Think it can't happen here?
It can happen here.
That's the warning from a young woman from Venezuela, who has seen the statue-topplings before — and the street-renamings, (and the flag-alterings, and the name-changings) along the destruction of history, and knows exactly where it leads.
She made this powerful video here:
"Why do I even worry about some silly little statues coming down? Or some silly little street names changing? Why do I care? It's because the last time I didn't care about this, I was a teenager. I have already lived through this thing, when I was living in Venezuela " she begins.
"Statues came down, [Hugo] Chávez didn't want the history displayed. Then he changed the street names, then came the (school) curriculum, then some movies couldn't be shown on certain TV channels. And so on, and so forth...
"You guys think it can't happen to you. I've heard this so many times. But always be on guard, never believe that something can't happen to you. You need to guard your country and your society or it will be destroyed."
She concludes: "And there's clearly a lot of people wanting to destroy the U.S."
Why is what she says so powerful? Because it's true.
It really happened that way in Venezuela. The statue-topplings began in 2004 and were dismissed then as disturbing but still largely a Chavista clown show for the cameras at the time.
When I visited Venezuela in late 2005, the trajectory of her warning — from statue-topplings to curriculum change, was advancing. I was privileged to experience the "curriculum" changes that followed firsthand from the red-shirted Chavista "Bolivarian Circles" in the shantytowns — where they invited me to come in and sample the communist propaganda — conducted by 1960s backwash professors of complete ignorance but total ideological zeal, to bored, disconsolate peasants who simply wanted the paycheck that came at the end for attending.
I also recall the dismissals of anything truly terrible happening at the time. I went to an investment banking conference in Caracas, where the suits said the government was "very strong" but there was nothing to worry about, things would eventually correct themselves, and in any case, there was still money to be made for the bold.