President Trump has issued an executive order threatening prison time for people who destroy monuments, memorials or statues. He accuses people who attack symbolic statuary of being “violent extremists.”
Given this rhetoric, it’s impossible to forget that in December, 2017, Trump came to Utah for the express purpose of destroying two National Monuments — Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante.
The National Monuments that Trump destroyed were created for specific reasons: Bears Ears, to remember and understand Indigenous history and cultural survival; Grand Staircase Escalante, in honor of scientific discovery. Both celebrated America the Beautiful.
The monuments that Trump defends use a guise of heroism to conceal a troubled past of colonialism, slaveholding, Indian removal, racism and war.
It’s clear from past actions that Trump really has no objection to destroying monuments. He just wants to choose which values to attack.
Amy Brunvand, Salt Lake City