The statue, created as a historical representation of the man and erected to honor his contributions to our knowledge of natural history, may be offensive to a few, but by what imperative are their feelings to be considered superior to the broader citizenry's right to not see public property harmed, defaced or splattered with paint -- or some facsimile thereof?
Vandalism, contrary to the group's claim that they're performing "public art," is the artless tantrum of a childish, self-absorbed mind. Defeating a block of stone or bronze hardly requires courage or, obviously, intellect.
Why not come up with something, I don't know, classier?
Make an argument. Present facts. Bring passion but keep a cool head. One could argue, for example, that the protests against Confederate statues are substantively different from the objections to Roosevelt's monument. Given that most Civil War statues in the South were erected during the civil rights movement, inarguably, they memorialize not Southern courage but Jim Crow, a cowardly, despicable period of state-sponsored terrorism against blacks who had the audacity to insist upon equality under the law.
There. Put that on your plaque, if you care so much about history.
Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, who hated the idea of memorials to the war, would likely be happy for his statues to settle in a statuary hall. As for Roosevelt, one only wishes the swashbuckling warrior-president could dismount for a few minutes and teach his vandals some manners. I'm guessing, but I suspect his two companions would lend him a hand.
Kathleen Parker's email address is email@example.com.
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