Candidates beclowning themselves to get attention is nothing new. Neither is the overreaction of the left toward purging inconvenient history. The two combined yesterday, however, into a farce of crap that should disqualify Corey Stewart, a Republican candidate for Governor of Virginia, from ever holding office again.
While I oppose the historic revisionism and ignorance of the left when it comes to purging Robert E. Lee from history, Stewart has gone a step further and defended the indefensible. Stewart compared workers removing a monument in New Orleans to ISIS. What monument was it they were removing? The Liberty Monument. That monument should have been destroyed eons ago. The Liberty Monument was erected following the Battle of Liberty Place along Canal Street in New Orleans.
The Democratic Party of Louisiana in 1874 had a paramilitary unit that harassed blacks and pro-Union whites. When a biracial government got elected after the Civil War, the Louisiana Democratic Party launched its paramilitary unit into the heart of New Orleans to seize control. They eventually lost, but once Reconstruction ended, they poured back into government, drove out any and all blacks, and made sure whites who were sympathetic to the black community disappeared.
Those Democrats set up the Liberty Monument to remind people of an attempted violent overthrow of a democratically elected bi-racial government.
I think it is as ridiculous for New Orleans to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee as it is for LSU to refuse a statute of its first Chancellor, William T. Sherman. Lee was a model soldier and statesman who worked tirelessly for reunification after a noble surrender. He should be held up as the epitome of a gracious loser who set about uniting people.
But there can be no room to defend the Liberty Monument, which has continued to exist largely because of government inertia. It celebrated an illiberal moment in American history. That Corey Stewart would compare those who brought down the monument to ISIS cheapens what ISIS does and gets the history exactly backwards. But then Corey Stewart is in Virginia trying to get attention for his gubernatorial race. Sticking his nose in another state’s business to defend post-Civl War Democratic Party paramilitary units suggests he’s an idiot.
But for candidates like Stewart, any attention is good attention and there will always be a fringe willing to defend the indefensible if it gets their name in the paper.