Following the events in Charlottesville last weekend, Americans are discussing the appropriateness of Confederate statues throughout the nation. As a counter, however, many have pointed out statues of other people who could easily be termed “problematic.”
One of those is a statue of Vladimir Lenin in Seattle.
While speaking on a radio program, however, Mayor Ed Murray opined that both a Confederate memorial located in a private cemetery and the Lenin statue should be removed.
During an interview with KIRO Radio 97.3 on Wednesday, Murray advocated for the statue’s removal in response to a question, saying:“In the last few days, Seattleites have expressed concerns and frustration over symbols of hate, racism and violence that exist in our city. Not only do these kinds of symbols represent historic injustices, their existence causes pain among those who themselves or whose family members have been impacted by these atrocities. We should remove all these symbols, no matter what political affiliation may have been assigned to them in the decades since they were erected. This includes both confederate memorials and statues idolizing the founder of the authoritarian Soviet regime. Both are on private property, but I believe the confederate memorial at Lake View Cemetery and the Lenin statue in Fremont should be removed. We should never forget our history, but we also should not idolize figures who have committed violent atrocities and sought to divide us based on who we are or where we came from.”Murray’s statement came a day after a small group led outspoken Trump supporter Jack Posobiec demonstrated in front of the statue, equating it with Confederate memorials being removed on the East Coast in the wake of last weekend’s deadly violence in Virginia.
Unfortunately, the mayor is wrong.
As Murray notes, both are located on private property. They’re breaking no laws with where they are and, as such, Murray and everyone else kind of need to chill.
Yes, even over the Lenin statue.
Vladimir Lenin is a hateful figure responsible for a terribly oppressive regime that dwarfed even the Nazis in terms of human suffering, but private property is just that: private.
In this country, folks are getting way too comfortable with telling people what they can and can’t do on their own property, and Murray’s comments–which admittedly do not call for legally compelling their removal–are emblematic of that idea.
In a fight that supposedly started around the idea of whether people should be stripped of their rights, both sides have taken a position that calls for stripping people of their property rights. Not cool.
To be fair, I do think that people like Jack Posobiec are more likely trolling than anything else. They’re most likely pointing out the hypocrisy of calling for the removal of every Confederate statue while ignoring a murderous dictator like Vladimir Lenin smack dab in the middle of a large city. But those who want the statue removed are wrong.
As much as I despise everything Lenin stood for in his life, if we’re not free to do things that upset others, we have no freedom at all. It doesn’t matter if that thing is hosting a Confederate statue or one of Lenin, freedom means freedom for all.