On Friday, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) delivered a speech at Mount Rushmore for President’s Trump’s Independence Day celebration.
After thanking those who came to the event, Noem made a critical point about the ongoing attempt to erase American history:
Across America these last several weeks, we have been witnessing a very troubling situation unfold. In real-time, we are watching an organized, coordinated campaign to remove and eliminate all references to our nation’s founding and many other points in our history. Rather than looking to the past to help improve our future, some are trying to wipe away the lessons of history, lessons that we should be teaching to our children and to our grandchildren. This approach focuses exclusively on our forefathers’ flaws, but it fails to capitalize on the opportunity to learn from their virtues.
Noem noted that this isn’t happening by accident, but “deliberately” as a means to “discredit America’s founding principles by discrediting the individuals who formed them so that America can be remade into a different political image.”
The governor continued, asking the audience to understand that America’s independence was a unique and powerful confluence of events and brilliant minds. Noem added that the Declaration of Independence is “arguably one of the most important statements of purpose ever written” in part because it stands as a symbol for other peoples across the globe.
Noem then offered salient insight:
These ideals cannot be dismissed as the irrelevant opinions of flawed men. Our founders had their flaws, certainly, but to use those flaws to condemn their ideals is unjust and self-defeating. How many of us have lived up to our own ideals?
The governor added that because of the Founding Fathers and the ideals they put to paper, we have a society in which “we can speak and write, worship, work, defend ourselves, and even protest as we see fit.”
Noem later spotlighted the aftermath of the Civil War:
The struggle to maintain the Union was about the proposition that America must live up to the principles articulated in the Declaration, and America’s rebirth allowed a fuller realization of the fundamental purposes of government articulated in the Declaration. In 1862, a simple question was put before Congress: can we do better? Our choice was clear, we could either nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope on earth.
Governor Noem also quoted former President Theodore Roosevelt, who said:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with [those] cold and timid souls who neither know victory [nor] defeat.
Noem stated that such a quote is a perfect direction for leaders in the modern era, adding that “we honor these men and women for their contributions, their leadership, all the positive things that they represent.”
“This Independence Day, let us be grateful that we have such words and such examples to follow, and that others were willing to sacrifice so much to create a land in which liberty and law can be protected,” Noem said.
The governor concluded by admonishing the audience to “not destroy history,” but “learn from it by preserving and imitating what is good about it.”
At least one news outlet appeared to spin Governor Noem’s remarks by headlining their piece about her speech thusly: “South Dakota governor calls removal of Confederate statues effort to ‘discredit’ Founding Fathers.”
— The Hill (@thehill) July 4, 2020
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