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What prompts the making of a statue? Before the advent of photography, any memorialization of a person had to appear in stone or on canvas. One may argue that verbal tributes also endure, but they lack the immediacy of direct perception; they also require literacy and, to some extent, a capacity for mental reflection. A statue or a painting is available to all who have eyes to see.
But seeing a statue is not the same as revering, or even recognizing, the figure it represents. In an age of profound historical ignorance, such as that which has been produced by modern public education, it may be doubted that the majority of the citizenry are familiar with the faces and forms of once notable men and women. It is more likely that the image of a current movie star would be easier for most to name than, say, that of Robert E. Lee or Thomas Jefferson. So who, precisely, is outraged by these statues that are now being torn down, vandalized or covered up, as though they were an affront to decency?
It is certainly not the man in the street who is outraged by the stone images of confederate generals or 18th century slave owners who have stood on their pedestals, unmolested, for generations. There is no popular clamor for the removal of the statues of Christopher Columbus, now more a figure of myth than history. Yet, if one credits the media, the nation would appear to be convulsed in an iconoclastic fury of righteousness.
The toppling of statues or the demand for their removal is obviously coming from individuals or small groups with no broad-based constituency. The public is not involved and, most probably, not terribly interested. It is a media-driven, politically engineered campaign to discredit all that came before us in time. The revision of history is typical of every revolution, for the destruction of the old order must be justified by its condemnation.
We always tend to vilify the person we injure in order to absolve ourselves of guilt. Cruelty is justified by defaming its victims. In our age, with the tools of mass communication, a person can be defamed overnight by a concerted effort of the news media. The ignorance of their audiences allows the media to present any narrative they choose as though it were history, and the use of invective — racist, bigot, white supremacist, alt-right — disposes of any informed objectors.
The media's propaganda is growing more extreme and relentless and utterly reckless. This, we may take it, is a sign of desperation, for the Left and its "news" outlets are no longer confident they can entirely control the narrative. There are two obvious causes for this loss of hegemony: general indifference and Donald Trump.
Most people nowadays, especially the young, want to be entertained, not informed or enlisted in a cause. And to the extent that the general public pays attention to "news", it does so with some skepticism and more than a little ennui. The existence of cable television and internet news sites has also loosened the hold of what are now called "legacy media". No national avuncular figure, such as Walter Cronkite, now appears on TV screens at dinnertime to tell the nation what it should think and feel and pay attention to.
And there is Donald Trump. For the first time in modern political history, we have a president who got elected by insulting the media, rather than courting their approval. That a huge block of people were sick of being insulted and intimidated by Leftists and their media propagandists was made obvious by the delight many took in Trump's denunciation of "fake news". It was a breath of fresh air in the stuffy room of political correctness. It felt like the dawn of freedom after a long night of incarceration.
The media has used, and continue to use, every weapon they can wield to destroy the man who has knocked them off their perch. The daily hysteria to end the Trump presidency by any means has produced some outrageous behavior by news anchors and reporters, along with the politicians and celebrities with whom they are allied. But Trump remains unfazed, much to their astonishment and deep frustration.
The media, and the Left whom they serve, rely largely on the ad hominem attack: discredit the man to avoid rational discussion of his position. This usually means deploying the "R" word. If the media label a person a racist, or suggest he might have sympathies with someone whom they have labeled a racist, that person no longer need be taken seriously in any respect. But this tactic, ever so reliable for so many years, has not worked with Trump.
So now, the media has taken to discrediting the voters who elected Trump. Who are these voters? They are, we are told, the white working class. These are the people Obama dismissed as bigots "clinging to their guns and their religion." They are, according to the media, sympathizers with the Old South. They are supposedly nostalgic for the days when the white man's superiority to all people of color was unquestioned and legally protected by segregation and, at an earlier period, by slavery.
What symbols represent the Trump voter? Those of honored white men, particularly those of confederate generals, according to the media. The attack on monuments to Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson and to confederate soldiers in general is an attack on the Trump voter. This is the media's vendetta. But where will it end? It would seem that in its zeal to deny Trump's presidency its legitimacy, the Left and its media must now destroy the legitimacy of the nation itself. Jefferson and Washington and all the founders who either owned slaves or failed to abolish slavery in our Constitution are now to be dishonored and their accomplishments discredited.
In fact, anyone in history who can be associated with any form of injustice or oppression of a minority must now be vilified and any honors accorded to them rescinded. So we have arrived at the defacing of Christopher Columbus' statue in Baltimore on the alleged grounds that Columbus was responsible for the genocide of Native Americans. The factual accuracy of the claim is irrelevant. It's been made and that, in the media world, is sufficient if it serves their overall purposes.
We have now something like a revolutionary desire on the part of the Left to reset the calendar: destroy Trump as the representative and culmination of white racism and declare the Year One. Tear down the statues, rip up the Constitution, repress free speech, confiscate the property of the white middle class, redistribute wealth to the oppressed people of color and destroy anyone who gets in the way of "social justice." This appears to be the program in its ideal form. In practical terms, the Left will work for whatever portion of its program is realizable, using the apparatus of the state that they control.
And where do the Catholic bishops stand at this crucial moment? Squarely on the side of the Left. Following the Pope's lead, the U.S. bishops have largely denounced Trump and some have even called for resistance to his policies as a Christian duty. The call for a border wall they consider a violation of charity, as is any curb on Muslim immigration.
In an incredibly tone-deaf pronouncement, Pope Francis said that security concerns must be subordinated to the needs of immigrants. He said this in the wake of Islamic attacks in Barcelona in which many people, including a 7-year-old child, were butchered. The attack was partially thwarted, as it was supposed to culminate in the destruction of the city's famous Sacred Family cathedral, one of the last great architectural works of Christendom. Had it succeeded, the Pope could have stood among the rubble and torn flesh, satisfied that the authorities had not put the safety of its citizens ahead of the duty to welcome the stranger, no matter what his intentions. As it is, his pronouncement came as caskets were being filled with the victims who did not escape the bloody terror that was carried out.
It is difficult to imagine how the insanity of our leaders will play out for us in our ordinary lives. Our protection and the integrity of our society obviously matters little to the Left and its media mouthpieces. It matters little to the Pope and the bishops who promote his political positions and doctrinal deviances. What recourse do we have?
When the statues have been toppled and our forefathers dishonored, when our creed and dogma has been distorted and discredited, when the truth in any form has been banned from the public square, where will we turn?
Our Lady of Fatima said that only She can help us now, in this epoch of our history. As the darkness grows around us, amid the mounting rubble of a civilization that once was and is no longer, we have one light, one hope, one beacon of love. Why do we delay in accepting the only help that we have?
Our Lady told us that we would have world peace, and a solution to the myriad problems that confront us, if the Pope and the bishops of the Catholic Church consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart. Such a generous promise! So much offered for doing so simple a thing! Why do our Church leaders not obey Our Lady NOW, without delay? We must demand this, we must pray for this, we must sanctify our lives to help bring it about.