Well-deserved pushback against Chicago Monuments Project underway

Abraham Lincoln: The Head of State, designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. It is one of Chicago monuments “under review.”

By John Ruberry 

Last week in my DTG post I wrote about the Chicago Monuments Project, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s response to last summer’s riot surrounding the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park south of downtown.

The committee for the project earlier this month identified 41 monuments, mostly statues but also plaques, reliefs, and one painting. Five of the monuments are statues of Abraham Lincoln. Yes, that guy, the one who led the Union during the Civil War, which led to ending slavery in America. Illinois is the Land of Lincoln, that slogan has been emblazoned on every Illinois license plate for decades. His face is on all standard Illinois license plates. On every Illinois driver’s license and state ID card is Lincoln’s countenance–and automobile titles too.

Other monuments “under review” by the project include statues of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Leif Erikson, Ulysses S. Grant, William McKinley, several pieces honoring Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet, and works featuring anonymous Native Americans. 

But don’t worry! Really! In a Chicago Sun-Times op-ed published last week–on Washington’s birthday–three of the project’s members assured us:

Various accounts, especially on social media, have inaccurately described this project as an effort to tear it all down. This could not be further from the truth. It is a discussion.

I don’t believe them. The “discussion,” in my opinion, is a first step to, yes, “tear it all down.” Liberals work by way of incrementalism. Many left-wing politicians, probably most, want to ban private ownership of guns. They can’t express that sentiment because of the predictable outrage–and it could mean that they’ll be voted out of office. So they start with the easier targets, such as bans on semi-automatic rifles. If they succeed they’ll move on to other firearms, ending with the banning the type of handgun Mrs. Marathon Pundit purchased this year.

So the Chicago Monuments Project is beginning with “a discussion.” Without pushback that discussion very well may devolve into moving statues in the wee hours, which is what happened to two Christopher Columbus statues, including the one at the center of the riot, into storage. Both of those statues of the Italian Navigator are on the project’s “under review” status. 

It’s not just social media users and conservative news sources that have objected to the Chicago Monuments Project. In a Chicago Tribune op-ed, Lincoln biographers Sidney Blumenthal and Harold Holzer wrote, “The Orwellian idea of removing Lincoln from Chicago would be as vain as an attempt to erase the history of Chicago itself.”

The editoral board of the Chicago Tribune–paid subscription required–favors keeping the Lincoln stautes.

Lori Lightfoot even weighed in, “But let’s be clear, we’re in the Land of Lincoln, and that’s not going to change.”

But I’d like to explain to you that the other monuments are also worth keeping. Benjamin Franklin owned two slaves but he freed them and he later became an abolititionist. Ulysses S. Grant, when he was under tremendous financial hardship, freed the only slave he owned. Grant of course was the commander of all Union armies in the Civil War. George Washington’s slaves were freed after the death of Martha Washington. Yes, Washington is the Father of our Nation.

Other than being white, I can’t astertain why Marquette and Jolliet, or Leif Erikson, are “under review” in Chicago.

The source of the rage against Lincoln likely comes from his approving the hanging of 38 Dakota warriors in 1862. But Abe commuted 264 Dakota War executions. There were atrocities in that conflict committed by both sides. Here’s what a Norwegian immigrant described in a letter at that time, courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society:

The Indians have begun attacking the farmers. They have already killed a great many people, and many are mutilated in the cruelest manner. Tomahawks and knives have already claimed many victims. Children, less able to defend themselves, are usually burned alive or hanged in the trees, and destruction moves from house to house.

If the Chicago Monuments Project is about education, then it probably means that Lightfoot sorely needs one. “In time, our team will determine there are no monuments to African Americans in this city,” Lightfoot said last summer while announcing what has become the Chicago Monuments Project. “There are no monuments to women. There are no monuments that reflect the contributions of people in the city of Chicago who contributed to the greatness of this city.”

But in her namesake park on the South Side stands a Gwendolyn Brooks statue. Brooks was the first African-American to serve as Illinois’ Poet Laureate. A couple miles north of that statue is the beautiful Victory Monument, which honors a World War I African American regiment, and a bit north of that one is the Monument to the Great Northern Migration. I believe each of these are on city of Chicago or Chicago Park District property.

Does Chicago need more monuments featuring women and minorities? Absolutely. It can also benefit with a Ronald Reagan statue. The Gipper is the only president who was born in Illinois and the first to live in Chicago, although the apartment where he lived as a child was razed by the University of Chicago in 2013.

Click here to view the monuments in question. To express your comments about the Chicago Monuments Project please click here. Please be courteous. And if you Tweet this blog post–please do!–use the #ChicagoMonuments hashtag.

Make your voice heard. They’ve begun to listen.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.


