After President Trump’s press conference where he discussed the concern that removing historical statues for the racist or racially insensitive views of the figure might lead to the removal of the Jefferson Memorial or Washington Monument, the Daily Caller ran a satirical piece entitled, “It’s Time to Blow Up Mount Rushmore.”
And right on cue, Cooper published a piece at Vice called “Let’s Blow Up Mount Rushmore.” Perhaps concerned that his title was a bit too aggressive in the current tempest of emotions, Cooper dialed it down a notch and changed the title to, “Let’s Get Rid of Mount Rushmore.” It’s a cosmetic change only, because about the only way to “get rid” of the giant stone monument in South Dakota is to “blow it up.”
Unsurprisingly Cooper outlines the very problems with the men on the Mount that Trump was alluding to: Washington and Jefferson were slave owners. And the other two, Lincoln and Roosevelt were, “at least partially complicit in horrific atrocities” (apparently Lincoln’s work in the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t quite do enough to redeem his legacy). That reality caused Cooper to experience “feelings of both wonder and disgust” when he gazed at the famous sculptures.
To his credit, Cooper acknowledges that given his standards there is no president that is deserving of such an honor. But I think his admission still falls short. By these standards, no human being is deserving of such honor. Every human being is fallen, sinful, and to at least some degree a product of the abhorrent spirit of the age in which they live.
It’s why in my recent video on this new era of warring against stone monuments I lay out the two options before us. We can either move towards not building monuments to honor any man given that any human being is unworthy of it, except for the God-man, Jesus.
Or, we can begin teaching and understanding that monument and statue building can be less about worshipping individuals, and more about acknowledging and remembering the part they played in our country’s epic struggle to create a ‘more perfect union.’
It seems self-evident that Cooper prefers the former. If that’s the case, we’ve got a lot of history to begin scrubbing stat.