Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
First, Obama renamed Mt. McKinley. Now the Arcata City Council in California wants to tear down a statue of President William McKinley.
“Put a rope around its neck and pull it down,” a leftist activist shouted.
There were similar protests last year in Honolulu at McKinley High School, a push to remove a McKinley statue in Massachusetts, and a McKinley statue was repeatedly vandalized in San Francisco.
If there’s any Republican president who would appear an unlikely target for the left, it’s McKinley.
Unlike the Confederate generals previously targeted by the Taliban left, McKinley began the Civil War as a Union private and ended it as a major. At Antietam, he delivered food to his men while under fire.
Suffragists and African-Americans campaigned for him. Susan B. Anthony had celebrated her birthday at the White House. He had vowed to secure the rights of “every citizen, black or white, rich or poor.”
But the left is coming for President McKinley again.
On September 6, 1901, a radical leftist murdered the President of the United States.
Like Lee Harvey Oswald, Leon Czolgosz was a shiftless radical. His target was a popular president who was at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo to deliver a speech defending his plan to defend and expand the American economy. Like Trump, McKinley wanted to use tariffs as leverage for mutual trade agreements with other countries that would benefit American workers and industries.
His mission was, “gaining for America a supremacy in the markets of the world.”
"The good work will go on. It cannot be stopped," President McKinley had declared in his final speech. "These buildings will disappear," he said, referring to the Temple of Music in which he was to be assassinated, "this creation of art and beauty and industry will perish from sight, but their influence will remain to, 'make it live beyond its short living, with praises and Thanksgiving.'"
It was the age of anarchist terror. But McKinley was innocent of the leftist terror threat. "Why should I? No one would wish to hurt me,” he told his secretary, dismissing concerns for his safety.
As the Star-Spangled Banner began to play, the president started shaking hands with fairgoers. Czolgosz approached with a gun hidden in a handkerchief. As President McKinley reached to shake his hand, the leftist radical shot him twice. The crowd grabbed the terrorist while the wounded president urged them to be gentle with him. “Don’t hurt him,” he said, referring to him as "some poor misguided fellow."
”My wife, be careful how you tell her—oh be careful,” he pleaded.
The First Lady had been ill for some time and had nearly died during their travels. And the president feared that hearing about his assassination would do her in.
That year, Ida McKinley said that few would know, “what it is like to have a wife sick, complaining, always an invalid for twenty-five years … and yet never a word of unkindness has ever passed his lips. He is just the same tender, thoughtful, kind gentleman I knew when first he came and sought my hand.”
Eight days later he was dead.
Czolgosz credited a speech by leftist activist Emma Goldman with inspiring his crime. In a pamphlet written after the assassination, she denounced McKinley as a capitalist and praised his killer for having “wounded government in its most vital spot”. She concluded her screed by writing that her “heart goes out to him in deep sympathy, and to all the victims of a system of inequality, and the many who will die the forerunners of a better, nobler, grander life.” Terrorists like Czolgosz who would die for the cause.
After President McKinley’s murder, statues of the murdered Republican went up around the country: towns, schools, parks and other locations were named or renamed in his memory.
But the left wasn’t satisfied with murdering President McKinley once. It’s trying to kill him all over again. The radical hatred that drove Czolgosz to kill a good man is still howling in the minds of the left.
McKinley’s death may be ancient history to most, but the left remembers its comrades and enemies.
Under Bill Clinton, the Haymarket Martyrs' Monument to Czolgosz's fellow anarchist terrorists was designated a National Historic Landmark, while the statue memorializing the police officers they murdered had already been banished to obscurity after being vandalized by the Weathermen.
In approving the “Martyrs’ Monument”, the National Park Service described socialist terrorists like August Spies who had preached the violent overthrow of the United States and its replacement by a Socialist tyranny as "martyrs" and “dissenters" fighting for an "eight-hour workday".
There is a direct continuity between the leftist terrorists who murdered 7 police officers in 1886 Chicago and earned a National Historic Landmark designation from the Clintons for their act, Leon Czolgosz’s murder of President McKinley, and the Wall Street Bombing of 1920 which killed 38 people and wounded another 143, and all the later acts of leftist terror from the Weathermen to the present day.
The Weathermen understood that when they bombed a statue memorializing the murdered officers in 1969. Obama understood that when he renamed McKinley toward the end of his regime.
The Arcata City Council understands it today.
The left doesn’t pull down statues because they memorialize racist men. Marx, Che, Margaret Sangers and the rest of their heroes could give the most bigoted Klansman a run for his sheets.
Nobody’s pulling down their statues or tossing out their t-shirts.
The left began pulling down Confederate statues because they were the easiest. Few people really wanted to defend them. And the most vocal defenders were the racists who played into their hands.
And then came Columbus, Washington and Jefferson.
Why pull down a statue of President McKinley? For the same reason that Czolgosz shot him.
“No one would wish to hurt me,” President McKinley had said. But he didn’t understand the enemy. Personal decency, kindness and compassion were not defenses against leftist violence.
They were an opening and an incitement to violence.
In his confession, Czolgosz wrote that, “I read books on socialism and met a great many Socialists.”
"In the meetings I attended I heard people talk about the duty they were under to educate the people against the president form of government and they should all they could to change the government."
That was also Lee Harvey Oswald’s story. He read books on socialism and looked for someone to kill.
The left is not fighting racism, sexism, homophobia, income inequality or war. It is fighting us. It is not tearing down statues because they memorialize racists, but because they memorialize Americans.
It isn’t enough for them to have murdered President McKinley. They have to destroy his memory. The Communists in the Soviet Union didn’t just kill people; they erased them from photos and books. They made them non-persons. Their goal was to achieve a total control of the present through the past.
When Czolgosz spoke of replacing a government, it was a total replacement. He murdered the man, his comrades today are trying to eliminate his memory so that there will never have been a McKinley.
Do it enough times, tear down enough statues, rewrite enough books, teach enough lies and there will have never been an America.
The cult of the left worships history as the tea leaves forecasting an inevitable future. It is convinced that if it can rewrite history, it will write the future. It does this, as everything else, through lies, special pleading, hysterical outrage, self-righteous threats and finally the inevitable violence.
“No one would wish to hurt me,” President McKinley had said. Czolgosz, Obama and the Arcata City Council disagree. They want to hurt him. And all the rest of us.
And if they get their way, they will bully us, enslave us, kill us and finally erase us from history.