The struggle to see the obvious is a struggle to defeat the odious. The struggle may require the lawful use of force, when no other means will do; when no other end is possible without first ending the illegal seizure of land and the destruction of private property. Absent these ends, we face the end of freedom of speech—and more—because the enemies of freedom never fail to manufacture new enemies.
The enemies of freedom can’t survive without their own base of manufacturing, in which today’s revolutionary is tomorrow’s reactionary. No one is, therefore, safe from expulsion. No idea is safe from exclusion. No icon is safe from eviction, be it from the public square or the pages of history.
The march of tyranny will not end in the streets of Richmond, Virginia, or on the grounds of the Appomattox Court House.
The march will rage in the North and in the South, the march will gather strength in the East and burn in the West; the march will extend across the sea.
The march threatens to tear apart the countryside and reach every mountainside. The march threatens to worsen injustice by assaulting Lady Justice, torching or vandalizing courthouses in Alabama, California, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, and Tennessee.
The march is a violation of the body politic, free of consent and inimical toward dissent. The march is the antithesis of democracy in America, as if those who desecrate graves and destroy public property have permission to do so; as if those who break the law respect the particulars of the law, like filing or receiving a permit to march or stage a rally; as if those who promise no peace without justice are peaceful in their petition for a redress of grievances.
The grievances are taller than all the statues in all the state capitals, the grievances are taller than all the statues in the nation’s capital, the grievances are taller than all the statues honoring freedom and liberty. The grievances grow taller still, marching like a pitiless giant through institutions of laws, language, culture, literature, history, and tradition.
The march will not stop—not until it meets the immovable objections of people who will not surrender their dignity to save their job security. Among these conscientious objectors are freedom-loving people of all races and of almost every point of view. Their objective is plain: to safeguard the icons of our civil religion from vandals and political obscurantists.
The objectors refuse to defame the dead by defacing likenesses of the dead. They refuse to erase monuments to Washington or memorials to Jefferson. They refuse to shatter busts of Lincoln or bronzes of Churchill.
This is where they stand; this is where they choose to stand, as fallen men—as sinners—who refuse to let the statues fall. They stand in defense of the best of the past, of that which is neither past nor dead. They stand in defense of freedom, liberty, justice, unity, fraternity, and faith. They stand in defense of the last best hope of earth. They stand as a star of hope.
If we fail to defend those who defend us, if we choose to watch but not speak, if we choose to speak but not act, if we choose to act after the fact, we will have nothing to defend. We will become scavengers, selling relics of a lost republic to collectors of ancient artifacts.
We must not fail.