First it was Confederate generals. Then Christopher Columbus.
Opponents of the ongoing effort by the so-called “progressive” left to remove America's historical statues and monuments they don't like warned it wouldn't stop there. It didn't.
While the student government at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (ASM) hasn't demanded the removal from campus of a statue of Abraham Lincoln — perhaps they knew it would be a nonstarter — they have demanded a plaque be placed near the statue of America's 16th president.
As reported by The Daily Cardinal, the ASM called on UWM to acknowledge, on the plaque, Lincoln's “brutality towards indigenous people.”
Spoiler: It ain't gonna happen.
ASM Chair Katrina Morrison explained the reason for the demand:
“We wanted a plaque near Lincoln because we wanted the university to recognize his part in the Dakota 38 massacre. I think that [not putting a plaque on the statue] is a mistake, and I think that the history is irrefutable. It is clear that he played a huge role in the massacre and was killing innocent people for no reason.”
As is the case with art, history is often in the eye of the beholder — including the 1862 execution of 38 Dakota tribesmen in Mankato, Minnesota.
UWM Chancellor Rebecca Blank, who told the Cardinal there are no plans to place a plaque on Lincoln's statue, had a different take than that of the ASM, saying Lincoln played a “restraining role” in the mass execution:
“[Lincoln] insists on personally weeding through all of this, and he ends up saying ‘I’m only going to take the sentences of those who we have evidence, witness evidence, that they were involved in either killing or raping, and everyone else we are going to dismiss charges on.’”
Blank said Lincoln refused a territorial governor's proposal to execute 350 men for “murder and other outrages,” including rape, commuting the sentences of all but 38.
She explained the purpose of Lincoln's statue on the UWM campus:
“Abe is actually here because he was the person who really created public universities in the states throughout this country in a very real way. do not see a reason to prominently label [the executions] on the Lincoln statue.”
But Mariah Skenandore, co-president of the indigenous student organization Wunk Sheek, said she's “triggered” by the statue every time she sees it:
“They don’t acknowledge the impact that it is having on their students, and I’m impacted by [seeing the statue] every day. I think the plaque is the least the university can do.”
Sometimes, in today's hyper-charged political environment, sensible lines are drawn in the sand and not allowed to be crossed. UWM Chancellor Rebecca Blank just drew one of those lines.