Now that the movement to take down Confederate monuments is gaining steam – thanks in no small part to President Trump’s effective endorsement of such monuments – those in favor of keeping them in place have resorted to their final argument: What-about-ism.
Confederate monument supporters often retort that there shouldn’t be statues of communists in the public square either. And in Seattle, Mayor Ed Murray agrees: The statue of Vladimir Lenin within his city should come down.
This is a rather surprising turn of events. The alt right normally engages in what-abouti-sm in order to trick their opponents into changing the subject and defending their own sacred cow. For the mayor of Seattle to agree that communist statues should be taken down isn’t what they expected.
Confederate monument supporters frequently engage in what-about-isam. When questioned about why Confederate generals who supported and fought for slavery should have statues in the public square, they instead ask why there should be statues of murderous communists. Or they resort to the slippery-slope argument, as did Trump in his Tuesday press conference: If we take down a statue of Robert E. Lee, who is next? Slaveholders (and former presidents) George Washington and Thomas Jefferson?
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray didn’t fall into the trap. Nor did he defend the founder of communism in Russia, a man that some on his own city council idolize. Instead, Murray acknowledged that Vladimir Lenin was responsible for millions, which is something that many liberals don’t want to talk about.
Yet it needs to be noted, and as the Mayor admitted in the video, both the Confederate monument and the statue of Vladimir Lenin are on private property. He said he respects private property rights and acknowledges that the government has no right to remove them. Instead, he’s merely using his office as a platform to call for their removal.
While the fate of Vladimir Lenin in Seattle is uncertain, Mayor Murray has at least brought honesty to the next phase of the debate.
— Brandi Kruse (@BrandiKruse) August 17, 2017
(Photo of Vladimir Lenin statue by InSapphoWeTrust used with permission.)