Fearing that “woke” Democrats plan to take down or dramatically alter Mount Rushmore, Gov. Kristi Noem and U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., are working to protect South Dakota’s famous landmark.
“It’s a radical movement that’s rewriting our history,” Noem said during her Wednesday Fox News interview while answering a question about ongoing social unrest, protests and vandalism of historical monuments throughout the nation.
“Woke” is a term used to describe left-wing liberals who are “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice),” according to Merriam-Webster.
Throughout the country, woke activists are working to remove symbols of American history. This is a link to a video of them trying to remove the statue of President Andrew Jackson in Washington, D.C.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHuDQmvlMQ0
In response, earlier this week, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro tweeted: “So, when is our woke historical revisionist priesthood going to insist on blowing up Mount Rushmore?”
In replying to Shapiro, Noem said, “Not on my watch.”
Currently, President Donald Trump is scheduled to attend an Independence Day fireworks show at Mount Rushmore on July 3. It would be the first time for these fireworks at the monument in more than a decade.
The past presidents whose faces are famously carved into the mountainside include:
President George Washington (1789-1797)
President Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809)
President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt (1901-1909)
President Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865)
“George Washington was a unifier. He brought this country together to lead us at a time when we needed the birth of the nation to get started,” Noem said during her Wednesday Fox News appearance. “We have Thomas Jefferson who was an author of the Declaration of Independence.”
However, it is true that Washington and Jefferson owned African American slaves
“These men have flaws. Obviously, every leader has flaws,” Noem acknowledged on Fox.
“Every day, we need to continue to use these opportunities to educate folks on why this country is special and why it needs to be defended and why we need to protect these kind of monuments to make sure that story is told,” Noem added.
Noem’s successor as South Dakota’s lone U.S. House member, Johnson, on Thursday introduced the Mount Rushmore Protection Act. Johnson said this would prohibit the use of federal funds to “alter, change, destroy or remove the likeness, the name of, or any of the faces” at the monument.
“These presidents championed the cause of freedom,” Johnson while introducing the legislation. “Those seeking to remove these iconic faces are undermining the contributions these leaders made in pursuit of a more perfect union. Removal would do nothing to move our country forward.”
Some strongly disagree, however. Nick Tilsen is the president and CEO of the NDN Collective activist group. The organization states of itself: “Dedicated to building the collective power of Indigenous Peoples while fostering a world built on justice and equity for all people and the planet.”
“Mount Rushmore is a symbol of white supremacy, of structural racism that’s still alive and well in society today,” the group’s Twitter page stated on Thursday, attributing the quote to Tilsen.
Meanwhile, Trump said as long as he is president, he will use the federal government to protect landmarks such as Mount Rushmore.
”I am doing what is necessary to keep our communities safe — and these people will be brought to Justice,” Trump’s Friday tweet stated.