, President Donald J. Trump attempted to address the issue. On his third try, Trump unleashed a diatribe of such jaw-dropping incoherence, ignorance and bigotry that it exasperated the problem to an nth degree.

To many Americans that oppose Trump, anti-Semitism and racism, the argument was won. Change comes from such cathartic moments. And how did many of the political left decide to use this moral victory to make a better society? They went around America asking for statues to be removed.


This what what my fellow liberals do. They own the moral high ground on an issue and then forfeit an easy victory with a mob mentality that scares people into opposing them. Liberals have their brains swell with a fervor that commands them to tackle symbolic gestures, like statues of Confederate soldiers.

I cannot help but think of an old episode of <a href=”” target=”_blank”>“The Simpsons”</a> in which an angry mob tears down and kicks a statue of Jimmy Carter. “He is history’s greatest monster!”, a man from the crowd shouts out.

I want to add a caveat to my thesis. Firstly, any township, city, county or state can decide what stands or falls on public property. If a statue comes down, the voters can express their disdain for such a move at the ballot box.

Secondly, a large majority of Confederate statues were put up from the time of the Jim Crow South up to the Civil Rights Era. The statues and monuments were the South’s way of saying that even though they had lost the U.S. Civil War in a humiliating fashion that they still ran the place; and they would use that power to oppress the rights of Blacks no matter what.

My argument—and I do have a big one—is just because liberals are on the right side of an argument does not mean they have to fight that fight. It comes off as a gut reaction to a larger, more important issue. And, by pointing fingers at Confederate statues and deciding their presence in the immediate now, somehow causes a rift in the American fabric is insincere and nothing more than political grandstanding.

Come to me on a random Tuesday in February and tell me you want to take down Confederate statues and I will offer a hearty, full throated “HUZZAH!” Do it after the national tragedy of a woman dying opposing racism in her town, and you look foolish, controlling and indecent.

Consider three stories in the news when considering the fanaticism and reactionary mayhem of leftists:

On Monday, a Houston, Texas man was arrested after being found in possession of bomb-making items. He was going to blow up a Confederate statue in a city park.

On Tuesday, a Confederate statue in a Columbus, Ohio graveyard filled with Southern soldiers was knock over and decapitated. Grave desecration. That will win over America!

And, in a story I still can not wrap my head around, it was learned on Wednesday that ESPN was re-assigning a play-by-play announcer from the University of Virginia’s first home football game because his name is Robert Lee. ESPN stated that they felt it would be awkward for a man with that name to call a game in Charlottesville. Lee—the announcer, not the dead general—is Asian-American.

Not any group that can be named turns an incident of tragedy into mob rule more consistently un-American than liberals.

There is one fight that must be fought by Americans and the citizens of the world entire. It is not over what bathroom people should use, or if a white actor can play a minority in a film, or if the wife of the U.S. Treasury Secretary was mean to someone on Instagram. The only fight that matters for the history of this planet is that pressure constantly, ceaselessly and unwaveringly be applied until President Donald J. Trump affixes his name onto a letter of resignation and walks out of the White House and into the eternal ignominy he has justly earned.

To do that, those of us who care about the future need to be not just intellectually superior to Trump and his rabidly bigoted minions, but to also exude mental constancy. To persuade those middle-class white voters that helped Trump to an Electoral College victory, we cannot allow for the “slippery slope” argument that Trump uses to have an ounce of validity.

When Trump and his uneducated, sheepish horde say there are bad people on both sides, they are only fractionally right. There is no moral equivalence between those who identify with Nazi and the Klan, and those who project spittle from their mouths when speaking against something so pathetically irrelevant as Confederate statues, monuments and flags. Yet, there they are arguing for statues to come down, because that will raise wages in Anytown, USA.

And for those paltry few voters in the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania that put Trump in power, we have to offer more than quasi-McCarthyism against symbolic idols. Most of those swing voters realize now Trump was the wrong choice. However, I am not sure they will join the many calling for Trump’s removal from office because of his obvious mental deficiencies when too many of those opposing the president appear to be as crazy as him.

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