Washington DC is a city of monuments. National capitals tend to be that way. We've got some incredible memorials there. The Lincoln Memorial will leave you awe-struck. The Jefferson captures so much about the man who stirred this nation into revolution and then a successful democracy for more than 200 years. The Washington monument is a landmark that guides you around much of the capital.
It took much too long for a World War II memorial, but if you've been there and seen it you had to be impressed. It is a fitting way to recall the sacrifices of the millions during that epic struggle. And if you've visited The Wall, you may have come away depressed as I do with each visit.
We unveiled another landmark on the mall this week. My impression is that there is very much wrong with it. It is not America although it purports to honor a great and influential American.
Martin Luther King Memorial Dedicated
This is not the sort of visage on a monument which we erect in America. There is nothing wrong with honoring the man, but we know what this sort of a statue is reminscent of.
In a period of massive unemployment in America someone out-sourced the statue to China. The sculptor's greatest achievements were monumental memorials to Mao Tse Tung. This is the sort of art that typifies the repressive dictatorships of despots like Mao. You've seen the same sort of statue of Stalin and Lenin throughout the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc of Europe. You saw something similar in the center of Baghdad torn down during the Gulf War.
The entire monument is titled, "The Mountain of Despair"! Really? Is that a fitting tribute to equality, opportunity and the American Dream? Within a few hundred yards of the Lincoln Memorial we have a Mountain of Despair? That must be wrong.
And the statue of the man himself? "The Statue of Hope". It doesn't look like Hope. It looks like a huge mistake and an aberration in the center of a nation which symbolized so much more in the years not long past.