A look back at how President Ronald Reagan defeated the Soviet Union

This Saturday marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  No individual was more responsible for the fall of the Berlin Wall and the ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union than President Ronald Reagan,  I know liberals scoff at that notion and anyone will be able to find many politically correct revisionist articles tearing apart that historic fact.  A careful examination of the evidence will demonstrate how President Reagan brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union through a very complex plan.

The Breitbart article How Ronald Reagan Won the Cold War chronicles this miraculous series of events.

Based on intelligence reports and his lifelong study, Reagan concluded that Soviet communism was cracking and ready to crumble. He first went public with his prognosis of the Soviets’ systemic weakness at his alma mater, Eureka College, in May 1982. He declared that the Soviet empire was “faltering because rigid centralized control has destroyed incentives for innovation, efficiency, and individual achievement.”

One month later, in a prophetic address to the British Parliament at Westminster, Reagan said that the Soviet Union was gripped by a “great revolutionary crisis” and that a “global campaign for freedom” would ultimately prevail. He boldly predicted that “the march of freedom and democracy … will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people.”

He directed his top national security team to develop a plan to end the Cold War by winning it. The result was a series of top-secret national security decision directives that:

-Committed the U.S. to “neutralizing” Soviet control over Eastern Europe and authorized the use of covert action and other means to support anti-Soviet groups in the region.

–Adopted a policy of attacking a “strategic triad” of critical resources—financial credits, high technology, and natural gas—essential to Soviet economic survival. The directive was tantamount, explained author-economist Roger Robinson, to “a secret declaration of economic war on the Soviet Union.”

Another great read on this subject is the Heritage article Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism.

There is one Western leader above all others who forced the Soviets to give up the Brezhnev Doctrine and abandon the arms race, who brought down the Berlin Wall, and who ended the Cold War at the bargaining table and not on the battlefield. The one leader responsible more than any other for leading the West to victory in the Cold War is President Ronald Reagan.

The plan President Reagan implemented was one he authored before being elected to the Presidency.

In January 1977, four years before he was sworn in as the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan told a visitor that he had been thinking about the Cold War and he had a solution: “We win and they lose.”

It was a plan he began implementing soon after taking office,

From his first week in office, President Reagan went on the offensive against the Soviet Union. In his first presidential news conference, Reagan denounced the Soviet leadership as still dedicated to “world revolution and a one-world Socialist-Communist state.”

It is true that the Soviet Union was an economic mess, however that nation was able to produce a military that was hugely superior to ours, especially after the Carter Presidency.

Based on intelligence reports and his own analysis, the President concluded that Communism was cracking and ready to crumble. He took personal control of the new victory strategy, chairing 57 meetings of the National Security Council in his first year in the White House.

Here is the plan that President Reagan implemented.

Reagan directed his national security team to come up with the necessary tactics to implement his victory strategy. The result was a series of top-secret national security decision directives (NSDDs).

NSDD-32 declared that the United States would seek to “neutralize” Soviet control over Eastern and Central Europe and authorized the use of covert action and other means to support anti-Soviet groups in the region, especially in Poland.

NSDD-66 stated that it would be U.S. policy to disrupt the Soviet economy by attacking a “strategic triad” of critical resources–financial credits, high technology, and natural gas. The directive was tantamount to a “secret declaration of economic war on the Soviet Union.”

NSDD-75 stated that the U.S. would no longer coexist with the Soviet system but would seek to change it fundamentally. America intended to roll back Soviet influence at every opportunity.

Here are more components of the plan.

A subset of the Reagan strategy was U.S. support of pro-freedom forces in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Angola, and Cambodia. A key decision was to supply Stinger ground-to-air missiles to the mujahideen in Afghanistan, who used them to shoot down the Soviet helicopters that had kept them on the defensive for years.

The year 1983 was a critical one for President Reagan and the course of the Cold War. In March, he told a group of evangelical ministers that the Soviets “are the focus of evil in this modern world” and the masters of “an evil empire.”

The same month, the President announced that development and deployment of a comprehensive anti-ballistic missile system would be his top defense priority. The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was called “Star Wars” by liberal detractors, but Soviet leader Yuri Andropov took SDI very seriously, calling it a “strike weapon” and a preparation for a U.S. nuclear attack.

Moscow’s intense opposition to SDI showed that Soviet scientists regarded the initiative not as a pipe dream but as a technological feat they could not match. A decade later, the general who headed the department of strategic analysis in the Soviet Ministry of Defense revealed what he had told the Politburo in 1983: “Not only could we not defeat SDI, SDI defeated all our possible countermeasures.”

The master stroke of the plan was this event:

In June 1987, Reagan stood before the Brandenburg Gate and challenged the Soviet leader: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” No Western leader had ever before dared to issue such a direct challenge.

