After all the national trauma over public statues I have been anxiously waiting to see what new public monuments would spring up. Would the landscape be planted with fresh bronze likenesses of Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and other brave and deserving American leaders?
Well, now we have a partial answer.
A statue honoring Marion Barry, Jr. has been plopped down on Pennsylvania Avenue.
If you will recall, Mayor Barry (Democrat) served three terms as “Mayor for Life” of Washington D.C. In the middle of his third term Mayor Barry was arrested in a hotel room where he was inhaling crack and hooking up with a woman who was not his wife.
Mayor Barry’s tenure in office was notable for the chaos he brought to his administration and the endless scandals.
But his constituents loved him. Like all good demagogues Marion Barry had considerable charm. He was the snake oil salesman in a town that specializes in snake oil.
The eight foot bronze clad Barry is artistically in line with all the heroic monuments of Mao in China and the various Dear Leaders of North Korea — Soviet style junk.
Great public monuments are often inscribed with a memorable quote. Sadly, Mayor Barry’s statue has no such engraving. But it should. As he was being handcuffed Marion Barry mumbled his most famous words: “Bitch set me up.”