Early 20C Imperial Monument
(this time in a democratic context)
I have been to Mt. Rushmore, it truly is a beautiful monument, and the process to carve/blast/chisel the granite is nothing short of remarkable.
My problem with Mt. Rushmore is that is was constructed in an area sacred to the Lakota people. the mountain used to be called "six grandfathers". Carving American presidents into a granite mountain considered important to Native Americans certainly fits into Solivagant's conception of the monument as a Early 20th Century Imperial Monument.
Now, I am certainly not advocating the destruction of the monument! Nor am I arguing against preservation, but in my mind it has more place on a National heritage list then with UNESCO.
Many Egyptian, Chinese, or other ancient cultures have numerous giant sculptures or effigies, but by in large these represent cultures that no longer exist and often represent the pinnacle of that civilizations technology, artistry, or power. Does Mt. Rushmore represent this for the United States? Mt. Rushmore includes a President that died in 1919, less than 100 years ago. This is very different than the Statue of Liberty, which is linked to ideals and principles just as much or more than a specific nation. Mt. Rushmore is a memorial to American Presidents.
Despite my enjoyment of visiting Mt. Rushmore, and the stunning landscape of the monument, it is one of those iconic sites that just might not justify world heritage consideration. When the monument was originally created it was met with strong opposition from Native Americans, and today it still insights some controversy.