Good Riddance, Teddy

Statue of Theodore Roosevelt in front of the American Museum of Natural History in New York

I cannot tell you how happy I am that the statue in front of the American Museum of Natural History IS GOING TO BE REMOVED!

When I lived in New York City from 1996 to 1999, it was in an apartment on the Upper West Side, not far from that gigantic institution. So I walked by this statue often, and I could not BELIEVE that it was allowed to continue to stand there, reminding us of the dominance of the Great Inventor of the Stuffed Bear over lesser clothed lesser beings.

I used to complain to people: “Why can’t somebody do something about this? Can’t all the black activists and all the indigenous activists get it removed??”

The response: “Believe me, we’ve tried.”

“Why can’t people get together and just pull it down?” Admittedly, this would have been a particularly daunting task. This is a HUGE statue not in the middle of a park but in the middle of… well… Manhattan. Would-be statue-destroyers would have been immediately heard and immediately arrested and then roundly booed by most New Yorkers for desecrating a beloved institution.

So, now that I think about it, I can understand why the black and indigenous activists chose to concentrate on other things.

At least somebody could have thrown a little paint on it. Why didn’t I throw a little paint on it? Then I would have been able to tell you now that I did it, with a link to the New York Times article recording the mysterious act by an unknown perpetrator. I would have been so PROUD.

I would have bought a big can of red paint, gone in the middle of the night with the paint and the little thingie that opens paint cans. I would have worn some kind of cape so that if I spilled red paint on myself, I could have thrown the cape away in the bushes and been able to walk home paint-free … really stroll, not run… no, never run….

But what if I got red paint on my SHOES?? If I got paint on my shoes, then I would leave tracks all the way back to my apartment!! I might as well leave my business card! No, I would have to walk home in my socks… barefoot probably, because my socks would have paint on them too…

But I would inevitably step on something sharp and cut my feet, and then my BLOOD would be all over the pavement not far from the despised statue. And when the police found my shoes and socks in the bushes and noticed the blood on the pavement, they would put two and two together …. Again, might as well leave my business card….

Okay. I would have been caught. I would have been arrested. But then when I went to trial, all the black and indigenous activists would have demonstrated outside the courthouse for this white middle-class old woman who courageously… maybe….

Well, at least I was outraged and complained about it. That’s gotta count for SOMETHING!

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Terry Baum

Terry Baum

Terry Baum is an actress, director, teacher, filmmaker, political activist, and award-winning lesbian playwright. Her blog BAUMBLOG is a “Top 100 LGBTQ Blog.”