In the morning I woke up in a terrible dream. Actually it looked like a nightmare. I rubbed my eyes, tap my cheeks to make sure that I am not sleeping and I realized that I was not dreaming. I was fully awake.
I watched like all of you the stupefying events that happen during the weekend in Charlottesville, VA. We all could see how the sewer of the society, the actual “deplorables” that Hillary mentioned came out in hordes to the streets ready for action. I saw later the interviews on VICE with some of them and the repugnant feeling became overwhelming. I never fooled myself to believe that this vermin is extinct. They were always there, somewhere, but a strong position of the civil society pushed their presence to its periphery where they can stay and drink unhappy in bars. For years we liked to believe in the US, or at least in New York, that we live in a society where acceptance is the norm and not the exception. Where we can live together and cherish the diversity that surrounds us, a diversity created by God as our more religious friends would say. We always tended to believe that racism and the xenophobic policies are happening in other societies. And in the end the events in Charlottesville burst our bubble and seeing all of these human refuse coming back to light, these creatures of darkness, was appalling. But not surprising.
We watched the expected results of the open arms immigrant policy of Angela Merkel in Germany that created a huge backlash and woke up the far right and together with it the spike of the AfD popularity with their ethno-politics. In the US we witnessed how a know-nothing narcissistic moron who talks like a drunken in a bar can bring to life these dark forces who are finally finding an ally inside the White House. I wrote a number of posts after the election and I fought with friends who for various reasons that I am tired to argue about voted for the tough-talk-no-brain. I stopped writing and discussing about it when it became very clear that my worst possible predictions materialized in fact. Nothing that happens now is less than I expected.
In the same time, as a reaction or not to the political developments in Washington I read a lot about several events that happen on the East Coast campuses of the Ivy League schools where students have risen against the establishment and decided that some statues or symbols had to be removed because they might not fit with their new dream of politically correctness. The names of the people who funded various halls of the Ivy League schools and their statues were deemed to be removed because they were slave owners. Even the name of Yale University came under discussion. The debates became acrimonious at least, peppered with aggressiveness and attitudes that belong to the fish market and not in an academic campus. So it came to my great shock to learn now about the drive to remove the confederate statues as symbols of …what?
I lived in Romania during the Communists who decided when they seized power under the tutelage of Stalin’s tanks, in their grudge to the old society they wanted to destroy, to remove all the old symbols of the Romanian society. The statues of the creators of the country, kings, princes, politicians, intellectuals, philosophers, writers and composers were replaced over night by the statues of unknown workers with a four grade education, many of them Stalin’s pawns, whose only contribution was that they were jailed together sometime by the ones defined at that moment as oppressors. I walked among these statues during my childhood and I never knew who they really were because nobody from my surrounding had any ideas or interest to learn about them. Time passed and little by little the new manufactured “heroes” died and with them some of the new statues disappeared leaving behind an empty pedestal and when Romania shed the yoke of Communism all statues that were still standing were removed over night and the old statues and symbols started to come back. History reconnected its course after the unfortunate hiatus. Removing statues does not eliminate neither the discrimination nor the bias. To remove a statue is just a cowardly act forced by the ones who refuse to fight the real situation and prefer to fight the invisible windmills of Don Quixote. Because it’s easier to break a stone or topple a bronze than convince a mind that what he does is wrong. There are so many causes to fight for in our society riddled by a profound inequality, with a corrupt political system bankrolled by lobbyists and corporations, with a lack of sustainable medical coverage for the working middle class, with rabid violence of the police that shoots to kill people like in a video game. And all these guys are looking for instead is just to topple a statue. Isn’t it quite a cheap shot? The history is there and nobody can change it and even if we like it or not we have to live with it as is, with or without statues. But the statues represent a reference to a past that we don’t want to bring back, forgotten otherwise.
And what was exactly my nightmare? I realized reading the morning news that for a reason or another I actually agreed with The Donald on this issue. But even if we finally agreed on something we still have to fight to remove him, and not a statue, from the White House. The chaos he’s creating is way too dangerous for the world we live in.