By Louise Bean
The de-platforming of historical figures through the removal of statues is not an act of erasure, it is a hopeful practice that signals a structural shift in the way that we remember our history. Statues can't capture the nuances of history but rather platform and deify historical figures. They reflect more about the values of the society that erects and protects it rather than educating on the figure themself.
The impulse to defend these works is a product of this deification: the creation of a false god out of a man. More specifically, a small group of singular men, exuberantly and inextricably intertwined with the nation's mythology and understanding of itself. If I identify with my country and these men and even centuries later they remain the prominent face of it, an attack on their character is an attack on my pride, no?
The recognition and reckoning with the fact that these men raped, displaced, colonized, dehumanized, exploited, terrorized, and murdered, all under the false pretext of libertarian and enlightenment ideals, does not diminish their historical relevance, as it remains the foundation of the country. If we truly make the claim to care about the erasure of history, we should be shocked and moved to action by the thought that the perspectives of the marginalized, the working classes, and the subjugated have been almost entirely omitted from the narrative of American history.
No false idols, no false gods.The worship of the past prevents us from seeing it clearly and impedes our vision of what may be next. Keep that fucking Columbus statue down. He has never and will never represent this country.