Then they came for Philadelphia’s Frank Rizzo statue
The post-Charlottesville statue destruction frenzy is about power, but it may backfire in the voting booth.
Charlottesville is being exploited to justify some of the worst aspects of the leftist culture war.
Internet censorship by left-leaning internet oligopolies based on demonization of political opposition as “hate” and “extremist” groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center is one aspect.
But the culture war has moved with rapid speed to statues and monuments and names, and it’s not stopping at the confederacy. Protesters are taking matters into their own hands and defacing or destroying statues, like this memorial to Christopher Columbus in Baltimore, the oldest such monument in the U.S.:
After weeks of statue-tearing down frenzy, George Orwell’s passage from 1984 is getting quoted a lot:
“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”
A good case on how the statue purge is escalating is the push to remove the statue of former Philadephia police commissioner Frank Rizzo.
The Philadephia Inquirer reported on August 15, After Charlottesville, spotlight falls on Rizzo memorials:
As many Philadelphians watched in horror as protests over the planned removal of a statue memorializing Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Va., turned to deadly violence, a number of them had the same thought.
They turned their attention to Center City’s Thomas Paine Plaza and its statue of Frank L. Rizzo, the former law-and-order mayor and police commissioner known for tough, even brutal, tactics aimed at minorities including African Americans and homosexuals.
Now, several members of City Council are calling for the Rizzo statue’s retirement. City Councilwoman Helen Gym said she intends to initiate a public process as soon as Council comes back to session in September to explore whether the statue should be relocated or decommissioned. She said it was not clear how that process would unfold….
Meanwhile, a second likeness of Rizzo, in South Philadelphia’s Italian Market, has over the last several years become the most frequently defaced mural in the city. Jane Golden, head of Philadelphia Mural Arts, said that she intends to initiate discussions about whether the Rizzo mural ought to be removed, too.
Legally, it may not be so easy to remove the Rizzo statue, as The Inquirer further reports:
The city owns the statue outright. As such, it has the right to relocate, remove, or destroy it. But first, it must provide written notice to the organization that provided it, in this case a citizens’ committee chaired by Frank Rizzo Jr. And unless “the city determines that the immediate destruction of the work is necessary to protect the health, safety or welfare of the public,” the city must give the provider of the statue the chance to remove it first. If the city were to destroy the statue, it would have to give the provider six months’ advance notice.
However, the city intends to adhere to a policy it developed in 2012 on deaccessioning public art. On Tuesday, Mayor Kenney said the city Art Commission would need to conduct hearings in advance of any decision and that it would be up to the commission to vote on the fate of the statue.
What happened next is not really surprising. Protesters are taking matters into their own hands, City teacher charged in altercation with police at Rizzo statue protest:
A Philadelphia public school teacher has been charged in connection with an altercation with police during a protest near the controversial statue of Frank Rizzo, the city’s former mayor and police commissioner, outside the Municipal Services Building earlier this month, authorities said Saturday.
John Edward Sheerin, 63, of the 6200 block of Hasbrook Avenue in the city’s Crescentville section, was arrested without incident Friday night and charged with terroristic threats and harassment for allegedly making verbal threats of violence to a Philadelphia police officer, police said.
The alleged incident occurred on Aug. 16 at the 10-foot bronze statue at 15th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard, across from City Hall. Thousands of demonstrators surrounded the statue and called for its removal….
The Rizzo statue was defaced last week with the message “Black Power” spray-painted in white. City workers power-washed the message from the statue, which has been egged in recent weeks. A mural of Rizzo in South Philadelphia was defaced with spray paint last weekend.
The public purging of statutes, however, does not seem to reach liberal darlings like Franklin Roosevelt (who put Japanese-Americans in internment camps) or Bill Clinton (whose “superpredator” approach led to the explosion of black imprisonment).
This isn’t about substance, it’s about power and riling up the Democratic base, as The NY Times reports, Far From Dixie, Outcry Grows Over a Wider Array of Monuments:
“Just because Philadelphia wasn’t a part of the Confederacy doesn’t mean we get a pass,” Ms. Gym said in an interview. She is less concerned about turning off voters who support the president than in rousing members of the Democratic base, including minorities, who did not vote in November.
“My concern is about the number of people who stayed home, who felt government doesn’t speak for them,” she said. “I’m trying to show government can be reflective in a time of anguish.”
This all could backfire, as The Times further reported:
Paul Begala, the Democratic strategist, said his party was “driving straight into a trap Trump has set,” because the president seeks to shift the focus away from comments he made about white supremacists to his charge that opponents are trying to “take away our history.”
“While I understand the pain those monuments cause,” said Mr. Begala, who was an adviser to President Bill Clinton, “I just think it in some ways dishonors the debate to allow Trump to hijack it.” ….
Andrew Young, the former Atlanta mayor and civil rights leader, has argued against calls to remove the enormous carved tableau of Confederate leaders on Stone Mountain, Ga., and other Confederate monuments, saying those disputes make more enemies than friends and distract from more substantive issues.
