Many recently celebrated Bastille Day, the day French radical revolutionaries stormed a prison, released its prisoners, and brutally murdered the warden. That fateful day, now more than 200 years ago, set in motion a revolution that led to bloodshed and a devastating loss of liberty in France. It also set the precedent for many future revolutions that took an unbelievable toll on human life.
Contemporary British politician Edmund Burke lamented that French Revolutionaries could have repaired the walls of their government and society instead of tearing them down. In an attempt to found an egalitarian utopia, the French Revolutionaries tore down almost everything that was traditionally French. An eerily similar purge is taking place in America.
To found their society anew, the French Revolutionaries created a new education system, a new calendar, a new system of measurement, and a series of new public symbols and festivals. Most forebodingly, they did their best to cleanse France of religion in all of its forms, opting instead to pay homage to the god of Reason.
1. Taking Control of the Calendar and Holidays
The new “French Calendar” the Revolutionaries used in place of old the Gregorian calendar deliberately left out the Sabbath as well as religious holidays. In a preview of the self-centered nature of modern radical leftists, the French Calendar reset French history to the start of the Revolution — essentially labeling it “Year One.” Today, The New York Times’s 1619 Project attempts to do the same historical trick in rebooting America’s “true founding” to the date the first black slaves arrived in Virginia.
Now, there are calls to cancel Independence Day, change the name of Thanksgiving to “Thanks-taking,” and eliminate Columbus Day. Presidents Day, which is George Washington’s birthday, may also be on life-support, considering the Berkeley Unified School District announced that it will rename schools named after George Washington and Thomas Jefferson because the two former presidents owned slaves. But don’t worry, new holidays such as “Non-Binary Day“ are being ginned up, and Google Calendar now warns us when Black History Month and Women’s History Month begin.
Leftist cancellations haven’t stopped at renaming institutions and holidays, but have also aimed at brand names, theme park rides, classic movies, television shows, and even innocuous titles like “master bedroom.” Recently there was a boycott against Goya foods because its CEO praised President Trump.
2. Tearing Down Statues
All across the country statues of American historical figures have lost their heads. In Boston, a statue of Christopher Columbus was beheaded, as were four Confederate statues in Portsmouth Virginia. A George Washington statue in Washington Park was vandalized and a white hood was placed on his head. Another George Washington statue in Portland, Oregon was toppled with a burning American flag draped over it.
Statue toppling is only the most visible sign of the cultural genocide that has been taking place for decades. Since the 1960s more Americans have rejected our founding principles and replaced them with radical utopian abstractions.
Instead of celebrating a nation built on equality, freedom, self-government, and a limited constitutional government, those on the left have taught an alternative history. In their telling, America has been racist from the start. The insinuation is that since racism is in America’s very DNA, there is no cure. Thus, the need for a new founding based on enigmatic utopian ideals.
3. Seizing Language and Education
It’s a dark omen when language itself starts to be canceled. Classic children’s books are being banned because some on the left don’t like their language. The North American Scrabble Players Association has recently announced it is canceling certain offensive words from the game.
People may not be burning books, but the National Public Radio station has exhorted Americans to “decolonize” their bookshelves. Truly, the current neo-Marxist movement enveloping the nation has done more to attack and stifle freedom of speech than Joseph McCarthy ever did in the height of the Red Scare of the 1950s.
More and more, our public schools are ceasing to be places of genuine learning but are quickly becoming boot camps in activism. Instead of being taught civics, children are learning about “antiracism,” “white privilege,” and political agitation. Likewise, French Revolutionaries took control of schooling and replaced it with their own.
Recently, New York City schools sent out a letter affirming the existence of systemic racism and assuring parents the school district will work to “dismantle institutional racism.” The email goes on to recommend resources that teach children police are targeting nonwhite people and that there is systemic racial bias in education, media, employment government, and the criminal justice system.
A large school district in North Carolina created a website that provides “racial equity” resources for teachers and parents. The site instructs those wishing to be racially affirming allies to first do so by recognizing privilege and how to utilize social capital to promote equity and social justice.
Finally, and most disturbingly, material for the 1619 Project is being taught in at least 3,500 schools nationwide, teaching children America’s founding ideals were a lie when they were written and the United States has never recovered from slavery and racism.
4. Violent Hostility Towards Religion
To say the French Revolution was hostile towards religion is an understatement. Church property was nationalized, tithing was outlawed, church authorities were made employees of the state, and 30,000 priests were exiled. To confuse Christians so they wouldn’t be able to figure out which day was Sunday, a new ten-day week was implemented. In what became known as the September Massacres, three bishops and more than 200 priests were murdered by mobs.
Traditional religion in the United States has also come under attack by the modern radical left. And, while things haven’t yet got to the level of the French Revolution, the current anti-Christian climate does not bode well for the future. During the first weeks of the riots, for example, St. John’s Church, a historic house of worship near the White House, was set on fire. The media erupted in anger when police cleared the streets in front of the church so President Trump could pose in front of it holding a Bible.
In response, the D.C. mayor renamed the area “Black Lives Matter Plaza” and painted the slogan over the road. The area has become a hub for Black Lives Matter activists. There also have been repeated attempts to establish a “Black House Autonomous Zone” in the area. The area has developed its own religious feel, with multiple murals and tributes to George Floyd and others considered martyrs by the group.
Suffering the same fate as many of America’s founders and heroes, religious statues have been torn down as well. Black Lives Matter commentator Shaun King has stated depicting Jesus Christ as a white man is evidence of white supremacy. Churches have been vandalized, a Florida man drove his vehicle into a church, a statue of the Virgin Mary was torched in Boston, and at a Tennessee parish, a statue of Mary was beheaded. Because their pastor spoke out against the rioting in the streets, churchgoers in Troy, New York were verbally harassed by Black Lives Matter protestors as they entered Grace Baptist Church.
We’re Not Down the Drain Yet
In the meantime, despite facing the threat of physical violence, some brave Americans continue to stand up against this neo-Marxist cultural revolution. In Washington D.C., when protestors wanted to tear down the Emancipation Statue, elder black activists showed up to protect it. They stood against the screaming hordes, representing a former generation, one ruled by reason and wisdom instead of rage.
In Ventura, California, a small group of brave Catholics stood against a mob to protect a statue of Saint Junipero Serra. As the small band surrounded the statue, they were surrounded by more than 200 protestors intent on tearing the statue down. The protectors stood strong, prayed the rosary amid taunts, threats, and even acts of violence. When one protestor riled the crowd into a frenzy and led a rush on the statue, Serra’s defenders closed ranks around the pedestal and defended it.
In another instance of bravery, when every player from the Giants and Dodgers knelt before the National Anthem to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement before playing their first game of the season, one player decided to stand. San Francisco Giants pitcher Sam Coonrod refused to kneel because of his faith and because he knows what the Black Lives Matter movement truly represents.
This one player who decided to stand is the one we should focus on, and is the sort of citizen we should praise. His courage and strength show that remnants of an old American spirit still exist, and that hope remains for our great republic.
Americans recklessly wishing to continue following in the footsteps of France should remember Burke’s caution that the abolition of all history and tradition is a recipe for disaster. Future generations will understand what our nation eventually decides to honor by what statues replace the many that have been torn down.