After more than 20 years of stumbles and conflict, the Dwight D. Eisenhower memorial is finally finished and ready to open in Washington D.C. While you may think this is a time to celebrate the great World War II general and our 34th President, The Washington Post on Friday used a front-page review of the memorial to bash the “pathetic” United States. He also hammered the Republican Party and deride Ike for not being sufficiently woke.
Philip Kennicott, the art and architecture critic for the paper managed to review and (mostly) praise the design and grandeur of the memorial, but he then shifted into bashing the current version of the Republican Party:
The opening of the memorial will now happen as the current political season enters its final chapter before the Nov. 3 election, which means it could prompt some anguish and soul-searching about the Republican Party. Eisenhower may have been a Republican, but he was a very different politician than his party now supports. It is difficult to imagine him tolerating a Republican president who avoided military service, mocked the war record of the late senator John McCain, and successfully embroiled the military in crushing a peaceful political demonstration outside the White House.
Then Kennicott criticized Ike for not supporting gay rights... in 1953.
Eisenhower’s career, especially as president, was far from unblemished. He cozied up to the brutal dictator of Spain — Francisco Franco — toppled the elected leader of Iran and signed Executive Order 10450, which barred gay and lesbian people from government service and led to the purge of thousands of LGBT federal employees, a milestone in the annals of bigotry.
Finally, the Post journalist seethed about the “passing age” and how modern America is “pathetic.”
This won’t be the last memorial erected in Washington, but it feels a bit like the last memorial of a passing age. The idea of great men is necessarily more complicated and fraught than it was when this memorial was conceived. The country that Eisenhower led to victory three-quarters of a century ago is now a pathetic object, mocked and pitied around the world, unable to keep its people safe from a virus that other countries have contained.
Kennicott has a real problem with America, having previously mocked the “abject failure of America.” (Because our libraries are not aesthetically pleasing?) He also dismissed Mount Rushmore as “colossal kitsch,” nothing more than a “populist spectacle.” In May, the Post writer sneered that America is “desperately sick.”
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