Take it from a historian. We don't owe anything to Confederate monuments | Timothy Snyder

Trump spends so much time defending statues not because he cares about history, but precisely because he doesn’t

If you approach me to ask me a question, and I hit you with a baton and spray teargas in your face, I have committed a crime. If you are walking down the street and I forcibly pull you into a van, I have committed a crime. These are now the routine actions of employees of the federal government directed against American citizens. “Rapid deployment teams” of federal employees, now in Portland and soon in other American cities, are committing crimes on the basis of a theory which holds that Americans are due no legal protection.

Why? Because a statue might be endangered. For Donald Trump, the concept of human rights has been replaced by the concept of the protection of sacred objects. The president of the United States has declared that the entities that enjoy rights are not people but monuments (all of them, apparently). When federal officials speak now of “violence” or threats to “homeland security”, they do not mean racism or the pandemic but graffiti. Humans figure as potential violators of the moral order created by things. We are to be surveilled because we might be thinking of damaging a statue and arrested or beaten because we are in a place where there is a statue.

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