On June 24, 2022, Mr. William J. Martin, Director of the Valentine Museum in Richmond, gave notice that the damaged, desecrated, and vandalized statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis – on loan from the Black History & Cultural Center of Virginia – would be displayed by the museum within its core exhibit. The purpose stated by the Valentine is for “building a better understanding of Richmond’s history.” However, this tells us less about Richmond history and more about Richmond today – and what it shows us of Richmond today is not pretty.
Vandalism says “How dare you be above me!” In the summer of 2020 amidst the rioting, looting, and arson during the “mostly peaceful protests” over George Floyd’s death in the custody of the Minneapolis police, young residents from VCU and elsewhere downtown in the city of Richmond went on a furious orgy of vandalism and destruction of the Confederate monuments for “daring to be above them.,” while the complicit city and state governments stood idly by. As Tennyson wrote in his Idylls of the King:
Yea, they would pare the mountain to the plain
To leave an equal baseness…
Only unequal societies have heroes. Egalitarian societies do not have heroes – and cannot, by their very definition. They can only have celebrities, and to try to elevate a celebrity into a hero amounts to no more than elevating a pygmy to the top of Mt. Olympus. As everyone knows, the Confederacy was an unequal society, and it had its heroes. In the brief four years of her war-torn existence, struggling against all odds for her independence, her heroes were of a legendary mold. But in these Latter-days, their monuments came to stand as an indictment against the glorification of the mediocrity of this age, and a rebuke against the great force of Entropy that is inexorably leveling society into its lowest common denominator, so they had to come down to appease the self-righteous, egalitarian indignation of the unwashed Woke mobs.
The Valentine Museum plans to use the display to bring together “many different perspectives to build a future we can all be proud of.” “All,” that is, except those of us whose forefathers fought to defend Richmond and Virginia against invasion, conquest, and coerced political allegiance to an arrogant imperialism – just as their fathers had done in 1776. We are the unreconstructed “deplorables” who will not be gaslighted by presentism, and who see clearly the truth of what George Orwell wrote in his dystopian but prophetic novel 1984: “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”