The manufactured outrage over statues and memorials continues around America, and it is only getting dumber. As before, Christopher Columbus is the target of left-wing fury, but their proposed solution is so stupid, it will make doves cry.
A group of activists have started an online petition to remove a statue of Christopher Columbus from the Minnesota state capitol, claiming he “murdered, raped and enslaved Black and Native peoples in the Americas,” a charge that sounds like alternate-universe history.
Their idea for a replacement is not totally surprising, but it is totally ridiculous in its reasoning. Here’s the petition wording, which reveals their choice for a replacement statue.
Across the nation, city governments are choosing to remove statues of white supremacists, slave owners, and those who threatened the livelihood of Black people. Here in Minnesota, communities are reigniting the demand to bring down state’s monument to Christopher Columbus, a man who murdered, raped and enslaved Black and Native peoples in the Americas. We, the undersigned, do not believe that Columbus represents the values Minnesotans carry. Rather than glorify a man who wanted to extinguish Black and Native peoples, we should honor members of our community whose leadership we find inspirational.
We, the undersigned, up submit that the Governor Dayton and the Minnesota State Legislature replace the statue of Columbus with statues representative of Minnesota’s Black and Native communities.
You read that right – they want rock icon Prince – the little man with big talent – to replace Christopher Columbus on the capitol grounds. As a native of Minnesota, having a statue of oversexed rocker Prince erected (no pun intended) makes sense, given his place in popular music. Replacing Columbus, however, sounds like a bit much.
As part of their appeal, petition organizers state “Prince represents Minnesota values and Columbus does not.” Mind you, for all his good deeds and intentions, and despite his obvious talent, Prince was a drug addict who died of an overdose, and had a history of questionable behavior. It is a stretch to argue his values in total represent Minnesota.
Progressive activist Wintana Melekin started the petition Aug. 27. “Rather than glorify a man who wanted to extinguish black and native peoples, we should honor members of our community whose leadership we find inspirational,” she wrote.
Prince, the petition said, brought people together, unlike Columbus. Prince preached peace, love and understanding, and advocated social justice in many of his lyrics, but he wasn’t a governor or a political force in the traditional sense.
Don’t add the Capitol statue to the Prince tour itineraries just yet. The late icon may have set the rules at Paisley Park, but the process for changing the Capitol grounds is neither simple nor swift. The current renovation was decades in planning by the Capitol Area Architectural and Planning Board in coordination with governors and the Legislature. When monuments are involved, the board coordinates with the Minnesota Historical Society in design, planning and execution.
The board doesn’t consider erecting statues until a person has been dead for a decade, said Paul Mandell, its executive secretary. The other critical requirement is that the person be of statewide significance. Mandell didn’t rule out Prince eventually rising on the grounds, but said someone would have to drive the effort and raise the money before the board would consider the request.
The 10-foot tall bronze Columbus statue was a gift from the state’s Italian-American community. It was dedicated in October 1931 and restored in 1992. Mandell said the board has never had a request to remove a statue, although descriptive plaques have been edited at times.
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