Column: Is this monument for keeping or destroying? A handy Q&A.


Given President Donald Trump’s recent activity with regard to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah, I think we had better clarify the guidelines for what is a Rare and Precious National Monument That Must Be Preserved at All Costs and what isn’t.

First, look at it. Ask yourself, does it spark joy? Then, also ask yourself the following:

• Would President Barack Obama have looked at it and felt happy?

• Is it more than a million acres of land that include sites sacred to five Indian nations and places of breathtaking natural beauty?

• Was it on the right side of the Civil War, geographically speaking or otherwise?

• Would it be weird to call it Jeff or "the Old General"?

• If someone sent you a calendar full of pictures of it, would you think that person wished you well?

• If Donald Trump Jr. walked onto it and shot a large mammal, would people be strangely upset?

• Is it like Mar-a-Lago, but lumpy and not good for golf?

• Could you fit a Trump golf course inside it, but for some reason there isn’t one?

• If you flew over it in an airplane, would you say, "Wow, how majestic," to yourself in a hushed tone?

• Does it make people who look at it feel pride in their heritage?

• Is it nature?

• As long as it exists, would a mirror that called Mar-a-Lago "the Fairest of Them All" be lying?

• Would it be a good place for coal mining?

If YES, it is probably a vile Obama Horcrux and you can destroy it right away. If NO, it is probably a national treasure that is good to preserve — but just to check, ask yourself the following:

• Has it been photographed with a bunch of white dudes standing around it with torches, looking proud and happy?

• Does it make people who look at it feel pride in their heritage (wink)?

• Hypothetically, if someone destroyed it, would they be able to rebuild it in fewer than millions of years?

• Is it wearing a little hat?

• Does it include a monument to a fake Civil War battle that never happened?

• It’s a Confederate statue, isn’t it?

If YES, don’t worry, it is definitely a precious artifact that preserves a vital part of our history, even though it was erected, like, six years ago by a group called Hey, Let’s Rethink the Civil War.

Glad we could clear this up!

Alexandra Petri is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences."
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