Staind’s Aaron Lewis Has a PhD in Logic
If Abraham Lincoln were alive today, he’d probably wanna be associated with the Republican Party like he’d wanna get shot in the back of the head while trying to enjoy a night at the theater. Still, a portion of the right loves to point out that Lincoln was a Republican, because it lends them nobility and disproves any allegations of racism… assuming you believe that nothing ever changes, no political party is capable of enlightenment or corruption, and every single person who belongs to a particular group is exactly the same.
Staind’s Aaron Lewis recently made this very argument during a rant to a crowd in Charleston, West Virginia (a state, it’s worth noting, founded during the Civil War by Virginians who very specifically did NOT want to be part of the Confederacy). Lewis’ new solo single, “Am I the Only One,” includes lyrics bemoaning “another statue comin’ down in a town near you.” That is already a deeply, deeply stupid sentiment, because it suggests that no statues of Confederate leaders are coming down in your actual town, which in turn suggests whatever threat the removal of these monuments poses, you are at least a few degrees removed from it. So it doesn’t even really make sense as propaganda.
Still, Lewis told the audience in Charleston this:
“All those statues, they were all Democrats. All of ’em. It’s funny how they’re trying to erase their own history. It’s THEIR history. It’s not the fault of America in any way, shape or form. The scars of America are not the scars of America. They’re the scars of the Democratic Party, plain and simple.”
If we take Lewis at his word, and the history of the Confederacy is the shame of the Democrats and the Democrats alone, then… why do Republicans care if they get taken down?
Is the idea here that the statues should be left up as a reminder of how evil the Democrats are? Is it meant to be a form of punitive branding? That doesn’t seem to be the argument Fox News pundits and the like make against tearing those monuments down. It also makes me wonder why the right wasn’t in favor of, say, leaving Saddam Hussein’s statue in Iraq alone.
But even if we pretend that, okay, they are indeed advocating a form of punitive branding, well, then… wouldn’t it still make more sense to replace those monuments with sculptures of abolitionist and Union leaders?
Or maybe Lewis is arguing that change is unpatriotic? But if that’s the case, we should have never added more stars to the American flag, right?
Seriously the more I try to untangle the “logic” behind Lewis’ assertion the more confused I become. He might as well have said this:
“The Bad Guys wanna tear down reminders that they did Bad Guy shit. These reminders were built in areas where the Bad Guys used to live but are now inhabited by Good Guys descended from the Bad Guys. These Good Guys do not want to tear down the reminders of the Bad Guy shit because those Bad Guys were really Good Guys. But the Bad Guys wanna tear that shit down so they can make the Good Guys forget who the Bad Guys were.”
Mercifully, Lewis cleared everything right the fuck up with his next utterance:
“They think it’s about statues. They don’t think it’s about the thousands of ships parked just off our ports unable to unload the goods that we need so desperately because the government is standing in the fucking way. It’s not about the fact that they are teaching our children to judge each other by the color of their skin. It’s not about the fact that we were all locked down while a bunch of Democrats rioted in the streets and burned down cities and looted stores. No, it’s not that at all. No, it’s about me defending a bunch of Democratic statues being torn down. It’s fucking really fucking ridiculous.”
Wait wait wait… you mean you don’t give a shit about the statues one way or the other? That’s great! In that case, I really only have question for you, Aaron:
Why is the lyric even in your song?