Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

An Easy Answer to “Cancel Culture,” to Right-Wing Extremists, and Others

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, July 26, 2020

The removal of statuary commemorating or honoring men (typically) who were complicit in slavery has been a question in the public dialogue for many weeks and months.

Some ask, “What about George Washington and Thomas Jefferson?”

“What to do with all those statues?”

Both those men, notable for their role as founders of our nation, were slave owners.

The answer is a fairly easy one (or so I think), though it’s not one typically considered by the boogymen who raise the invented evil spectre of the so-called “cancel culture,” which is evidenced by their whipping up their non-thinking audience into a foaming-at-the-mouth froth.

A friend asked:

“Just that of something If the democrats want to get rid of all things slavery and racist, then should not the democrat party go away they start the KKK, Jim Crowe laws. What are your thoughts?” [sic]

Here’s my reply.

You raise an interesting question, one which exemplifies the complexity of the matter.

I think it’s important to reiterate that statuary of subjects about which public opinion has changed, and which has been, or considering being removed, should either be returned to the donor (most such statues were donated by private individuals or organizations, and were not publicly funded, i.e., they were a gift), or be placed in a museum or other appropriate interpretive center where they could be properly maintained, and cared-for.

And, that has been done, not only in this current era. Many of America’s military parks provide museum-like interpretive centers which detail matters surrounding the various conflicts which the sites commemorate.

Consider also, an earlier example of the statue of Joe “JoePa” Paterno, the well-beloved, late, legendary coach of the Penn State football team Nittany Lions.

Statue of Joe Paterno, at Beaver Stadium, Penn State campus, as seen by Google Maps Street View, before it was removed in 2012.

Good, bad, or indifferent, in 2011 Paterno was caught up in the shameful child sex abuse scandal involving longtime Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky in which it was discovered that Sandusky, as a sexual predator, had been involved in the abuse of numerous children at Second Mile, a local not-for-profit organization which Sandusky founded which helped underprivileged and at-risk children, and their parents. Sandusky’s abuse of the children extended also to include his use of the Penn State football team’s facilities, and other locations, where he actively participated in sexual battery of young boys.

After being notified by a graduate assistant who was a former Lions quarterback, and an eyewitness to Sandusky’s rape of a boy in the Penn State football team’s showers, Paterno notified his superior in the university’s “chain of command.”

The PA State Attorney General stated specifically, that by notifying the university chain of command, Paterno covered himself legally.

And during Sandusky’s trial, testimony from numerous sources corroborated that Paterno had no role in the decade-plus long cover-up of Sandusky’s serial sexual abuse of boys. However, he was resoundingly publicly criticized for his failure to notify law enforcement authorities once he learned of the crime.

Again, the court of public opinion was much more negatively critical of Paterno, and identified that by his failure to notify police, in the eye of public opinion, Paterno became obliquely complicit in the crime.

Paterno’s statue – which had been commissioned by Paterno’s friends and admirers, and erected in 2001 – was removed from public display on campus in 2012, and never seen again.

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