On Saturday, Donald Trump criticized the late Sen. John McCain on Twitter over revelations that he was involved in the FBI’s receipt of a copy of the largely debunked Steele dossier. “Spreading the fake and totally discredited Dossier ‘is unfortunately a very dark stain against John McCain,'” Trump wrote.
No sooner had the tweet gone live than the social media platform lit up with attacks on the president from the Left for his cowardly attack on a dead man. David Mack, deputy director of BuzzFeed, wrote:
brave of trump to finally attack mccain by name once he's dead https://t.co/3RzBvPBd4N
— David Mack (@davidmackau) March 16, 2019
Bob Cesca, who writes for Salon, had this to say:
Only cowards attack dead people. https://t.co/m5mSdhytYZ
— Bob Cesca (@bobcesca_go) March 16, 2019
“Comedian,” radio host, and Daily Beast contributor Dean Obeidallah called the president “a vile human being,” while Kathryn Watson of CBS News weighed in with this:
The president has harsher language for a dead war hero than he does for dictator Kim Jong Un. https://t.co/7JlPG1efvy
— Kathryn Watson (@kathrynw5) March 16, 2019
All this opprobrium over Trump’s comparatively measured attack on McCain might have rung truer had the Left not made a cottage industry over the past two years of vilifying long-dead historical figures for perceived sins.
A great many of the Left’s targets are individuals who played a role in the darkest chapter in the nation’s history, among them songwriter Stephen Foster whose crime against humanity was to draw inspiration from minstrel tunes and what used to called “Negro spirituals.” Another victim of the liberal crusade to expunge the memory of oppressors of blacks is Clyde A. Lynch, who was president of Lebanon Valley College from 1932 until 1950 and had a hall named for him until 2015 when students complained that his last name conjured up images public executions of black men by white mobs. (The U.S. Attorney General at the time of the protest was a woman named Loretta Lynch, but somehow students at Lebanon Valley were willing to overlook that fact, possibly because she is herself black.)
The Left has been equally determined to erase the names of those involved in the persecution of so-called Native Americans. Like William McKinley. A statue of America’s 25th president was yanked off its pedestal in a California town last April because he supposedly promoted policies detrimental to Indians.
As the classicist and historian Victor Davis Hanson notes in an article titled “Waging War Against the Dead,” “opportunism, not logic, always seems to determine the targets of destruction,” adding:
If mass slaughter in the past offered a reason to obliterate remembrance of the guilty, then certainly sports teams should drop brand names such as “Aztecs.” Likewise, communities should topple statues honoring various Aztec gods, including the one in my own hometown: Selma, Calif.
After all, the Aztec Empire annually butchered thousands of innocent women and children captives on the altars of their hungry gods. The Aztecs were certainly far crueler conquerors, imperialists and colonialists than was former President McKinley. Yet apparently the Aztecs, as indigenous peoples, earn a pass on the systematic mass murder of their enslaved indigenous subjects.