Travis Rowley: Statues of Limitation


“The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.”

Okay, so now what?

Actually, allow me to expound on that. Let me not be as coy and cryptic as the phrase “black lives matter.”

Across the country, historic monuments are under assault. Many have been defaced and/or barbarically overthrown. Others are being removed before the progressive mob can reach them. Let’s even imagine for a moment the utter success of this campaign, a scenario in which every stone image deemed offensive has been eradicated by the Left’s history-hiding purge. Poof. Gone. All of them.

Okay, so now what?

Even the most dimwitted Democratic activist is capable of realizing the limits of the mere removal of every sculpture that happens to ruffle progressive feathers.

Or is he? After all, radicals have earned their reputation as people who value only destruction, but then lack the competence to refurbish the wreckage. The recent push to “abolish the police” is proof enough of that.

In what seems to be an effort to have the campus safe space engulf the entire country, we are experiencing a moment of mass “symbolism over substance” that clearly won’t accomplish the stated goals of Black Lives Matter and their political allies.  The absence of patriotic totems just won’t manage to exile “white privilege” to the ash heap of history.

If they haven’t done so already, I’m certain that progressives will defend their thuggery in the same way they always do after disregarding the norms of the democratic process — that is, simply by invoking the importance of “raising the consciousness” of others. You know, by pouring red paint all over statues of Christopher Columbus and other such spectacles.

The more “woke” people, the better. And the ends justify the means. The Left has taken us here before.

Of course, if progressives were truly serious about awakening the public, then they would be better off allowing statues to stand and establishing annual class field trips and monument tours that would afford them the opportunity to castigate these horrendous figures for years to come. With the monuments banished, however, this is no longer possible. So, you know, points awarded to the “erasing history isn’t the answer” crowd.

So, again, now what?

It’s hardly out of line to be curious over the odd amount of energy dedicated to something that clearly doesn’t solve anything. As BET founder Robert Johnson said about the removal of statues, “It’s not going to give a kid whose parents can’t afford college money to go to college. It’s not going to close the labor gap between what white workers are paid and what black workers are paid. And it’s not going to take people off welfare or food stamps.”

I’ll go out on a limb and assume Johnson would also agree that a memorial-free country will do nothing to solve the problem of fatherlessness, failing school systems, and embarrassingly high rates of violent crime.

“Frankly, black people don’t give a damn,” Johnson continued. “It absolutely means nothing.”


And as inappropriate as they might be, it has always been laughable to suggest that minorities become emotionally crippled at the sight of certain cultural tributes. But that hasn’t stopped disingenuous Democrats from acting as if the n-word is blared from Confederate statues every time a dark-skinned individual walks past them.

Like some sort of squeeze toy. Like some sort of last laugh orchestrated by John Calhoun.

This type of scandalous race-hustle is currently occurring in Rhode Island in the form of a controversy involving the removal of the word “plantations” from the State’s official name: The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Despite their own acknowledgement that the state’s full name is widely unknown and rarely utilized, two Providence Democrats sponsoring the proposal publicly insist that the word “plantations” is still somehow “hurtful” to black Americans.

No. It isn’t. Because nobody ever says it.

If Senator Harold Metts and Rep. Joseph Almeida were truly concerned with black people experiencing emotional trauma, they would simply stop raising the issue.

Ransacking monuments and historic vocabulary is a sinister leftist antic. It aims to infantilize minorities by instructing them to obsess over race and embrace a crippling sense of victimhood. Its nefarious purpose is to pit Americans against one another, creating for leftist politicians the opportunity to portray any resistance as evidence of lingering white supremacy — and then convince blacks that politicians like Almeida and Metts are still fighting on their behalf.

This is what Chairman of the National Black Republican Association Frances Rice was driving at when he once explained exactly how Democrats have managed to “[run] our inner-cities [for decades],” failed miserably to improve living conditions, but are still somehow able to “incite blacks to cast a protest vote against Republicans [every election cycle].”

The Radical Ethic

“The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution,” as one member of the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) once proclaimed before that 1960s organization morphed into the domestic terrorist outfit known as the Weather Underground.

The modern Democratic Party now lives out this radical instruction, politicizing everything from hot summers to hurricanes — to lifeless stone. And people are correct to suspect that America’s current conflagration has nothing to do with offensive imagery.

