Protesters across the United States have in recent weeks torn down or defaced dozens of statues of historical American figures as part of a feverish assault on “systemic racism.”
Among the casualties so far were Robert E. Lee, Christopher Columbus and Thomas Jefferson.
- But not everyone is satisfied with human-scale vandalism.
A growing number of activists have issued demands on Twitter for the destruction of the biggest and most famous American historical statue of them all: Mount Rushmore.
A meme making the rounds online describes the monument as the “Statue Removal Final Boss.”
Some liberals have advocated bombing Mount Rushmore, which features the 60-feet-tall visages of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln carved into the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Hip-hop artist Supaman said “Removing” Mount Rushmore would be “an act of love.”
Michael Harriot, a writer at The Root, a black politics blog, seemed to suggest replacing the presidents with black faces — but sociologist Zoe Samudzi and others quickly educated him about the monument’s irredeemability.
- She noted that the Souix Indians were originally given the land as part of a reservation and that Mount Rushmore’s sculptor had ties to the Ku Klux Klan.
- They also wanted reparations to be paid.
Meanwhile, conservatives like actor James Woods struggled to believe that the left was serious.
Commentator J. Bradford Williams warned the Statue of Liberty could be next.
Calls for Mount Rushmore’s destruction are not new.
- They last peaked in 2017 during a previous binge of historical-statue destruction, which was spurred by the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
At the time, essays were published in the press and a handful of people even signed a Change.org petition demanding “Demolition of Mount Rushmore, the colossus monument to racism slavery and white supremacy.”
Nonetheless, as in previous years, about 2 million people visited Mount Rushmore in 2018 and again in 2019.
- The National Park Service, which manages the monument, has described it as “the Shrine of Democracy.”
- The official Mount Rushmore website quotes the sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, as saying: “The purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the United States with colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.”