I am in no way belittling the idea that black lives must matter as much as others but looking at what’s happening in society at the moment, I can’t help but feel that the world has gone totally bonkers.
I watched the statue of Colston in Bristol being dumped into the harbour. I’ve listened to the debate on whether to remove statues of Sir Francis Drake, I’ve seen the statue of Sir Winston Churchill boxed up for its own protection and I just wonder where people are going to stop? I’m not a religious person but certain Biblical phrases stick in my head from my enforced Church of England education. When I see all this disquiet going on, the phrase “Let He who is without sin cast the first stone”, keeps popping into my cranium.
I wonder how stainless are the backgrounds and characters of those chiseling away at plinths and daubing graffiti everywhere? For starters, the last time I looked, vandalism and destruction of public property were crimes, so there are a couple of stains to start off with. If these people want to replace the statues with casts and carvings of people who, in their minds, tick all the current required boxes, I would suggest that the list of black, disabled, gay, vegan heroes with a stainless past is a pretty limited one.
If someone erected a statue to Hitler then I could accept the argument to get it binned. Ditto for someone who made their fortune from slavery, even if they gave large chunks of cash back to society. However, if we got rid of all statues and memorials to people who had, at some point in their lives, looked upon another ethnic group or people of a different sexual persuasion in a less than flattering way, the world would be completely devoid of the bloody things. Nobody seems to appreciate that human beings are not perfect; they never have been and never will be. From accounts I’ve read, even Mother Theresa could be a bit of a cow sometimes and you only have to look into the eyes of a child with a terminal illness to feel that even God can be a total git. So if we really need to erect these pigeon toilets at all, of whom should they be?
Some say that we should remove statues and put them in museums in order to give them more context; so that people can learn from history and not make the same mistakes. I would love that to be true but if history tells us anything it is that humans are stupid and don’t learn such lessons. That’s why slavery still exists, it’s why we still have wars and also the reason behind the Eurovision Song Contest plaguing us every year.
I suggest that everyone has, at some point in their lives, done, thought and/or said something that would now be considered racist, homophobic, discriminatory or otherwise offensive in today’s world. I confess that, in the distant past, even I have worn 12-inch flares and a tank-top. Nobody is without skeletons jangling around in their cupboards. So, do we actually need public statues at all, if people are now being so picky about the past?
If we remove them all, do we replace them with something else or leave empty spaces everywhere. If we chose the former action, it wouldn’t matter what the replacement was because, in today’s society, some delicate little keyboard warrior out there would find a reason to complain or claim that they find the ‘thing’ offensive. Even if we left nothing but empty spaces, someone would still moan about that!
In truth, apart from the desire to jump on a bandwagon and complain, I don’t think that some people know what they really want but I know what they need. I dare not go into details for fear of causing offence, suffice to say it would involve an open hand travelling at some speed towards the side of their head.