Black Lives Matter, a radical anti-Christian organization that aims to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure,” boasts a co-founder named Patrisse Cullors, who admits to “[having] an ideological frame. Myself and [BLM co-founder Alicia Garza] in particular are trained organizers. We are trained Marxists.”

Cullors just happens to be an activist protégé of Eric Mann, a former 1960s radical and member of SDS.

The anti-liberty agenda undergirding the smashing of statues has not been difficult to decode. Once monuments of abolitionists, Abraham Lincoln, Catholic saints, and slaves themselves began to tumble — and once the American, not Confederate, flag began to burn at BLM rallies — we could confirm with certainty that the culprits are the same revolutionary agitators who have become so adept at meshing with American liberals and that we are witnessing the frightening culmination of what has been happening inside our educational institutions for decades. That is, millions of American citizens taught to interpret everything through a narrow racial lens, embrace Western shame, sympathize with fraudulent radicals, and replace thought with intimidation and political theater.

It has already been 33 years since Jesse Jackson and 500 other protesters marched on Stanford University to declare, “Hey, Hey! Ho, Ho! Western Civ has got to go!” Just last week, John Jay College Professor of Criminal Justice Erin Thompson instructed today’s monument topplers to “use chain instead of rope and it’ll go faster.”

The academy is probably lost forever.

We have now had several decades to decrypt the neo-Marxist sleight of hand and the Left’s manipulation of minority communities — the simple substitution of racial identity in place of economic class, and the slip from racist policing to motions of anti-capitalism.

One only needs to follow the Twitter handle @ProudSocialist to witness the celebration of BLM’s “movement to end the era of police brutality and white supremacist capitalism and begin the era of racial and economic justice in America.”

See what the “Proud Socialist” did there? You’ll always find “economic justice” one step behind “racial justice” because, after all, according to progressives, “race and class are connected.”

One CHOP activist recently challenged a crowd of fellow Seattle occupiers to “give ten dollars to one African-American person from this autonomous zone.” Suspecting that some might find this “difficult” to do, he found it crucial to explain what the BLM movement is truly all about:  “If you find this hard for you to give ten dollars to people of color, to black people especially … in the future are you gonna actually give up power and land and capital when you have it?”

Or, more simplified, as black Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D) demanded last week from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives:  “Pay us what you owe us!”

The toppling of statues won’t complete the neo-communist objectives, the radical restructuring of American life. But it’s not without purpose. And this is only the beginning.


Travis Rowley is a former Tea Party / Republican activist and GoLocalProv MINDSETTER.

  • Lou

    Translation: “you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.”

  • Rhett Hardwick

    There is a Confederate statue at my Alma Mater which I think I can guarantee will not be coming down. “Virginia Mourning Her Dead”. Cadets are buried at her feet.

  • Joe Smith

    Rhett – there is also a statue at my alma mater – of a person who has statues elsewhere too. I’m no progressive, not even a Democrat, but I have always found it offensive that a person who took the oath to defend the constitution of the United States broke that to take up arms against the country.

    I find it offensive that something like 9 or 10 military bases are named after Confederate generals – traitors if we are being honest (and most not even noteworthy military leaders either). Geez, would we expect England to put statues of George Washington or Nathaniel Greene?

    Oh we can read how some of these men “agonized” over the decision – or some who jumped right into Ku Klux Klan membership after the war – or it was about “state’s rights’ (really, the CSA constitution hardly read like it was founded in state’s rights). But make no mistake, these men were traitors.

    We keep I think Benedict Arnold’s boot memorial up (and even then the name is removed I believe).

    Whether it offends certain people or causes “triggering” is one thing – but surely we can agree we shouldn’t memorialize traitors?

    • Rhett Hardwick

      In order to think about this properly, it is necessary to reset yourself to the thinking before the Civil War (look up definition, a terrible misnomer) when we were still a “Republic”. People’s “homes” were their states. I think Shelby Foote put it succinctly by saying before the war the common expression was “these United States”, following the war federalism was greatly expanded and it became “the United States”. As to the despicable practice of slavery, you will be hard pressed to find a Northern memorial that refers to anything but “the war to preserve the union”. Ending slavery was not the purpose.

      • Joe Smith

        Article 3, Section 3

        Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.

