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Three items caught my attention in the run-up to our nation's birthday celebration:

• Nike pulled a shoe adorned with a Betsy Ross flag because former NFL quarterback turned professional race provocateur Colin Kaepernick complained that the flag existed when slavery existed.

Kaepernick, who probably doesn't know much American history, even of the recent kind, probably also didn't know that the Ross flag was one of the flags under which our first black president took the oath of office for his second term.

• Exquisitely timed for the arrival of the Fourth of July, the city council of Charlottesville, Va., voted to replace its holiday commemorating the birth of Thomas Jefferson with a "Liberation and Freedom Day," apparently on the assumption that the Declaration of Independence had little to do with liberation or freedom.

Few would know where Charlottes-ville is or care if it were not the location of Monticello and the University of Virginia, otherwise known as "Mr. Jefferson's University."

• The San Francisco school board voted to paint over a mural, The Life of Washington, at George Washington High School on the grounds that it reflected "Manifest Destiny," "white supremacy" and other nasty things that might offend students from marginalized groups.

Spending lots of money ($600,000!) to paint over a highly regarded work of WPA art from the 1930s would be a form of "reparations," according to one of the board members.

Art historian Brian T. Allen more accurately called it "official vandalism."

Embedded in such incidents, along with the copious amounts of sheer stupidity, are a couple of principles that suggest there will be a great deal more "official vandalism" and ideological cleansing of the public square to come.

As many pointed out when it was just Confederate statues being threatened, the idea that anything which offends anybody based on contemporary hyper-woke sensitivities should be pulled down or renamed contains no stopping point of any kind.

Slippery slopes really do exist, and once you start vandalizing or removing artifacts from the past due to their being insufficiently politically correct according to the standards of the present, you get on that slope and can't get off, to the "if A, then B" point of destroying just about everything.

The Taliban dynamited ancient Buddha statues because they believed, in their primitive intolerance, that the existence of artifacts of other religions insulted theirs. The San Francisco school board in its virtue-signaling intolerance takes this a step further by destroying not just what offends its members but also what might hypothetically offend someone somewhere.

The Kaepernick caveat--that anything that existed when slavery also existed should be forbidden--accelerates the pace of the slide, since slavery existed throughout the overwhelming majority of human existence, in most places as recently as a couple of centuries ago, in some even as recently as the past century. To apply such a principle in consistent fashion would thus mean erasing history itself, to the point of making it impossible to teach and learn about the past, including our experiences with slavery, imperialism, and racism.

The question asked when it was just about Christopher Columbus or Robert E. Lee--where does this end?--can now be answered: It doesn't, because once started, it can't.

In addition to this, there is the growing sense that, as liberalism lurches rapidly toward hard-left radicalism, its relationship with the American experiment becomes increasingly awkward. Given their depiction of American life as incorrigibly racist and sexist, and the American past as consisting of little more than slavery and imperialism, it becomes difficult to see how radical lefties can find anything on the Fourth of July to actually celebrate.

At the least, one suspects that when the rest of us were lighting sparklers and grilling burgers and taking the kids to the parades, our woke folk were sitting inside sulking and muttering under their breath about the deplorables making too much noise.

After all, if you can't celebrate Thomas Jefferson, it's going to be something of a stretch to celebrate what he wrought with the words "We hold these truths to be self-evident." And if you see our flag as nothing but a symbol of slavery, you're unlikely to want to wave it about.

Recent results from Gallup tell us that 76 percent of Republicans are "extremely proud" of their country, a figure that has varied little over the years, while only 22 percent of Democrats say they are, down from 56 percent at the beginning of Barack Obama's second term.

Republicans apparently like their country whether a Democrat or Republican is president, Democrats only when a Democrat is, and even then not as much.

"America, love it or leave it" was the kind of thing Archie Bunker types used to say, but it remains unclear why people who despise America continue to stay in America, why, if there are so many better places to go, as their rhetoric suggests, and no constraints preventing them from going, they choose to live and work in and thus benefit from the system of oppression and injustice they so vehemently denounce.

Maybe because America isn't nearly as bad as they say it is? And because in no other country could they make such asses of themselves to such great applause?


Freelance columnist Bradley R. Gitz, who lives and teaches in Batesville, received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois.

Editorial on 07/15/2019

Print Headline: BRADLEY R. GITZ: Left in America


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  • RBear
    July 15, 2019 at 6:24 a.m.

    Gitz crawled out of his Cold War bunker long enough to look at a tiny fraction of events and swing at some pinatas today. With regards to knowledge of US history, he might look at his own fan base for examples of issue illiteracy including a few who falsely claimed the Constitution was signed in 1776 instead of 1787 or those who can't seem to read that same document regarding Article I Section 2 to understand it means ALL individuals in the US, not just citizens.
    Then again, I'm not sure even Gitz understands some of these points. BTW, regarding Charlottesville most of us know where it is thanks to the riotous acts of some white nationalists who stormed the city proclaiming white supremacy including the murderous act of one of their members on that day. Maybe Gitz selectively forgets that weekend, but the rest of us don't.

  • mozarky2
    July 15, 2019 at 7:49 a.m.

    Don't look now, but the Nutroots Nation is trying to erase Nanzi Lugosi, too!
    Well, either erase or paint over her. They're even referring to her as a conservative!

