Conservatives Should Take Protests of Confederate Statues Seriously

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As near as I can tell, the most common reaction from most high-profile, movement conservatives to the toppling of Confederate statues is . . . sarcasm. Hey, how about toppling statues of Margaret Sanger? Burn! Why aren’t we toppling statues of Marx and Engels? Burn! How about the Hollywood Walk of Fame? Burn! And your hero Lincoln was just a big ol’ racist too. Why aren’t we toppling statues of him? Burn!

Is there something in the water that prevents so many conservatives with big media platforms from taking this seriously? There is, obviously, a perfectly good case for tearing down Confederate statues but leaving nearly everything else alone.¹ I should know, since it’s pretty much my position. After all, it’s one thing to have been racist in the past, when explicit racism was all but universal, and quite another to literally fight a war of secession in defense of Black slavery.

There’s nothing non-conservative about this stance—unless you’re afraid of offending a big chunk of your white Southern readers, of course. Or if laying sick burns on liberals is more important than seriously discussing whether or not statues of Confederate soldiers have any place in modern American life. So how about killing the sarcasm and taking a serious position on this?

And since I’m taking conservatives to task for this, I should also point to this piece by Jim Geraghty about the renaming of military bases. He makes a sensible argument about the best way to go about it.

¹“Nearly” because movements to de-statue racist colonizers like Columbus and Junipero Serra are of very long standing.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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