        Slavery or the ending (or preservation) of it was not the point. These men who have statues and federal bases named for them clearly violated the Constitution,

        I suppose you could argue that citizenship was still vaguely defined and that the states, not their individual inhabitants, seceded and thus “levied war.” Of you could argue Johnson’s parting middle finger pardon absolved them (at least legally).

        However, Army regulations (at least when it comes to naming bases) says such honor is for people who serve as an example for current soldiers to “emulate” – taking up arms against a country you swore an oath to defend strikes me as an unworthy example.

        • Rhett Hardwick

          I have a tough time acceding to the idea that withdrawing from the penumbra of the constitution is violating it. There was not then, nor is there now, any provision of the Constitution preventing secession. You can argue Articles of Confederation, but how does that apply to states which did not then exist. California and Texas still consider secession, no one yells “treason”.
          Still, it was the great failure of American politics.

          • Joe Smith

            A trial of Jefferson Davis or R.E. Lee would have been interesting, but Grant and Chief Justice Chase didn’t want that and then Johnson removed the possibility.

            I think it’s shaky (at least looking at some of Lee’s writing) that he considered the CSA has an independent *foreign* entity and thus the Constitution did not apply to Confederates. There was never a declaration of war nor was there a peace treaty to end hostilities.

            Regardless, Lee surely knew the basis of the CSA was Stephen’s Cornerstone address and the fundamental tenet of racial superiority as the soul of the cause for which he took up arms.

            That thinking, even with the Army’s lame attempt in 2015 to justify the naming of bases for CSA officers, seems hardly something soldiers should seek to emulate.

          • Rhett Hardwick

            “There was never a declaration of war nor was there a peace treaty to end hostilities.” Perhaps not a formal declaration but Lincoln’s call for volunteers to invade the South would be hard to take any other way. I am sure all recall that Lee was offered command of the forces to invade the South, before he decided to serve the Confederacy. Whatever Lee may have thought, the South declared independence, drafted a constitution and elected members of government. As to recognizing the Constitution, did Americans recognize the British monarch after the Declaration of Independence? Since there were a number of “issues” besides slavery, not in the least economics and sectionalism. You are ignoring what historians call “The Great Compromise”. Southerners agreed it was for the best that the Union survived, Northerners agreed that Southerners had fought bravely for what they believed. That has served us well.

          • Joe Smith

            It can be argued that on the whole, mercy was shown to the CSA leadership like Walt Whitman said that “this has been paralleled nowhere in the world – in any other country on the globe the whole batch of the Confederate leaders would have had their heads cut off.” (With Walt Whitman in Camden, 544)

            I think there is some mythology about some CSA leaders like Lee being great “conciliators” – perhaps publicly out of fear or prosecution as their private feelings were certainly different (see many quotes from Lee’s private letters).

            The economics sure – almost half the population was slaves and even for non-slave owners, agricultural and slave-associated economic activity accounted for a significant portion of white southerners’ income.

            Even to the point reintegration served the union well- and essentially the Hayes-Tilden election and the subsequent “compromise” that put Hayes in held a de facto status quo in terms of white southern control at the state level for almost 100 years – I remain steadfast that retaining
            the names of bases for and statues representing those CSA leaders are wrong.

      • D. S. Crockett

        Regarding federalism, all we need to know is Rhody contributes only $1.5-billion from its tax base out of its $11.5-billion budget. Want to know why the States have become servants of the federal government now we all know? Money corrupts absolutely.

  • bagida’wewinini

    I don’t know about your marxists under every bed , but I think reparations make sense.

    • Rhett Hardwick

      Why is there no talk of reparations for the families of the hundreds of thousands of soldiers that died to set them free?

      • bagida’wewinini

        Read the article I posted. The only people that received compensation after the war were wealthy former slaveholders who were paid for their lost property, that being the human beings who had been enslaved

        • Rhett Hardwick

          No, we recovered for a couple of horses taken by Sherman’s “bummers”. It was critical to have black testimony of your Union sympathies. That could be purchased. Like everything in Reconstruction, it was incredibly corrupt. Suppression of Blacks wasn’t the only thing to give rise to the KKK. Terrorizing corrupt carpetbaggers had a lot to do with it. I have never heard of recovery for lost slaves. Since the adoption of their 1619 project, I put little faith in the NYT.