Washington Monumental Disrespect

The Washington Monument, the skyscraping obelisk in remembrance of our first president, was found splattered with red paint and a profane message just days ago.

Defacing our nation’s monuments has become a trend in recent years. People suddenly decide the individual or idea the monument stands for does not deserve the honor of a memorial and set out to destroy it. The most recent occurrence of this was the defacing of the Washington Monument. 

According to The New York Times, red paint was splattered onto the monument by a man who is anti-government, and he wrote crude statements about the government with the paint. Workers will have to clean for several days in order to restore the famous monument to its original state. 

Standing in the heart of Washington, D.C., the monument is also a well-known symbol of our nation and what it took to secure our freedom here.

According to The Art Newspaper, a primary catalyst in the recent surge of the defacing of monuments was the death of George Floyd in 2020. The website reports that in Alabama, the National Guard was called to protect local Confederate monuments. However, those actions led to others taking it upon themselves to remove national statues that honored people they believed were racist and oppressive.

Statues of Confederate soldiers, Christopher Columbus, former Vice President John C. Calhoun and many others were vandalized or removed during the resulting protests, according to The Atlantic. While some of these men may have stood for the wrong things during their lives, their statues stood as a lesson to be learned. They lived in a different time period, and it is important that we learn from their accomplishments as well as their mistakes and strive to be better in the ways they failed.

Instead of taking up their complaints with local governments and requesting a statue to be removed, many people took it to the extreme. According to BBC News, some leaders agreed to remove the statues in a safe manner while leaders in other cities sought to educate people on why the statues were there.   

The Maltz Museum suggests the idea that it is important to surface the issues a
controversial statue brings up and not attempt to hide them. The museum discusses giving context to the statues and allowing the statue to start conversations. This approach does not deny a historical figure’s positive qualities, but it provides a catalyst to understand their negative qualities.

Many of these people who have statues in their honor did amazing things for the building of our nation. They paved the way for Americans to have freedom and the choices we have today. No one is perfect, and while we should not necessarily idolize them, we should honor what they did for us and learn from their mistakes. 

Carter is an opinion writer

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