Opinion: the American monument to white victimization
Both law and erasure are essential to the functioning of grievance policy: law, because it instills a sense of unfair loss, and erasure, because it makes this sense of loss singular and increases the feeling of injustice. This is not a new dynamic. He lives in the 150-year story of the lost cause, in a continuing century of claims that Christianity is under attack, in 50 years of fists about affirmative action as “reverse racism.”
So the campaign stops at Stone Mountain, a particularly important “lost cause” lying sanctuary. The policy of the lost cause – which the Confederate soldiers had fought courageously, that the war had been about the rights of states, that life had been better under slavery for assailants and slaves – was the original grievance policy of the country, an attempt. rewrite history to make the cause just, the tragic defeat and the restoration of pre-war values urgent. Stone Mountain serves as a monument to false history, built on a site where an organization dedicated to terrorizing blacks met regularly.
To erect a false story first, then to denounce its demolition as historical erasure, is to continue to oppose telling a truer story. Repackaged in 2021 as “political correct” and now as “cancel culture,” variations in grievance policy continue to play a central role in American life.
He’s there in the twist on Project 1619 and fears that a triumphalist view of U.S. history could be challenged in classrooms and newspapers. It is here with insistence that Christianity is under attack by everything from health care legislation to trans equality laws.
This is where the story of the Tulsa Massacre is instructive. The racist pogrom of 1921, which took place as the SVP was raising money for the Stone Mountain monument, destroyed not only one community, but generations of wealth. And then it was carefully erased: the archives of the police relating to the massacre disappeared; the story that helped incite the massacre has been removed from the local newspaper’s archives.
Grievance policy has always been based on a central assertion: that aggrieved persons have a special claim to be at the center of American history and to control the leadership of the country. This is why challenging the fake stories and highlighting the ones that have been suppressed is such a threat. Looking at the real story would mean recognizing that the grievance policy has not been about righteousness, freedom or patriotism, but rather the retention of power by the few at the expense of everyone.