If you were to ask the man on the street what connection 20th century author George Orwell, 21st century Boston Red Sox World Series hero Curt Schilling and 19th century Kentucky U.S. senator and Confederate States President Jefferson Davis have in common, you would likely be met with a blank stare. Orwell’s protagonist, Winston Smith, in his dystopian work “1984,” spent his days at the “memory hole” where he was employed erasing historical evidence of people and events that did not agree with whatever the day’s official narrative happened to be. He literally erased recorded history. People could still remember it, but evidence of it was destroyed day by day in exchange for the new history.
The same occurred at ESPN recently when it was revealed that Schilling, hero of the 2004 World Series, had been edited out of the documentary on that championship. The fact that Schilling was the most notable player in the entire series, having played through an injury in the “bloody sock game,” is of no consequence to Big Brother cultural Marxists. Schilling recently was fired by ESPN because of his opposition to sexually confused men joining his wife and daughters in public toilets, locker rooms, showers and dressing rooms, which is the liberal cause of the moment. The network could not allow someone with a different opinion to remain employed there. ESPN is a private company and can hire and fire whomever it pleases. But the network went one step further and erased Schilling from the historical accounts of the World Series in which he was the star. A notable person, from a historical account of a factual event, was literally erased by liberals.
Such is life in 2016 in leftist-occupied Orwellian America.
A pair of recent news items caught my attention as examples of the destruction and replacement of American culture. Like two trains approaching one another from different directions, the impact when they collide will be far greater than the impact either of them would generate on their own.
In Louisville, Kentucky, there is a monument to Confederate war dead that has stood silently since 1895. It was paid for with private funds raised by their widows, children and other family members. A simple obelisk with a mournful inscription and a statue of Jefferson Davis has remained without issue for 121 years – half of the existence of the United States itself – in a picturesque grassy median of a roadway near the university. Recently, however, the mayor of Louisville and the president of the university jointly announced that the monument would be torn down. Over protests, they explained that it did not reflect the current sentiments of the people of Louisville or the university. History is being erased.
By contrast, in Cleveland, Ohio, the city was set to demolish a gazebo near the place where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed when he pointed a pellet gun at police responding to 911 calls of a man brandishing a gun in the park. The taxpayer-funded Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of African American History initially requested that the gazebo be preserved and moved to Washington for display along with other items such as the black “hoodie” sweatshirt Trayvon Martin wore when he was shot and killed while beating a man’s head into the pavement. The museum claimed these as important items in the history of black Americans’ struggle against racism and injustice. A new historical narrative is created. A curator at the museum now says it simply wants to help Black Lives Matter preserve the gazebo, as opposed to displaying it at the Smithsonian, blaming poor communication for the initial report.
We have culturally transformed from a nation that celebrates our achievements, notes our history and strives for improvement to one that perpetually wallows in guilt, accusations and shame. We have become a nation that confers its highest status on whoever claims to be the greatest victim and seeks to erase history that might be objectionable to the narrative of the left.
In this way the United States seems to be following South Africa, which has collapsed into an orgy of violence, devastated infrastructure and economic chaos since 1994. Blacks there have demanded the removal of monuments, statues and other historical items, claiming to be offended by the long-dead founders of the nation they now control. In Cape Town, at the university founded with money and land donated by Cecil Rhodes, students demanded the statue commemorating his contributions be removed. To express their outrage, students began what they called a “poo protest” whereby they threw their feces at the statue.
In Memphis, Tennessee, Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest donated land to the city to be used as a public park. The park was named for him, and the general and his wife were laid to rest there under a statue commemorating his achievements and contributions. In 2013, the name Forrest Park was stricken at the demand of leftists. By 2015, members of the city government were emboldened to order the monument torn down and the bodies of Gen. and Mrs. Forrest exhumed to be given to “anyone who wants it.” When state and federal laws were invoked due to the monument’s status on the National Register of Historic Places and because it was a burial place of human remains, the plan had to be put on hold. But, like the students in Cape Town who would neither wait for the deliberative process nor engage in rational discourse, local ministers led their congregations to the park and began digging, encouraging congregants to take one shovel full of soil each in an effort to collectively dig up the bodies while individually avoiding responsibility.
America and the West have devolved into a place where the most offended leftist in any discussion sets the baseline for what is expected, and disagreement is labeled with the latest slur. There is no place for reflection, disagreement or rational discussion, much less accepting circumstances or a reality we might find personally distasteful.
The United States is in the grip of a leftist mania to re-write or erase history, people and events liberals find personally offensive. The challenge is how to continue to improve the human condition and evolve as civilized people, when the past is re-written or erased on a daily basis.
Most damaging of all, however, is the transformation of what constitutes achievement or accomplishment. We have flipped from a culture that values success, overcoming challenges and advancing humankind to one that values and promotes victim status above all else.