Column: Toppling statues, like burning books, is a horrific idea


This too shall pass.

I hope.

Let’s talk about fads. What are the great fads in American history?

Mood rings, (Why was mine always black?); Pet rocks. (I still have one.); Fondue pots; Bermuda shorts (OK, maybe this one was not so great); Fallout shelters; Goldfish swallowing (gulp); Smiley faces; and the also popular (It happens! from Forrest Gump); Hula Hoops; Metrics in America. (How come the most common usage is kilos and grams of drugs?);Pac Man and Donkey Kong; Toga Parties.

Each of these fads had their place in the American lexicon, and then they were relegated to someone’s Top 10 — or in my case — Top 11 or 12 list.

After a while, they become something you smile about when remembering the past.

America’s newest fad is dangerous.

Erasing history by toppling and destroying statues is a terrible idea. It deserves to die a quick, never-to-be-mentioned-again death.

That death does not seem very likely. This fad — like Pokemon — grows with passion and fervor daily.

While each of the previous fads (except maybe the goldfish and toga parties) were relatively harmless, America’s newest fad is harmful, and a danger to all.

Someone needs to take a step back and think about the future.

And their past.

I wonder every night as I struggle to sleep … are there city workers across the nation dressed as ninjas quietly taking down offensive statues before the sun comes up?

I hope not. But I know I’m wrong.

A mob mentality has taken over parts of America.

Destroying statues and monuments is no different that burning books.

Some 30 years ago, many liberals roared and chastised the few but noisy conservatives who came up with the stupid idea of burning book so their children would not learn about the exploits of evil-doers like Huckleberry Finn.

Times have changes.

Now, conservatives are largely damning the few, but very vocal, liberals calling for the destruction of statues and monuments.

Something is hypocritical about this whole situation.

Well, stupid, ignorant and hypocritical.

America’s willingness to follow the crowd is not always a good thing.

Approving the erasing of history is always a bad idea.

You can’t wipe away an unpleasant past with a crane and bulldozer.

What America is doing is not unlike the actions ISIS, Al Qaida or Al Shabeeb.

Those terrorists took over city and nations and along the way destroyed all reminders of that culture’s heritage.

Not only did they topple monuments, they burned synagogues, museums, libraries and cathedrals.

Unfortunately, we’re not that far away from those extremest actions.

It only takes one action to get the next conflagration started.

That’s mob mentality in a nut shell.

One post on social media or one mention on the nightly news and soon churches, libraries and museums across the nation will be looted and burned to the ground.

It’s shameful.

And we’re a lot closer than we think to that type of action.

Someone said that if you forget about history, you are doomed to repeat it.

Out of sight, out of mind.

One argument is that the statues being toppled or removed under cover of darkness are not symbols of racism, but are symbols of an area’s heritage, as is the confederate flag and other symbols.

That’s a matter of opinion. But some 70 years ago, a Star of David were attacked in much the same way.

That was a great example of mob mentality, and it ended with millions being erased from the face of the earth.

Destroying every vestige of any culture’s heritage does not facilitate peace and understanding.

It serves no purpose other than to assuage the anger of the mob mentality fueled by social media and the national media.

Where will it end?

Should Cleveland Indians fans gather in Chicago and burn down Wrigley Field, home of the world champion Cubs.

Why not?

October and November of last year are a part of history I don’t wish to ever think about again.

Cleveland fans should find every last t-shirt and hat and and jersey that reads: “Chicago Cubs, 2016 World Champs” and toss them in that big Wrigley Field bonfire.

And if there are people wearing those hats and shirts in the way, burn them, too, or run them over with a car.

But what do you do after that?

Mob mentality is a dangerous thing. Once it reaches its ignition point, mobs lose control.

And that’s happening far too often in recent times.

What’s next America?

LeBron James fans knocking over that Michael Jordan statue in Chicago?

Larry Bird fans trashing Magic Johnson’s statue in Los Angeles?

Jordan Spieth spitting and stomping on Arnold Palmer’s statue at Wake Forest?

Fans of “Taxi Driver,” “Network,” and”All the President’s Men” tearing down that statue of Rocky Balboa in Philadelphia (Figure that one out yourself?)


Perhaps. But maybe not.

That’s my point.

Erasing the past will not make the future any less difficult to navigate.

It only adds fuel to this nation’s growing mob mentality.

I only hope we don’t revert to book-burning, too.

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Russ Kent

Galion Inquirer

Email Russ Kent at [email protected]

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