  • Morebeer
    July 15, 2019 at 9:39 a.m.

    In Christopher Sayles’ history of Columbus’s journeys, he recounts how the gold-hungry Spaniards on Hispaniola would send the native islanders into the hills to dig for scarce gold. Those that couldn’t meet their quotas had their hands cut off. Many committed suicide rather than face punishment and slavery. It’s this sort of factual history, left out of schoolkids’ history books, that riles native Americans and stops them from celebrating Columbus Day. Well, those that remain. The Tainos victimized by the Spanish are an extinct people. The descendants of victimized peoples aren’t trying to rewrite history but seek recognition of the truth. Gitz and those like him want to keep their blinders. They feel so much more comfortable that way. This isn’t a left-right issue, it’s a truth issue.

  • Illinoisroy
    July 15, 2019 at 12:15 p.m.

    We need to own our real history with all the warts included. Unfortunately many of the recently "woke" crowd have taken things to the extreme. Nike made a business decision that they have to live with. I don't have any problem with Mr. Kaepernick's actions or opinions. National anthem, flag, god bless America, etc. are just pseudo-patriotic symbols that aren't really relevant to our form of government. I do take exception with Mr. Gitz's assertion:
    "Republicans apparently like their country whether a Democrat or Republican is president, Democrats only when a Democrat is, and even then not as much."

    The real reason for lack of pride currently is the immoral xenophobic megalomaniac con-man occupying the office of the president at this time.
    Love it or leave it!

  • Packman
    July 15, 2019 at 4:16 p.m.

    July 4th is an especially hard day for libs as they have to celebrate an event brought about by ordinary citizens armed with military grade guns.

  • WhododueDiligence
    July 15, 2019 at 4:46 p.m.

    "The real reason for lack of pride currently is the immoral xenophobic megalomaniac con-man occupying the office of the president at this time."
    Yes, that could have an awful lot to do with it. And that's a much more logical conclusion than Gitz's conclusion which breaks basic rules of logic. A poll indicates that only 22 percent of Democrats say they're "extremely proud" of their country. From that poll result, the rules of Logic 101 do NOT allow us to jump to the conclusion that the remaining 78 percent don't like their country. Extreme pride goeth before an extreme fall, anyone?
    Extreme pride obviously has some negative connotations. It's not logical to equate extreme pride with liking. Accordingly, in a poll which presents people with options, when people choose to say they're not extremely proud of their country, it's not logical to jump to the conclusion that those people don't like their country.
    The Gallup poll Gitz cites illustrates Gitz's faulty logic. In that poll 22% of Democrats said they're extremely proud of their country, 29% percent said they're very proud, 33% said they're moderately proud, and 11% said they're only a little proud. So 84% of Democrats have at least moderate pride and 51% are at least very proud of their country. It's not logical to assume or suggest they don't like their country. And 95% of Democrats have at least some pride in their country despite the immoral xenophobic megalomaniac con-man currently occupying White House.
    That's reality in America. Ya gotta love it.

  • WhododueDiligence
    July 15, 2019 at 4:51 p.m.

    Speaking of Charlottesville, that's where neo-Nazis marched with their Nazi flag, chanting their Nazi chants, and that's when Trump said there are good people on both sides. Who could be extremely proud of that?

  • Packman
    July 15, 2019 at 8:37 p.m.

    Hey Whodo - Stop lying. The good people President Trump referenced were members of The Daughters of the Confederacy and others who view the Confederate flag as a symbol of honor and bravery, and you know it. There were in fact good people on both sides.
    In those same remarks President Trump specifically condemned the neo-Nazis. Stop lying, Whodo. Just stop.

  • WhododueDiligence
    July 16, 2019 at 8:45 a.m.

    Packman, speaking of lying, you continue to believe whatever Trump says despite his thousands upon thousands of well-documented lies. In reality it was extreme-right white nationalists who organized the Charlottesville march which included neo-Nazis carrying their Nazi flag and chanting their Nazi chants. Trump's initial reaction was to blame "many sides" for the hatred and he also said there were "very fine people on both sides." Trump was criticized by many--including Republican congress members--for creating a false equivalence which placed the extreme-right white supremacists on equal moral ground with the protesters who protested against them.
    This, from a press conference three days after the Charlottesville march ended:
    Reporter: "The neo-Nazis started this. They showed up in Charlottesville to protest..."
    Trump: "Excuse me, excuse me. They didn't put themselves -- and you had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people who were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group. Excuse me, excuse me. I saw the same pictures as you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name."
    So as you see, Packman, Trump was talking about Robert E. Lee supporters who marched in that group which included neo-Nazis carrying their Nazi flag and chanting their Nazi chants. Also, the taking down of the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville was part of a movement which began after the 2015 Charleston church mass murder by a white supremacist. In defending people who marched in that group which included neo-Nazis, Trump failed to mention that.
    "If white nationalists and neo-Nazis are now claiming this as part of their heritage, they have essentially co-opted those images and those statues beyond any capacity to neutralize them again."
    - Eleanor Harvey, Civil War scholar and senior curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, quoted from the August 2017 National Geographic article, "Why the U.S. Capitol Still Hosts Confederate Monuments"