This is a quick note to New York City mayor Bill DeBlasio and everyone else: don’t tear down any statues of Christopher Columbus. Ditto for George Washington, the Puritans, George Custer, or anyone else you can think of who might be problematic. Just don’t.
At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious, this stuff plays into the hands of the Trumpies. The whole “Who’s next?” meme is an almost childishly transparent attempt to distract attention from Confederate statues; build support among moderates; and sow division among liberals. Don’t play the game. The answer to every question about statues is: I don’t know. Let’s tear down the memorials to Confederates who fought a war in defense of slavery, and then we can decide later if we ought to do anything more. OK?
That’s it. Easy peasy. We have a moment right now when we might be able to get some low-hanging fruit and make a difference. Let’s not screw it up by thinking it’s also a chance to redress every historical offense that Howard Zinn ever taught us.