I was discussing the months-long rash of statue-topplings with a friend who has been a director of historical sites. He considers the memorials in cemeteries and battlefields to be sacred, but thinks statues elsewhere can be culled and supplanted. “Parks belong to the living.”
The living are their customers, certainly: picnickers, baseball players, bird-watchers, lovers, the lonely. But how should the living think about the public art that parks contain?
Statues should not be of the living: That would mean turning parks into Instagram, or North Korea; only entertainers and despots need apply. Instead we memorialize the dead. Which dead, then?
This article appears as “Topplers of the Founding” in the December 17, 2020, print edition of National Review.
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