Silent Sam, George H.W. Bush, and Ross Douthat's WASPs: Nostalgia for a Time That Never Was

I'm so fucking weary of assholes talking about how great the past was.

I get the human instinct to make the past suit one's present. It's one of the amazing ways that we delude ourselves, and some are more deluded than others. For instance, if you're someone who fancies himself an amazing lover, you might be willing to admit, "Yeah, I was pretty goddamn rotten those first few years. Major apologies to all those who put up with me." Or you've just put on hazy goggles that allow you to willfully ignore the truth and you can say, "Oh, man, every dude I ever fucked practically hemorrhaged from cumming. And the chicks? Their heads almost popped off their necks when I gave them screaming orgasms." Sure, pal. Sure. Why don't we ask those dudes and chicks what they think?

The past was never The Past.

Last night, on her Fox "news" show The Ingrown Toenail, Laura Ingraham raged against the college students who are protesting the vote to restore a Confederate soldier statue at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. It's nicknamed "Silent Sam," which sounds like Slenderman's sidekick, and it was knocked down by students in August of this year. The UNC board of trustees voted to spend $5 million for a new building that would house the statue, and, yes, students marched peacefully to protest.

Ingraham was having none of those fuckin' students acting all uppity: "There is a movement, particularly among the young, to hate the past and eradicate anything they find objectionable or troubling." She compared those who toppled Sam to the ISIS terrorists who destroyed ancient ruins at Palmyra. No shit. She really did that.

Then she continued, "No matter what one thinks of the Civil War or those who supported the Confederacy, it happened. And we owe it to the future to leave history undisturbed." She suggested that perhaps a statue commemorating slaves adjacent to Sam could be erected. And she concluded, "But to destroy, instead of engage, to defy the law instead of respect it, is no way to honor the past or the future."

A couple of things deserve comment in this. First, a statue is not history. Indeed, it's denying history to leave the statue of a Confederate soldier fucking standing. Yeah, 1000 UNC students fought for the Confederacy, but that means they were traitors to the United States and fought to keep other people as slaves. It'd be like erecting a statue to Thanos for his population control efforts. And this didn't spring out of the blue. There have been 50 years of protests against Silent Sam.

The movement isn't to "eradicate" what's "objectionable," despite the slavering lap dog words that Ingraham yips. The movement is to be honest about history and about not honoring the goddamn enemy. I've said it a million fuckin' times: If your family fought for the South in the Civil War, they were either suckers fighting for the rich plantation owners or true believers in the slavery-based economy, and that means your ancestors are assholes who don't deserve monuments. They deserve scorn and degradation. Any other way to see it is utter bullshit.

Over on the editorial page of the New York Times (motto: "Every shithole town of Trump voters is more important than the big cities that voted against him"), resident conservative Ross Hat of Douche, wallowing in the oil pool of panegyrics for dead President George Bush, explains, "Why We Miss the WASPs." For the young 'uns, those are "white Anglo-Saxon Protestants," or, you know, pasty-ass white people.

"Americans miss Bush because we miss the WASPs — because we feel, at some level, that their more meritocratic and diverse and secular successors rule us neither as wisely nor as well," Douthat tells us. Yes, we need to recognize that once our betters led us and, boy, howdy, they were just so much better: "[S]omehow the combination of pious obligation joined to cosmopolitanism gave the old establishment a distinctive competence and effectiveness in statesmanship."

He goes on to talk about how now we've failed in replacing this ruling class because "almost all the discussion of our meritocracy’s vices assumes the system’s basic post-WASP premises, and hopes that either more inclusion (the pro-diversity left’s fixation) or a greater emphasis on academic merit (the anti-affirmative right’s hobbyhorse) will cure our establishment’s all-too-apparent ills." Good god, why can't we go back to those oh-so-noble leaders, the notion that they were great simply because they told us they were great.

Put aside the cowardly racism here. Forget asking, "Who the fuck is this 'we' you're jacking off about?" Instead, focus on the idea that Douthat actually believes this masturbatory fantasy of dominance is true. So then who fucked that up? Who fucked it all up? It was the Republican WASPs who did because after the election of Bill Clinton, that country bumpkin who smoked weed and fucked, they lost their goddamn narrow minds and set out to destroy him, destroy the presidency, and destroy the nation, if they had to, to demonstrate their superiority. They did it before with Jimmy Carter. And that's how you get the inbred Bush, Jr. in there next to fuck things even more royally in order to make the ruling class's dreams of wanton war and financial excess possible. And that's why Barack Obama had to be wrecked.

When they hell was the ruling class filled with "pious obligation" to anything but greed? And how the fuck is this ruling class out of power? They seem pretty much to still control almost everything. Is it because they have to acknowledge women and non-whites and LGBT people as being equal under the law? Inclusion is a problem only if you think exclusion is necessary to maintain power. But while you're mourning for the passing of a white male ruling class, I'm thinking about all those women and non-whites and LGBT people who were denied power for so very long and how much potential was lost because of it.

Right now, Bush 41 is being memorialized. He is being praised as being one of our greatest presidents, except he wasn't. A quick scan of his failures demonstrates that. By whitewashing our past (literally and figuratively), we aren't honoring anyone or anything. We are lying about the past. We are saying that we refuse to learn from our horrific mistakes.

(Note: By the way, the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill is filled with buildings named after slaveowners, white supremacists, and Confederate soldiers. One is named for a slave, and that was dedicated in 2002. You never escape the Confederacy on campus. Removing a statue won't change that.)

(Note 2: Yes, I know the law says they can't remove the statue. Laws can be challenged.)