Trump is probably right. Most voters do not want to see statues torn down by mobs, and some statues should probably be spared. How can Joe Biden take the high road, seize permanent control of this national debate, and leave Trump in the dust defending indefensible historical figures? Easy! He must announce plans for a “Making History” initiative (feel free to borrow the title) to help local communities develop referendums on existing statues, and where enough interest existed to retire them, to work with civic leaders to help find and fund worthy replacements that reflect local history and pride.
“Making History” could be an exciting new model that unites historians, artists, activists, and average citizens in a soul-searching public discussion about who we are, and who we aspire to be, as communities comprising this proud nation. A federal fund would be established to subsidize the replacement of any selected monuments, and a new museum could even house retired statues that can still serve a vital purpose educating the public with proper historical context.
At its top ranks, “Making History” should be helmed by luminary American historians and artists who will headline a 50-state tour to launch the effort, and end the rollout by personally managing the review/retire/replace process for the federal city of Washington, DC (unless it gains statehood by then). As WPA projects once shone hope against hardship by loosing America’s inimitable creative spirit, art can once again heal our national pain and light the way forward. Thank you, President Biden!