- The Washington Times - Monday, December 19, 2022

We have reached the point in the collapse of American leftist ideology where they are digging up the dead.

But first, they defile the living.

The most extraordinary thing about pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson — the monument of his career — is his lifelong devotion to fixing children with catastrophic brain injuries and abnormalities. Most famously, Dr. Carson led the first team of doctors to separate twins conjoined at the back of the brain.

The second most extraordinary thing about Dr. Carson is that he accomplished all this despite growing up in Detroit‘s public schools, one of the most dangerous, corrupt and dysfunctional school systems in the civilized world. 

A few years ago, Detroit Public Schools ranked dead last in reading and math. Among eighth graders, 93% failed reading and 96% failed math. How does a child emerge from that record of failure to become the world’s leading pediatric neurosurgeon?

Never mind that, says Detroit’s school board. These merchants of failure, hate and misery are too busy erasing Dr. Carson’s name from one of its high schools because he served in the Trump administration. One school board member complained that having a school named for the famous pediatric neurosurgeon was “synonymous with having Trump’s name on our school — in blackface.”

History has a special place for such hate. Richmond, Virginia, meanwhile, boasts a similar record of failure. 

Last year, the city notched a 15-year record high for murders. The city’s school system had the lowest graduation rate in the state. Sixty-five percent of public school students fail reading. Ninety percent fail math.

But what are Richmond city leaders singularly focused on? Tearing down the city’s statues erected after the Civil War honoring the warriors who fought and died protecting Richmond during that brutal war.

Monument Avenue had long been a snapshot of one of the defining moments in our nation’s history. It was a parade of stunning artistic achievement rivaling the Spanish Steps, the Champs-Elysees, the French Quarter or the Piazza della Repubblica.

Now stripped of its iron and stone — the drama of clenched horseflesh and drawn sabers — Monument Avenue in Richmond is today a flat, featureless passageway between city blocks through a miserable, failed city not worth saving. 

Memory, hope and inspiration are dashed. Murder is at a 15-year high. Hate reigns supreme.

What took Yankees four years with cannons and soldiers to do 150 years ago, modern Richmond city leaders did overnight.

But even that was not enough to quench city leaders’ thirst for hate — and desperate need to distract from the murder rates and failed schools for which they are entirely responsible.

The last vestige of Richmond’s once-proud artistic history was a statue to Confederate Gen. A.P. Hill. That last monument was more than just a statue, however. It was the gravestone marking the spot where Gen. Hill was buried, but buried there no more. City crews tore down the statue last week. His family was forced to come and collect what was left of his remains and move them out of the city.

“My family name is being desecrated,” said John Hill, who drove overnight from Ohio to carry out the grim task.

“Removing his remains was one of the saddest things I’ve ever had to do. The image of him in that hole will be in my head forever.”

As John Hill dug around in a pit for the general’s last bones, a crowd gathered outside to gawk, heckle and ridicule the ancestor of a brave general who was doing his duty. A brave general who owned no slaves, who fought to save Richmond a century and a half ago.

Mayor Levar Stoney — among those most responsible for Richmond’s failures today — was among the graveside hecklers.

“I’m proud we have arrived at this moment in our history,” he told reporters as Mr. Hill scrounged around in the grave, sifting through his sad inheritance. 

“Now we can turn the page and focus on lifting more people up, becoming more inclusive and creating a place where everyone belongs.”

Gen. Hill’s monument in Richmond is toppled now. In Detroit, Dr. Ben Carson’s name has been erased. But their achievements will live forever in the memories of good people.

Soon enough, Mr. Stoney and members of the Detroit school board will drift away, to be forgotten forever.

• Charles Hurt is opinion editor of The Washington Times.

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