Let’s take this concept and do it right!
Maybe the idea to have a historical park for statues like Jeff Davis, Lee, Benedict Arnold (if there were one), Bedford Forrest, Chamberlain, the Rosenbergs… might not be a bad idea, if done right. But only if we’re honest about how much some hurt, almost destroyed, betrayed, the nation.
I’m also sure we’d argue about which ones get wreathes hung around their next, which ones a noose. Which ones are showered with flowers, which splattered with cream pies. Some would get blown kisses, some balls thrown to trip the platform that dumps their images into vats of acid.
I’m not against a museum or a park that features some villains. Could raise a lot of money ala’ Ripley’s Believe it or Not: donated to worthy causes. Patrons could decapitate heads of said villains, with a ready supply of replacements. We could laugh at the absurdity, the folly, and the people who followed them. Jim Jones would be a good candidate for the worst treatment. Neville, while not ours, did affect the times but might deserve more context: Hitler thought Neville had played him because his failed attempt at peace gave Britain enough time to mount at least a marginal defense.
The Rosenbergs? I would favor a lot of context about the times, and Roy Cohn deserves ‘special’ treatment. Some considered Mary Surratt innocent; hanged with other Lincoln assassination conspirators. At the gallows one about to be hanged pleaded her case. Andrew Johnson, who abandoned Reconstruction in a failed attempt to schmooze fellow southerners, may deserve far, far less respectful treatment, however. Dunking booth, maybe? He started the deconstruction of Reconstruction. Grant tried to return it to something like what Lincoln may have wanted, but scandals basically took that away. Grant, basically a tactician extraordinaire, was too trusting and faithful to his people.
George Wallace could be humiliated, then redeemed, as he started to awkwardly redeem himself towards the end of his life. Robert Byrd who went from KKK Grand Wizard to legislating against the Klan would be similar to some extent. Both Ted and John had their worst moments, and Phoenix-like moments. Bill Clinton? Well, you know. Might want to cover the kiddies eyes passing some of these exhibits.
Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler should be there. They all greatly affected our history. I like the images of Hitler in a pink tutu, how about you?
Joseph McCarthy could be portrayed as truly having no decency. How about a pants dropped moment during his tirades, accusations?
Nixon? We have to have Nixon, though I think context would be required. Andrew Jackson? Hell, yeah. Make his 60’s World’s Fair animatronics figure walk The Trail of Tears until he falls apart, gruesomely. 9/11? I’m sure there’s a lot there to consider. Giuliani with ‘not his wife’ in the Office of Emergency Management’s emergency center as the planes hit. The figure of Dick Cheney could get middle fingers appropriately placed, or yellow cake shoved… as patrons cry out, “Nuke-lee-er this, Big Dick.” Wilson and Plame get the medals and cheers they so richly deserve.
Let’s have fun! Alternative history: what SHOULD have happened.
But a museum or park that honors Confederate generals as if they’re American heroes? Hell, no. DOUBLE “HELL, NO!” I would go for Benedict Arnold before that: he was a true Revolutionary hero until, like Judas, he was turned.
Lesson being if we don’t reward success people can be turned, if we don’t punish people gaining power by being traitors worse traitorous actions will follow until the concept of a free country will be no more than an unfunny joke. Some days I wonder if it already is.
Humor aside, yes, Mr. President, no, we shouldn’t try to erase history. But we should keep all history, not just the parts that please you. Let’s not erase any of it. Our history is filled with a lot of inconvenient facts some would rather erase.
Going back to my satirical history park for a moment, I would step up as one of the donors for a Donald J. Trump statue. Maybe not the real thing. Oh, I’m sure he would enjoy preening himself due to all the attention; even the bad kind. This is what he does. But with all the righteous rage not sure he would live that long.
What they did they do to Mussolini?
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks, and into the unseen cracks and crevasses, that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
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