When Nike abandoned plans to sell a Betsy Ross flag-themed tennis shoe after former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick expressed objections, 2020 presidential candidate Julián Castro was asked by to weigh in on the matter.
Castro said he was “glad to see” Nike’s decision. “Look, there are a lot of things in our history that are still very painful,” he continued before falsely equating the Betsy Ross Revolutionary War-era flag to the Civil War-era Confederate flag.
Because of this erroneous comparison, will Democrats now demand the Betsy Ross flag no longer be displayed at presidential inaugurations, as it was in 2013 for President Obama?
Recent history proves the question isn’t so far-fetched.
In the aftermath of the June 2015 mass murders of nine black churchgoers at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., by a crazed racist white man who flew the Confederate flag as inspiration, a national debate raged on public displays of memorials related to the Confederacy.
Some argued the monuments, flags, plaques and the like be either moved into museums, transferred to private property, or destroyed. Others argued removing the markers from public view would be tantamount to erasing history, as uncomfortable as it may be to remember it.
There were also those who argued that if government officials went along with demands to dispense with monuments, the slippery slope rule would apply. Furthermore, they predicted, it wouldn’t end with Confederate monuments.
The slippery slope-warners were right. As Confederate reminders are disappearing from the public landscape with regularity and little fanfare, the left has indeed moved on to their next targets.
The week before Nike’s decision, the San Francisco School Board voted to paint over an 83-year-old George Washington mural displayed at George Washington High School. In addition to Washington, the mural also depicts a dead Indian and black slaves. Even art historians on the left are upset over the move, which was made over fears that the images were triggering to students.
Movements are also underway in other states to cover up or otherwise remove similar murals. Some have been vandalized.
Just a few days after the San Francisco School Board’s vote, Virginia’s Charlottesville City Council voted to stop observing former President Thomas Jefferson’s birthday as a paid holiday. “Thomas Jefferson is the R. Kelly of the American Enlightenment,” said one University of Virginia professor.
Jefferson was the university’s founder.
Christopher Columbus, though not a founding father, is also a target of the left’s ire. “Columbus Day” is now “Indigenous Peoples Day” in many cities throughout the U.S. The late President George H.W. Bush is also not a founding father, but students at the historically black Hampton University and at least one Democratic Congressman want a recently unveiled statue of him removed.
In a recent piece, my writing colleague Susie Moore made probably one of the best cases for leaving monuments and murals the way they are, arguing they should be used as teachable moments instead.
“History isn’t utopian and historical figures, including our founding fathers, aren’t demi-gods. They were ‘men, no more no less.’ The current trend to willfully erase them and their deeds — both good and bad — by removing markers and symbols referencing them is probably well-intentioned in most instances, but so very ill-conceived. It lets the perfect be not just the enemy of the good but swallow it whole,” Moore wrote.
She concluded by saying that we “should remember them. We should honor their accomplishments and learn from their mistakes.”
World history is filled with examples of good and not–so–good people who push for the removal or destruction of historical statues and monuments. Some have even taken matters into their own hands, including right here in North Carolina.
Who will be their next targets? When will it stop?
Stacey Matthews is a veteran blogger who has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to Red State and Legal Insurrection.