Trump Playing the Old Reagan Game with China

Back in the days when I was a Democrat I was suspicious of Ronald Reagan.  There were still anti-abortion Democrats pro-defense democrats who understood that Communism was as bad as Nazism or worse and that opposing it was a moral duty so I wasn’t quite alone but when the whole concept of Star Wars came all hell broke loose.

The entire media and a good chunk of the academic community went nuts.  The idea of a missile defense was crazy, lunacy and it would bankrupt up.  Almost nobody said it was impossible, America left hadn’t yet completely conquered academia so we weren’t at the point where we didn’t believe in ourselves yet but many claimed that such a system was not worth it because it couldn’t stop every missile.

I thought their arguments were weak, nobody said ships shouldn’t have AA guns because you couldn’t stop every attacking plane and I was in the computer field as a student and knew how good we were.  But more importantly Russia also knew how good we were and decided that they had to try to do what we were doing.

So in addition to financing the left and the protests against Star Wars (a tactic that our enemies still use with even greater effectiveness today) they tried to match us, but with no economy to speak up, and the need to prop up regimes in Cuba, South America and elsewhere it soon became apparently that to them (but not to the academic left) that they risked collapse, thus they started talking but when they were unwilling to make a fair deal Reagan to the astonishment of everyone walked way.

Five years later the Soviet Empire that guest speakers at my college and the smartest minds in media and government insisted was here to stay folded like a wet blanket.

Which brings us to Trump and China.

Like Russia China is in a spot, you have them trying to prop up our foes like the  Venezuelan tyranny and the North Koreans among others, they are short key natural resources and greasing others to keep them.

They are trying to build up their military and sinking a lot of money there as well.

They have their own Islamic issues with the Uyghurs and  despite their deal with Francis they are still having issues with the underground Catholic Church that is not as big of a sucker as he is, they still have Falun gong issues and now are dealing with revolt in Hong Kong.

Adding to that problem is a male heavy population that is unable to find a mate thanks to the effects of the now gone one child policy and a population that has now gotten used to better than the subsistence life that they once had to endure.

It’s a tough balancing act but as long as you have pliant companies willing to do your bidding and a weak United States it can be done.

But then comes Trump.

  • Suddenly he is reasserting US strength in the region at a time when neighboring countries are most afraid of your power.
  • Suddenly he is making moves on North Korea and when they launch missiles in to the sea isn’t willing to come hat in hand to China to beg them to stop.  He’s wiling to call the bluff.
  • Suddenly he is willing to put on tariffs to force fair deals and when you retaliate instead of folding he doubles down even in an election year.
  • Most importantly business’ seeing what’s going on decide that it’s a good idea to relocate to neighboring nations making both your economic and social problems worse.

Worst of all he does it knowing the same thing that Reagan did, that the powerful US economy fueled by dynamic citizens with the freedom to react and innovate, something that the Communist Chinese aren’t allowed,  can absorb the hit that tariff’s bring particularly since he’s made the country energy self sufficient.

China can not and every day this goes on China exacerbates their social problems and drains the funds needed to keep their balls in the air.

They could of course choose war,  but unfortunately for them their land forces can’t reach us and their naval and air forces are no match for ours.

And if you’re thinking nukes, well let’s say that a communist regime who loses it’s head wouldn’t last long, particularly with an unfriendly India and a ravenous Russia next door with a long memory and a score to settle.  Plus there is Tibet and the Uyghurs waiting for a chance to revolt for self determination.  Then consider what would happen if a Nuke hit DC and NYC and LA.  You would still have Democratic state governments able to function food production, energy production and more would go on unabated and despite the best efforts that our foes can buy in the green movement there are more than enough sufficient number of pipelines to keep things flowing and a giant strategic reserve in place.

And I haven’t even mentioned Taiwan.

China might hope for the defeat of Trump and they will likely put all their eggs in that basket but if that fails then their already weak bargaining position will be even worse, particularly since Trump has a “Trump” card concerning the debt of ours their currently hold.  as the old saying goes, if you own the bank $100 dollars it’s your problem, if you owe a million it’s theirs.  Multiply those numbers by a few million and you can see my point.

Furthermore there is the temperament of Trump, the longer this goes on the higher price he will demand because he understand that if this trade war goes on China as a nation will grow weaker, while we will still be in a position to at worst tread water, and at best still grow stronger, and as I said China has a bunch of enemies around them with scores to settle.

If China is smart they will make a deal now while their bargaining position is strongest and the damage done to this point is controllable.  If they are not they will put all their eggs in the NeverTrump basket where they will find plenty of Americans ready to play.

But the longer they wait the more industries will decide that it’s safer to move their manufacturing elsewhere and future manufactures will think twice before committing there.

So even if they manage to put a Democrat in office by then they will lose both in the short term and the long.

Trump and anyone who knows history understands this, which is why Democrat voters do not.

Update: I can’t believe that I forgot to mention the Chinese Pork crisis in this piece.