Thursday 19 January 2023

House Bill Aims To Prevent Destruction Of Mount Rushmore

 House Republicans are proposing legislation to protect Mount Rushmore from being renamed or destroyed.

The bill comes as Native Americans and others have protested the national memorial, located in South Dakota, which features sculptures of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt carved into a mountain in the Black Hills.

Introduced Tuesday by Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD), the bill would require no federal funds be used to make any alterations or remove any feature of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Nine Republicans have signed on as co-sponsors, according to No Democrats are listed as co-sponsors.

“Our nation’s history is not without its flaws, but there is no doubt the faces on Mount Rushmore represent democracy, freedom and the great American experiment,” Johnson said, according to Fox News. “Removing or changing Mount Rushmore will not change the past and will not move us forward as a country. We must protect Mount Rushmore for generations to come.”

Johnson previously introduced the “Mount Rushmore Protection Act” in 2022 in response to former NBA player Jalen Rose’s call to “retire” the monument. At the time, Rose said Mount Rushmore “should be offensive to all of us, especially Native Americans and indigenous people, who were the first people here before Christopher Columbus. That land was stolen from them.”

Native American leaders have criticized Mount Rushmore as a symbol of “white supremacy” and “structural racism.” They have also called for its removal. Suggestions of going as far as to blow up the monument prompted Governor Kristi Noem (R-SD) in 2020 to say, “Not on my watch.”

Noem announced last week the Biden administration again rejected her request for a permit to have a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore for Independence Day. Former President Donald Trump delivered a speech at Mount Rushmore on July 3, 2020, the last time fireworks were permitted at the site. Trump said last week fireworks at the monument would make a return if he is reelected president.

“President Trump gave us the Freedom to celebrate Independence Day with fireworks at Mount Rushmore,” Noem said in response. “Let’s bring it back in 2025! And we’ll keep pushing Biden to do the right thing until then.”

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