“I personally feel that we made a mistake in fighting over the Confederate flag here in Georgia, or that that was an answer to the problem of the death of nine people to take down the Confederate flag in South Carolina,” he said, referring to the deadly shooting at a landmark black church in Charleston in 2015. He added, “I’m always interested in substance over symbols.”
Polling indicates widespread support for KEEPING confederate statues, as HuffPo reports:
Americans are generally unsupportive of attempts to remove memorials honoring Confederate leaders, new polling shows ― although the way the question is framed may make a significant difference.
In a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, a third of Americans favor removing statues and memorials of Confederate leaders, with 49 percent opposed. Just 29 percent of Americans favor changing the names of streets, schools and buildings commemorating Confederate leaders, while half are opposed.
Those surveyed are effectively split on whether the Confederate flag is more a symbol of Southern pride (36 percent) or racism (35 percent), with the rest unsure or saying it represents neither. But even if Americans don’t overwhelmingly recognize the flag as a symbol of racism, there’s also little widespread enthusiasm for its use. Just 34 percent of Americans say they approve of displaying the Confederate flag in public, while 47 percent disapprove.
It seems that Trump, as usual, has read the public mood (or perhaps, helped shape it) more so than the activists, other politicians, and pundits.
James Robbins writes in USA Today, Trump is winning the statue war:
Just last month, Democrats were talking about how they needed to rebrand their party around a positive message. They wanted to move beyond simple anti-Trumpism and identity politics, and craft an economic appeal to the white working-class voters who deserted them in 2016.
Now here we are with Democrats going all in to refight the Civil War. Well done.
A glance at the electoral map shows how foolish this is. Donald Trump triumphed in 2016 by increasing Republican margins in a swath of northern counties stretching from western Pennsylvania across the Great Lakes, netting him Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and the presidency. Voters there are more likely to see this issue as a radical temper tantrum than anything affecting their daily lives.
Polling gives reason for skepticism. An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll last week found that 62% of respondents thought statues honoring leaders of the Confederacy should “remain as a historical symbol.” Only 27% of those polled wanted the statues removed, and presumably they vote Democratic anyway. Perhaps party leaders see this issue as a way to motivate the minority base that failed to energize for Hillary Clinton, but even among African Americans, a 44% plurality said let the statues stay. So it’s just bad politics.
The statue-destruction frenzy is about power. But it may backfire in the voting booth.
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“…Frank L. Rizzo, the former law-and-order mayor and police commissioner known for tough, even brutal, tactics aimed at minorities including African Americans and homosexuals.”
Bullshit. He kept the peace by backing down the Black Panthers who were threatening violence when they weren’t actually being violent.
A new phase of the revolution is underway.
the barbarians are well inside the gates…
all we’re waiting for now is the spark.
“Spark?” You probably mean, the “excuse.”
Sooner or later, I’m afraid someone is going to deface, oh say, the MLK statue in Washington DC.
It’ll be a lesson in equality.
You know who it will get blamed on. Even after video surfaces of somebody else doing it.
and so they should.
Martin Luther was a savage anti-semite.
i get “uncomfortable” whenever i hear those names.
those names should be chiseled off.
let the statue just be “Reverend Dr King”
and what about all those Lutheran churches, eh?
Another legal license issued to/from the twilight fringe.
Olafauer: that thing is such a monstrosity virtually anything would be an improvement.
Who is pure enough to get a statue?
Well, pretty much nobody, according to the Collective. And if now, they soon will be coming after their own.
Speaking of who is pure enough to get a statue, how long before they go after that lady in New York harbor?
After all, she is the symbol of those huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Which we all know leads to free speech, wanton use of binary pronouns, and flagrant defense of individual property rights that the collective can’t abide.
To maintain perspective, it is important to keep in mind that the French in Saint Dominique (Haiti), the British in Cuba, the Spanish in Jamaica and the Portuguese in Brazil all imported many more slaves than their fellow countrymen ever imported into the colonies that would become the USA.
Guessing you meant the Spanish in Cuba and the British in Jamaica.
You left out, “the British in South Africa”!
They brought in slaves from Malaysia and India to do the dirty work in the fields.
The lady is fine by me, but the plaque inscribed with the Zeroth Amendment has got to go. Hey hey, ho ho!
Those brutal tactics aimed at minorities? He made sure the police enforced the law and had violators arrested. Yawn.
Funny, I don’t remember Mayor Frank Rizzo bombing a Philadelphia house, burning the occupants (including children) to death, and letting the fire burn the entire surrounding neighborhood of 40 other houses down …
You are a Nazi racist to point that out! Your white privelege bars you from any criticism of a black mayor, no matter how many they kill!
I truly hope this is sarcasm.
And then throwing the commissioner of his police department (whose men were being shot at all day) under the bus while watching his masterpiece unfold on TV.
You’re right. Nothing to see here. MOVE on.
This is not about votes. This is about power.
The BLM movement does not care a hill of beans about voters. They want to focus their efforts on elected politicians who they can intimidate into acting the way they want. Black, white, democrat, republican, doesn’t matter. No politician wants a few hundred violent young protesters outside their home, their office, their family, screaming about something the politician may not have even been responsible for. It doesn’t matter.
