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President Trump was mocked for suggesting that after tearing down Confederate statues, they would move on to statues of Washington and Jefferson. History has proven he wasn’t wrong, he merely underestimated how far the left is willing to take the Culture Wars. (The Culture Wars polite Republicans and “principled conservatives” think we should have no part of.) They came for Robert E. Lee, they came for Stonewall Jackson, and conservatives-with-dad-bods did nothing. Now, they’re coming for Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones.
The past several years have seen a reassessment of our country’s many mythologies — from the legends of the generals of the Confederacy to the historical glossing over of slaveholding founding fathers. But as we take another look at the sins of our historical figures, we’ve also had to take a hard look at our more immediate past and present, including the behavior of the creators of pop culture. That reassessment extends now to the people who wrote some of our best-loved songs. But what to do with the art left behind? Can I still love their music if I’m appalled by various events in the lives of Johnny Cash or Elvis or Jerry Lee Lewis? Or by Eric Clapton’s racist rants and anti-vaccination activism?