Acknowledge achievements, and foibles, of ‘founders’
Now that Linda Mar’s Juan de Portola statue has been exposed as a monument to racism instead of a bronze ’60s-modern claim to our early history, we have to ask, why must we kowtow to the demands of every radical fringe minority group that wants to remove it? Why do they get to define it, and why must every historical artifact meet today’s hypersensitive standards of woke political purity?
When their descendants judge them, will they be any kinder? Could they have done any better in those times? Those who can rise above such circumstances are rare. In our ultra-fragmented world, we must know that those demands will be superseded by an even smaller fringe group saying, “That’s not good enough. I am deeply offended and demand recompense for my outrage.”
And how are these people injured by something that happened 250 years ago? Do you know who was injured? The Ohlone people. They paid with their lives, they lost their culture, and it started with Portola. No doubt his descendants have major grievances with the Americans that took their place. Better tear down the Sanchez adobe too. Lots of racism there. God knows what took place on the artichoke farms that once blanketed our valleys, or the subdivisions that cover them now. And any history buff can tell you the Big Four who bankrolled the Ocean Shore Railroad were guilty of atrocities in the pursuit of their fortunes. But that railroad opened the coast to its settlement and created the communities we enjoy today.
Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln have all been savaged by the woke, despite their contributions. DaVinci, Copernicus, Plato and Socrates could all suffer the same fate by those standards. None of this changes the fact that these men altered the course of history and bent it to their purpose. They should be recognized for their achievements and vision, as well as their shortcomings. If we acknowledge that, we can chart our own course into the future. But without that knowledge of what preceded us, we are a ship without a rudder, unable to steer between the shoals. In other words, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.
Appreciate coverage of Portola statue
I wanted to thank Grace Scullion for her excellent article on the redecorated statue of the colonizer Portola (Tribune, Aug. 3). Many of us in the Pacifica community have wanted it gone and have signed petitions to that effect, but still it stands an evil emblem of the settler colonialism that is part of the history in this country.
Not only did Scullion’s article elevate this issue of the colonizer statue, but it went into wonderful depth quite unusual for the Tribune. She reached out to the curators of the Vaz y Ver art exhibit in which the Gay Shame piece “Street Sweeps Kills Queers” was displayed and discussed the astroturfing project of the YIMBYs, funded by developers. She also talked to Jonathan Cordero of the Association of the Ramaytush Ohlone. This was an excellent piece.
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