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Statues of Limitation By: Lowell Ponte
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, January 16, 2002


AS THE FEVER SWEPT OUR NATION, a few commentators pondered how this obsession began and where it would end. By New Year’s Day, 2003, Orwellian "groupthinkers" had altered several of America’s cherished icons and were seeking new images to smash.

It began when three New York City firefighters spontaneously raised an American flag above terrorist wreckage of the World Trade Center. A reporter’s photo of them inspired what is to be a 19-foot-tall, $180,000 bronze statue to memorialize the heroes of September 11, resembling the statue of WWII U.S. Marines raising Old Glory above Iwo Jima.

But this statue’s design struck some as a new act of terrorism against these heroes. The three firefighters who acted on their own patriotic initiative were, as the famous photo of them shows, white ethnics. But in the statue, all have been beheaded and their identities replaced by fictional male heads – white, black, and Hispanic.

This beheading apparently was ordered by the statue’s funder, real estate mogul and Clinton intimate and bankroller Bruce Ratner, who is also landlord over the New York Fire Department headquarters. (He is also brother of Fox News Channel’s and WorldNetDaily.com’s loony Leftist Ellen Ratner.)

"The symbolism is far more important than representing the actual people," said Kevin James of the Vulcan Society, which represents black firefighters. Would he have felt the same had three black firefighters raised the flag and then had their identities erased?

"They’re rewriting history in order to achieve political correctness," said Carlo Casoria, who lost his firefighter son on September 11. He and many others live in a real, if often unfair, world. Like scientists and other reality-oriented people, they do not want history falsified, nor falsehood memorialized, as depicted in George Orwell’s novel 1984.

But among Leftists, political correctness almost always trumps mere truth or fact. What matters is that politically-favored groups get a fat piece of the pie. In hyper-Leftist Manhattan, e.g., a female judge ruled that even former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s "celebrity status" is a "marital asset" his divorced wife was entitled to share.

Where jobs, college admissions and wealth are politically redistributed by race and gender, why should it surprise us that celebrity, honor or a place on public statues are too?

Of 343 firefighters killed on September 11, 12 (about 3.5 percent) were black – and an uncertain but probably similar proportion were Hispanic. How many of them got their jobs through racial preferences is unknown, but their heroic deaths while trying to save others were as real, agonizing and deserving of honor as those of their more numerous Irish-American and Italian-American comrades.

Once a political decision is made to falsify history – to change the identity of the three who actually raised that flag – the new fictional pie can be concocted and divvied up without limitation. Why stop at three men, I asked on my nationwide radio show last Saturday, when one could be turned into a lesbian, differently-abled woman? Why not add flag-raisers from dozens of politically-favored minority groups? Two days later, Alan Cabal fleshed out my suggestion in the New York Press: "There should definitely be a queer…. There’s no Jew….[and] we naturally must provide a place for the immigrant Arab population…. A turban would work as a concise signifier…. We simply must include a physically challenged firefighter in a wheelchair."

Little did we know how enthusiastically the public would embrace such "progressive" groupthink. Even the Wall Street Journal‘s Tunku Varadarajan patronizingly sided with such political correctness. By June 2002, the U.S. Marines’ Iwo Jima statue had been redone, replacing all the original photograph’s flag raisers except Native American Ira Hayes. Now more than 200 hands of every imaginable minority and gender are depicted raising a very long flagpole.

By September 2002, Mount Rushmore had been dynamited and cemented into four new faces – a black man, an Hispanic man, a woman with George Washington’s bangs who looked remarkably like Hillary Clinton, and (out of what had been Teddy Roosevelt) a bespectacled woman resembling Janet Reno. This Orwellian defacing and re-facing of history, too, was funded by Bruce Ratner.

By late October 2002, Americans were required to exchange their old money with pictures of DWAMs (Dead White American Males), including those of slaveholders George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson for the new currency with computer-generated "perfect" stereotypical faces of blacks, Hispanics, and other PC groups, much like the anonymous "supermen" depicted by Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini.

Columnist George Will noted that Europe is switching from proud national currencies that often honored individuals to the bland, dehumanized art on the new Euro. Europe historically has oscillated between "idealized" generic (e.g. Hellenic, Medieval, Marxist-Nazi) and individualized (e.g., Hellenistic, Renaissance, Enlightenment) statues. With the "idealized" firefighter statue, we are being re-Europeanized, Balkanized, deracinated, and de-individualized. (Leftists have never hesitated to annihilate individual humans in the name of abstract "humanity.")

By late December 2002, crews rushed to complete surgical alteration of the Statue of Liberty into a black male, and of the torch of "Liberty Enlightening the World" (the statue’s real name) into a cornucopia symbolizing our government as a dispenser of goodies to the groups it favors.

Too many Americans have become afraid to say aloud that any genuine hero, regardless of race, gender or color, awakens heroic resonance in every human soul. Or that, conversely, when a society scorns real individual heroes and instead erects statues to fictional fakes to serve political correctness, the heroism latent in all human hearts withers and dies.


Mr. Ponte co-hosts a national radio talk show Monday through Friday 6-8 PM Eastern Time (3-5 PM Pacific Time) on the Genesis Communications Network. Internet Audio worldwide is at GCNlive .com. The show's live call-in number is 1-800-259-9231. A professional speaker, he is a former Roving Editor for Reader's Digest.


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