Today Confederates, Tomorrow Gold Rush Pioneers -- Monument Erasures

by Placerville Newswire / Sep 10, 2017 / comments

[Dan Dellinger]

    Since the days of the Egyptian Pharos, totalitarian regimes have used the chiseling away of historical monuments, like the burning of books, to re-write history for the purpose of controlling public thought.  For example, most of us recall seeing news video of the Taliban blowing up the thousand year-old world heritage site Mount Rushmore style carvings of non-Islamic religious leaders in Afghanistan. Today in America, members of the increasingly militant movement to progressively transform our country into what they believe will be a more just society based upon the economic theories of Karl Marx, are seeking to convince Americans that our current political and economic system is deeply flawed and must be rebuilt into their vision of a socialist workers paradise.  Using historical erasure and revision, our Progressive neighbors are trying to create the perception that the greatest threat to liberty in America is racism and only restricting speech and thought can eliminate it – that is, agree with us or be labeled a racist – so you too should agree that Confederate monuments promote slavery and must go.

    Consider our PC neighbors argument, that Confederate monuments should be removed because they no longer reflect a government policy they approve of. Most folks delving into American history know that the War Between the States, or American Civil War, was fought over a complex set of social and economic issues – not just slavery.  For example, Northern industrialists in the developing New England states sought prohibitively high tariffs on machine goods to force southern consumers to buy more expensive goods from their factories instead of English plants producing higher quality less costly goods. So then based upon the PC argument that monuments should only be allowed to remain if they reflect policy popular today, one might ask that because most Americans today now prefer to buy cheaper foreign goods over more expensive domestic products, should we not be erecting more Confederate monuments and removing Federal monuments instead? 

    Unfortunately, our PC neighbors are not limiting their historical erasure efforts to Confederate monuments. For over twenty years our Gold Rush era pioneer monuments have also been a target of Progressive Correctness.  Back in 1995, while working for Senator Dick Montieth, I staffed a resolution to allow a group of Latter Day Saints who were descendants of the famous Mormon Battalion to erect a roadside monument along Highway 49 to commemorate the founding of the Mariposa County gold mining community of Tuttletown by their pioneer forefathers during the Gold Rush. I carefully drafted the resolution with respect to cultural sensibilities surrounding the Mexican-American War and had the language reviewed by Senator Richard Polanco’s office, then the chairman of the Senate Hispanic Caucus.  The resolution passed through the Senate Transportation Committee, Senate Floor, and Assembly Transportation Committee unanimously. Things were different on the Assembly floor where a small group of progressive Democrats tried to stop the resolution because they believed such a monument would glorify war, endorse mining, and promote religion – three things unpopular with progressives. After a lengthy floor fight, the resolution passed with all 41 Republican votes and over half of the Democrat votes. In 1996 the monument was erected along Highway 49 near the site of Tuttletown.  

   Since erased Confederate and Gold Rush Pioneer monuments will be permanently lost to all future generations, should we not be civilly debating the public policy question - do later generations have the moral right to limit monuments to what is popular during their time on earth? – rather than acting in haste to appease a vocal minority?  

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Dan Dellinger is a government relations and political consultant based in El Dorado County who can be reached at dandellinger@infostation.com