Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
“This is today’s Virginia, not yesterday’s. And one day, when future generations look back at this moment, they will be able to learn about the inclusive, welcoming Commonwealth,” Governor Ralph Northam sourly declared as the statue of General Lee was pulled off its pedestal.
Yesterday’s Virginia was fairly recent because Northam had been photographed dressed either as a Klansman or in blackface back in 1984. Future generations however probably won’t be invited to learn about the inclusive and welcoming state being built by a hypocritical racist.
Northam submitted pictures of his own press conference, his wife’s face mask, and an anti-American poem read at his Juneteenth commemoration to the time capsule, but neglected to include his awkward Klan blackface picture as a gift to the inclusive people of the future.
It’s a little awkward that Monument Avenue now has no monuments, except a statue of tennis player Arthur Ashe who left Richmond when he was in high school, but the barren avenue is what happens when you spend all your time destroying things, instead of creating them.
Northam’s big show at the General Lee monument, replacing a time capsule from 1887 with a new capsule featuring the newly woke Virginia, hit a snag when they couldn’t find the old one.
The Democrat leaders had gathered a perfect capsule of the sort of things a leftist would value, like a sticker from today’s Klan, the Black Lives Matter movement, a face mask, and a magazine cover of the Lee monument graffitied with the face of George Floyd, a criminal who robbed a woman at gunpoint during a home invasion and died of a drug overdose triggering race riots.
But they couldn’t find the original 1887 time capsule.
After wrestling with the massive granite base for most of the day, and digging a hole, the woke vandals came up empty.
“After a couple of long hard days, it’s clear the time capsule won’t be found and Virginia is done with lost causes,” Northam’s spokesman snapped. “The search for this moldy Confederate box is over. We’re moving on.”
Were 21st century wokes outsmarted by 19th century southerners? Or did someone more modern figure out how to get at the time capsule before it could be ritually burned?
What is the new woke Virginia moving on to? As Governor Northam put it, “the capsule focuses on the story of race in Richmond”. Any future Virginians who open the time capsule will discover that the early 21st century was much more obsessed with race than the late 19th century.
The 1887 time capsule had plenty of Confederate materials: none of them dealing with race. It’s not the Virginians of 1887 who viewed the world purely in terms of race, but their modern descendants who are obsessed with race in the way that only obsessive racists are.
Like the sort of racists who dress up as klansmen before ushering in the new inclusive Virginia because they don’t actually believe in anything except tearing us apart to gain power.
The contrast between the 1887 and 2021 time capsules is revealing. The 1887 capsule contained plenty of Confederate, but also Masonic memorabilia. There were also a variety of coins, American, Confederate, and even British, city statistics, and commercial advertisements.
Along with a church history and a bible.
Bibles are notably absent from the 2021 time capsule which is dedicated to the new woke religion of leftist virtue signaling. The closest to any sort of religious content in the new woke capsule is a Presbyterian session on “dismantling racism” and a Zoom interfaith prayer featuring diverse clergy who, apart from the Muslim participants, almost certainly believe in nothing.
Northam and his cronies claim that the new time capsule represents a more welcoming Virginia, but it’s actually more parochial in its stifling ideological conformity. The 1887 capsule for all its championing of the Confederacy included a picture of Lincoln lying in his coffin. The men and women who assembled that capsule were capable of honoring the tragedy of Lincoln’s death.
There are no such concessions in the woke time capsule of 2021 to any other point of view.
“The creation of this new capsule is a response to the Virginia represented in the old capsule, which promoted Lost Cause mythology and only represented the stories and experiences of a small segment of society. It is also a representation of the Virginia of today, one rooted in our values of inclusion, equity, and diversity,” Governor Northam declared.
The stories and experiences in the woke capsule represent an even smaller tribal segment. If you’re not a black nationalist, politically gay or militantly feminist, there’s nothing there for you. The woke artifacts are concerned with tribal identity to a larger degree than the 1887 capsule. The archeologists of another century will see a self-conscious society of castes obsessed with its own conflicts while offering next to nothing in the way of unity or hope for the future.
A significant number of artifacts in the woke time capsule are concerned with the decision to vandalize and remove the General Lee statue. There are tributes to the Black Lives Matter race riots, to the bizarre efforts to revive the ERA, and fetishization of pandemic paraphernalia. What little art there is vulgar, tasteless, tribal, and predictably accuses America of racism.
The woke time capsule struggles to invent the last few years as a new era in history, a contemporary to the civil rights movement, but all it succeeds in doing is drawing a portrait of a broken age that is so obsessed with its momentary causes that it lacks all perspective.
The 1887 time capsule captured life decades after the end of the Civil War while the 2021 time capsule is a snapshot of a society on the verge of a new civil war. It’s easy to sneer at the reverence for Confederate history in the 1887 time capsule, but it’s far better than the mingled arrogance and rage of the 2021 time capsule which is entirely concerned with settling scores.
19th century Richmond was remembering the past while its 21st century counterparts are capable of nothing more than broadcasting war propaganda while celebrating their power. The men and women who hid the time capsule so well that the wokes have yet to find it did not expect that the future would recognize them as the winners. But Northam and his ilk are convinced that whoever opens this time capsule will cheer them on as crusading heroes.
The woke time capsule is the premature victory celebration of a civil war yet to come.
And yet there’s nothing in their time capsule that would convince any disinterested observer of the future that the woke cause deserves to win. The new inclusive Virginia, based on the contents of the capsule, has no art or music, is incapable of creating, only at best remixing, confuses vulgarity with creativity, and appears to have accomplished nothing in all this time.
Except to tear down a statue.
Even its radical causes, whether it’s Black Lives Matter, the ERA, or sexual politics, are always in motion, never actually fulfilled. These are the only things that the Democrats can think of to pass on to the future. It’s as if, given a chance to speak with our great-grandparents they would shout at us about bimetallism and railroad monopolies, or, as in Richmond, when speaking to our great-grandchildren, all we could do was shout “Stop Asian Hate” and “Black Lives Matter”.
What would any future Virginia think of people who would store Natalie Diaz’s lesbian Post-Colonial Love Poem, “I am in the dirt for you. Your hips are quartz-light and dangerous”, or photos of Northam’s own press conference on removing the General Lee statue for the ages?
They will rightly see them as feckless, inept, and decadent. A society that, like the declining days of ancient Rome and Egypt, whose caesars and pharaohs were obsessed with destroying the monuments of their predecessors, is destructive, and obsessed with power and pleasure.
And they won’t be far wrong.
We used to wonder what made the great empires and nations of the past fall so far from their glory days. Now all we need to do is pick through the trash that the incompetent master wokes deem worthy of showing off to the future to realize how far the nation has fallen into the gutter.
The woke time capsule was deliberately selected to replace the old Virginia with the new. Yet the woke vandals couldn’t even find the old time capsule and sneered that they didn’t need it anyway. Why bother searching for the past when all you want to do is destroy it anyway?
But what the men and women of Richmond understood in 1887 is that the past is built on the future. The past, like all things, is imperfect, but destroying it leaves us with nothing. Like the bare pedestals of Monument Avenue, the gutted storefronts, and a time capsule devoid of anything beautiful and constructive, what the Left has left is ruins, ugliness, and hate.
Inside the new woke time capsule is a snapshot of a nation on the verge of another civil war.