Can Americans find no shared history or heroes to celebrate now?
On Friday, the Biden administration very quietly canceled the Garden of American Heroes project that President Donald Trump created via executive order on Jan. 18.
Trump first announced the project in a Fourth of July speech at Mount Rushmore.
Among other things, President Joe Biden’s executive order also rescinded Trump’s executive order to pursue harsher sentences for people who vandalize and destroy statues and monuments.
It was a small but symbolic act demonstrating what the Biden administration is really about. It’s in the same vein as Biden’s elimination of the 1776 Commission on his first day in office.
Mike Gonzalez, a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation who worked on the 1776 Commission, wrote of the immediate termination of the project at the time: “Is the baying from the woke left so furious that dissolving a commission named after our nation’s founding, and deleting a report calling for teaching objective history, makes the top of the list?”
It appears so. The Garden of American Heroes clearly had to go, too.
>>> The Daily Signal is the news and commentary platform of The Heritage Foundation.
Celebrating 1776, the creation of the United States, and American heroes are now out with Biden and the Democrats in his administration.
The media likes to constantly compare Biden to President Franklin Roosevelt. But Roosevelt, whatever his faults, supported the building of numerous major monuments in Washington, D.C., including the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.
That’s doubtful, especially given the long list of heroes that would have been placed in the garden. There really was something for everyone.
It had conservative thinker and long-time editor of National Review, William F. Buckley, and also the recently deceased Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a hero of the left.
It had Christopher Columbus, the famous explorer, and Sitting Bull, the famous Lakota chief.
There were singers, writers, politicians, activists, scientists, athletes, business leaders, and soldiers. It was a little bit of everything.
My colleague, Rachel del Guidice, covered the list of 244 figures who were set to be depicted in the Garden of Heroes when it was announced.
And here is why the Biden administration likely wasn’t too happy with it. It was to be created in part to counter the widespread destruction and vandalization of America’s monuments and history over last summer.
“The heroes of 1776 have been desecrated, with statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin vandalized and toppled,” Trump said in his executive order, which has been deleted from the White House website, adding: “The National Garden is America’s answer to this reckless attempt to erase our heroes, values, and entire way of life.”
“When the forces of anti-Americanism have sought to burn, tear down, and destroy, patriots have built, rebuilt, and lifted up,” Trump said. “That is our history. America responded to the razing of the White House by building it back in the same place with unbroken resolve, to the murders of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr., with a national temple and the Stone of Hope, and to the terrorism of 9/11 with a new Freedom Tower.”
This part likely triggered the Biden administration and its left-wing supporters.
Hence, the simultaneous repeal of the executive order to harshly punish those who vandalized monuments.
Building tributes to history is a rebuke to those who would lawlessly tear it down. And we can’t have any of that.
Still, the list of figures to be depicted was so diverse and extensive, it’s hard to see how even those on the left could really be adamantly opposed to it.
It reveals that those who wish to erase and rewrite American history aren’t really done with the aim at inclusivity.
It’s not just about telling a fuller story of American history or lifting up heroes who may not have received their due before because of prejudice or any other reason.
No, it’s about controlling the “narrative” and smashing those with whom they disagree.
While diversity, equity, and inclusion has become nearly a statement of faith for the modern woke left, its political aims aren’t really to bring people together or ensure that Americans of all backgrounds feel a unity of spirit under the flag and Constitution.
Instead, it’s about dividing and segregating the country, splitting Americans into two groups. On one side are the perpetually aggrieved and innocent and on the other are those who have been labeled the oppressors, the irredeemably damned on the wrong side of history as they define it.
So even a memorial that would have included great figures of all types is completely unacceptable. That it was a product of the Trump administration was even worse.
The evil American past must be eliminated and disappeared. Domestic enemies must be crushed.
This is remarkably destructive to the American way of life and our ability to work and live in a country we ultimately must share.
The left’s increasing inability to reconcile our past, present, and future has brought both fanaticism and paralysis to America’s most elite institutions.
They now perpetuate the idea that America has not only failed to reach its highest ideals and aspirations but is actually exceptionally terrible. And its terribleness can only be cured by some national racial “awokening” that supersedes all science, reason, truth, or fact.
Is there any wonder trust in American institutions is crumbling?
The elimination of the Garden of American Heroes is perhaps, in the grand scheme of things, a small, petty thing. However, it is indicative of a deeper problem in America and the Western world in general.
An aggressive, culturally militant left-wing creed has carved its way into mainstream politics and is making it impossible for Americans to maintain even a most basic shared identity.
The Biden administration is apparently willing help that process along.
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