Don’t Mess With The Lincoln Memorial

In a world of senseless violence, ethnic wars, random kidnappings, and suicide bombings, why get angry about some green paint splashed on a statue — particularly when the paint can be cleaned and the statue returned to its former glory?

But the vandalism at the Lincoln Memorial does make me angry.  I hope they catch the twisted person who did this, and I hope they make him pay.

The Lincoln Memorial, like the rest of the National Mall, says a lot about America.  Lincoln was one of our greatest Presidents, and one of our greatest Americans, period.  His story tells a lot about this country, and his perseverance through the awful bloodshed of the Civil War does, too.  Most Americans have seen the Lincoln Memorial, on fifth grade trips to the Nation’s Capital or on family visits there, and it is an awesome temple to the American Idea — noble and grand, humbling and moving, with Lincoln’s careful words carved on the walls and his craggy, wise head looking down upon us.  We leave the Lincoln Memorial, and we feel good.

So why in the world would some idiot splash paint on Lincoln’s statue?

And while we are figuring out the answer to that question, let’s also answer this question:  how could the vandal do this and get away?  I hate to suggest even more surveillance cameras in this country, but the Lincoln Memorial needs to be protected.  Now that this pointless act has occurred, we don’t want to give terrorists any ideas.

Seemingly Passe Protest Songs

Signs, by the Five Man Electrical Band, is a great song,  First released in 1970, it tells the story of a young man who questions authority in the form of signs that want to exclude “long-haired freaky people” and trespassers.  The song’s refrain is:  “Sign, sign, everywhere a sign.  Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind.  Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

I don’t know many people who are disturbed by signs these days, even though there undoubtedly are many more signs now than there were in 1970.  If the young man from Signs were around today, would he still be angry about signs, or would he be more concerned by other issues of liberty and freedom — like drones, or widespread video surveillance, or the wide-ranging governmental regulations of conduct that are far more prevalent than they were four decades ago?  Or, because the young man would be in his 60s, would he be focused more on terrorists and public safety issues, and be grateful that the widespread use of security cameras by private businesses helped authorities to promptly identify and apprehend suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing?

Protest issues come, and protest issues go.  The world is a different, more complicated place than it was when signs, and Signs, seemed so important.