BLM doesn’t need to elect politicians. They can intimidate them into doing whatever they want.
They are a great focal point for the kooks. All you have to do then is bring in the troops for a mop-up operation.
We are witnessing the destruction of the Demorat party. This is their baby and it is now out of control. They thrive on chaos and division and now they will reap the wind.
I suspect this was all started as a way for Hillary to distract from both her failures and her crimes. She would rather burn the country down than be punished for her behavior, which is just what you would expect out of a dictator.
Whirlwind. Wind is what is sown in that axiom. We know what you mean.
I keep wondering what a specific woman thinks about this. I must ask her. I invited her to the King Tut exhibit hosted at Denver Art Museum just a half block from us. Once she saw the statues of pharaohs the first thing that confused her, so she asked was, “Why did they keep breaking the noses off all the statues?” This is a first thing Egyptologist types notice.
It was a real thing. Widespread. The successive pharaoh sent his army up and down the Nile, across the whole nation tip to tip, to mar the face of his predecessor’s statues. His/her way of announcing “Begone! You have no power here.”
Plus, as far as statues go, the nose is the most easily damaged no matter how much care is taken.
But most of it really was on purpose. A ritual practice.
Then there’s acts of a madman like the Pieta.
And now there are American Democrats. Lastingly cross that they lost another election and with no hope in sight.
Whatever happened to il cazzo on Michelangelo’s Davide? It was definitely broken off and now looks like he was in the pool and had shrinkage.
A teacher was charged.
The teachers in big cities must all be communists by now, or at least their unions are overrun. I know that what they teach is now child abuse.
The only statue that will be left in Philly will be the one of Rocky Balboa, until some animal rights group finds offense in the depiction of a fictional movie character abusing steer carcasses.
This symbol of oppression NEEDS TO GO !!
A statue of Ghandi is being removed in Ghana because of his racism. That will now have to be done here too, if there are any – and blacks MUST support such a removal.
After all, who are African-Americans to argue with African-Africans?
We are none of going to atckack this sickness.
That didn’t come out well.
Conservatives are spineless, and it seems just a stupid when it comes to knowledge of civics and history.
When the media comes to you, Mr/Ms Conservative, the answer is plain. Yes I support the people. To do as they desire through there elected representative. Thugs that use violence to advance their own uninformed and selfish whims, should be swiftly delt with by the justice system. Thats the problem. The left is ignoring the election results. For that, conservatives should demand they answer that question ever single time. “why are you abandoning our system of governence?” “Why are you ignoring the greatness of this grand experiment?”
The best part of this insanity by the tail of the libs wagging the whole dog is that those in their party with the intelligence to see how destructive this is to their own cause are afraid to say much. They know that these cretins will turn on their own, on a dime, if they dare to criticize any SJW behavior.
By the way, IMO the “W” in SJW stands for whiners, not warriors. Warriors, again just my opinion, don’t fear statues.
The Philly teacher’s most recent assignment is in the dregs of North Philly in a school where 9% of the students are proficient in math and 10% in reading – in other words, par for the course. He will likely be rewarded with a gig at the central office pushing papers if the union doesn’t go to bat for him to keep his current job. Speaking of the Philly teachers union, you should read their well-crafted, official statement condemning Nazis and white supremacists!
IMO this attack on our history will push more people towards Trump and even more so if there is continued violence by Antifa and the media continues to label all violence is done by the Alt-Right not the Left. The proposed SF free speech rally was canceled and the one in Boston were intentionally called out by officials and the media as being sponsored by the Alt-Right as it was in Charlottesville. More fake news.
At least they are no longer dunking Christ in Urine. You know, idle hands. Progress.
This is all about intimidation. Over the last 40 years, we have virtually eliminated the use of force, for intimidation purposes, by rightest fringe groups, such as the KKK. So, what happened? The leftist fringe groups have now started using violence to intimidate people, including politicians.
The thing to understand here is that this is not some spo0ntaneous grassroots movement. It is strategic and well orchestrated. The main targets of these intimidation tactics are politicians. And, except for a few special elections, no politician in this country is up for reelection until 2018. This gives the liberal groups time to gain concession from politicians more concerned with how immediate optics will affect fundraising, rather than how their actions will resonate with voters.
Make no mistake, though street level intimidation tactics are being used here, there is a LOT of money floating around behind the scenes, much of it into the reelection coffers of the Quisling politicians at the state and local level. Politicians are largely amoral. They are totally self serving and will almost always follow the money.
Either law enforcement enforces the law or (eventually) the people will. Although, by that time, Justice may not be defined so much by statute, as emotion.
…. iconoclasm rears its ugly head again…
The targets are mostly in blue states or cities. They are not worried about backlash and removals are forever which fits their time table.
While they’re getting rid of statues, they should get rid of Seattle’s statue of Lenin. See:
But they won’t. Lenin is a darling of the far left.
I’d like to see them go after this one: