In a piece originally titled “Let’s Blow Up Mount Rushmore” and later changed to “Let’s Get Rid of Mount Rushmore,” Wilbert L. Cooper, senior editor at Vice.com, taking the lead from a satirical piece from The Daily Caller titled “It’s Time to Blow Up Mount Rushmore” that mocked the leftist urge to rewrite American history, got deadly serious about truly destroying the monument.
Cooper noted President Trump’s comments in which he decried the destroying of monuments to American historical figures, asserting that the slippery slope created by such efforts would lead to the removal of statues to giants like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Cooper wrote of the founders of America:
Which made me wonder: If Rushmore ever did get “blown up,” what should those dudes be replaced with? Fact is, I’m not sure there is any American president worthy of being etched into the side of a 60-foot mountain with explosives and jackhammers. I mean, every single one has at least been partially complicit in horrific atrocities.
If calling the protean figures who founded and protected our nation weren’t disparaging enough, Cooper continued:
I visited Mount Rushmore in the summer of 2015, and it’s nothing like Abe Lincoln squatting on his (recently vandalized) throne or George Washington’s phallus towering over everything in DC. Instead, Rushmore is a testament to the human ability to conquer nature in our own image. Standing in front of it conjured feelings of both wonder and disgust in me.
After a cursory compliment, “Obviously, Washington and Thomas Jefferson were remarkable individuals who helped usurp British rule in America and, eventually, establish a new empire,” Cooper added, “but they also enslaved their fellow man, committing special kinds of inhumane acts that should never be confined to footnotes.”
Cooper tries to mitigate the outrageousness of his statements by protesting that he wouldn’t want a statue of Barack Obama, either.
One could ask just what Obama ever did that would place him in the exalted pantheon of men who risked their lives for American Independence. (Answer: Are you freaking kidding me?)
Cooper segues into an attack on patriotism:
What I am suspicious of are monuments produced by the state, which tend to flatten out nuances and turn flawed individuals into tools of propaganda that bolster a kind of religious patriotism.
And his tendency to see things in terms of race:
This stuff can be incredibly dangerous for democracy, especially when the same ascendant movement that deifies one set of (white) leaders sees people of color as sub-human.
Oh, but he’s not hyperbolic, or anything like that:
It’s hard to be critical of a system when that system becomes an article of faith, filled with myths (the cherry tree), deities (Founding Fathers), and notions of salvation (the City on a Hill).
Then, getting down to his one-sided viewpoint at its most harsh:
It’s going to be impossible to improve America if we can’t be honest about its origins and its past. Her fruit is born from violence and greed, watered by the blood of my ancestors.
Yup, all the good-hearted Americans who built this country with respect for their fellow man, honoring the social compact so we could, as a community, rise to heights no country has ever reached, had nothing to do with our success.
Would Cooper play the race card to explain the election of Donald Trump?
You bet he would: “The angst over a more black and brown America, coupled with a widespread frustration with the political system, is the driving force behind the juggernaut of Donald Trump.”
Finally, Cooper attempts to bring the greatest figures in American history down to his own puerile level:
Demystifying the historical figures of the past, pulling them off the great mountain top back down to Earth where they shat, farted, spit, pissed, fucked, raped, murdered, died, and rotted seems like important business for this country. As long as we allow those men to be cults of personality who exist beyond reproach, we’re never going to be able to see them for all of their good and all of their evil.
It seems Cooper leans toward regarding the men we venerate for their courage and foresight as evil, more than good. It’s easy as an armchair quarterback to criticize men who did their best in the era in which they lived, risking their lives in the process, while you sit in your comfortable chair in your nice office.
I’m just glad we had men like Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt to show us the way toward that shining city on the hill, rather than someone who wants to speak of how great men “shat, farted, spit, pissed, fucked, raped, murdered, died, and rotted.”