After Banning Confederate Memorials, Dems Now Focus On Destroying The Founders – by Brittany Soares
Leftists have managed to claim victory over the imagined evils of monuments commemorating the Civil War. Names have been changed, statues have come down, and the Confederate Battle Flag has been banned.
Now, the left is going after our Founding Fathers.
At James Madison Memorial High School in Verona, Wisconsin, a student is petitioning to have the name of her school changed. Why?
The student claims that the “significance of this name in association with my school has a negative effect on memorials [sic] black students. The lack of representation I feel in this school makes me feel more than unsafe.” The Weekly Standard reports that to date, the petition has received more than 1,500 signatures.
The petition on Change.org points out that America’s fourth president had over 100 slaves, and that fact makes the petitioner, Mya Berry, feel “unsafe.” She said that she has been called the “n-word” many times and was even threatened with a “lynching.”
This is an incredibly slippery slope. All of America’s Founding Fathers were imperfect men. Most were slave-owners, and I have no doubt others were genuine scoundrels.
But we owe them a debt of gratitude no matter what sins they may have committed. As Jay Cost writes: “If I contract somebody to paint my house, and I find out later that he is an adulterer, does that excuse me from paying what I owe? Of course not. By the same token, my debt for the painting does not oblige me to act as though he did not wrong his spouse.”
So it goes with the Founders who owned slaves: We should appreciate them for their endeavors, for our lives are manifestly better because of their struggles, but honoring them does not require us to ignore or excuse their errors. Madison’s home Montpelier, for example, just opened an exhibition, “The Mere Distinction of Colour,” exploring slavery at the plantation.
Wiping out America’s history because there are parts of it that are unsettling or unappealing is a leftist way of trying to re-write what this country was founded upon. If you can depict America’s founders as malevolent, evil men, you can paint the entire nation that way.
Wiping the Founders from the public memory, moreover, endangers the perpetuation of our republic. They were no doubt flawed men, but they were flawed men who invented this system of government. If we wish to make the most of our government, we have to understand how it functions. That requires us to understand what these men thought and did. The decisions they made, and the assumptions behind them, reverberate through the generations, into the present day. Public memorials are a way to keep us mindful of their continued influence, so that as we endeavor to understand civil society, we remember to look to them.
Newsweek contemplates the reasons liberals would find to revolt against the Founding Fathers next:
At first sight, the conflicts of the Civil War era appear radically different from other parts of US history. This was a war explicitly fought over the issue of slavery, and without slavery, it would not have happened, or at least not with remotely comparable passion and savagery.
Surely, we assume, the same was not true of the time of the Revolutionary War.
Yes, many of the Founding Fathers owned slaves, often on a substantial scale, and that was true not just of Washington and Jefferson but of the Madisons, Monroes, Lees, Rutledges, Harrisons, and Randolphs.
Unsurprisingly, the slavery issue surfaced repeatedly in the debates over the Constitution. But the defense of slavery did not stir or drive the revolutionary cause, as it would in 1861.
Many slave-owning Patriots were deeply ambiguous about the institution, and felt that its days were numbered. True abolitionism, meanwhile, was a marginal political phenomenon.
From this perspective, then, slavery was a regrettable fact of the time, but the Revolutionary War was just not about slavery, it was not a war for slavery, and it need not inspire sensitivities about racist commemoration.
With some relief, like earlier generations, we can still view the struggle for independence as a paradigmatic struggle for human liberty and national aspirations, embodying at once the highest goals of Christian humanism and the Enlightenment.
But as an intellectual exercise, imagine all the contemporary campaigners against white supremacy and racial oppression, in their ongoing quest to explore and purge historical vestiges of slavery and segregation, wherever they might appear. The ammunition for them in that Revolutionary era is actually quite abundant.
The Revolutionary War era will be the next terrain for struggles over historical revisionism, and it’s time to prepare for the debates. It is already starting to happen.
In late October a Virginia Episcopal church dating back to the 18th century decided to move a plaque honoring George Washington because it might make some parishioners uncomfortable.
It’s only going to get worse from here.