Let me quote, er, myself, two days ago:
Some of the skepticism about removing Confederate tributes is due to southern cultural pride but I suspect most of it outside the south springs from the understandable fear that lefties who come after Robert E. Lee today will come after George Washington tomorrow. A statue of Thomas Jefferson was toppled just a few days ago in Oregon, in fact. If the left insists on bundling the Founding Fathers together with the Confederate leadership and making racism, including slaveholding, the disqualifying factor in honoring influential Americans of the past then the public will feel it has no choice but to protect that entire bundle. We’re not giving up Washington and Jefferson, period. But if treason against the United States is the disqualifying factor then the Confederates can be unbundled and discarded.
If these people can’t or won’t distinguish between a monument to someone *despite* their view of slavery and a monument to someone *because of* their view of slavery then the righteous cause of purging the country of tributes to degenerate traitors will derail. Most Americans, me included, will never condone this:
Andy Ngo surveyed the scene in the aftermath. Note the “1619” graffiti:
Portland wakes up to see what antifa did overnight. A century old statue of George Washington was toppled & set on fire with an American flag. “White fragility,” “Damn white men” & other messages are written on the moment. On the ground nearby: “Defund white men.” pic.twitter.com/zjrsZHJC9o
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) June 19, 2020
“I cannot believe the kind of gratuitous own goal this mindlessness represents,” says writer Thomas Chatterton Williams:
People (on the left!) are doing something I did not think was possible a day ago––they are actually making Donald Trump look prescient and even like a sobering voice of moderation here: https://t.co/1AJvRwxOJC
— Thomas Chatterton Williams 🌍 🎧 (@thomaschattwill) June 19, 2020
The video of the Washington statue toppling is the most effective Trump ad that will run all year. But the scene in Portland wasn’t the most ominous gesture yesterday towards purging America’s Founders. That came in New York. We expect mobs to be ignorant and to lash out recklessly. We expect legislators to be (slightly) better. Not in NYC:
A group of Big Apple local elected officials on Thursday formally asked Mayor Bill de Blasio to remove the statue of Thomas Jefferson from City Hall as the fallout from the George Floyd killing continued to mount.
“His words are ‘all men are created equal’ but they were not matched by his action, which included the ability to sell, buy, mortgage and lease human beings,” Councilwoman Debi Rose (D-Staten Island) said of the Founding Father who authored the Declaration of Independence.
“He believed black people to be racially inferior, said black Americans and white Americans could not live peacefully side by side and he fathered as many as six children with a woman he enslaved,” added Rose, who along with Council Speaker Corey Johnson was one of five members to sign the demand.
The bad news is that even the Council speaker is onboard with this garbage effort. The good news is that, collectively, the five signatories represent less than one-tenth of the entire City Council. And that body is almost entirely Democratic; if this view were uniformly shared among Dem legislators, there should have been dozens of members endorsing the effort. Instead, one Democratic member from Queens said he was “appalled” and “ashamed” to see Thomas Jefferson in the left’s crosshairs. “Yes, we have blemishes in our past,” he said, “and I can understand wanting to remove Confederate generals’ statues. But where does it end?”
Where does it end?
The proper remedy here isn’t to demolish tributes to the Founding Fathers but to erect tributes to influential people who recognized their great flaw before others did. We have too many statues of Confederates but not enough of Frederick Douglass and John Brown. And Ben Shapiro’s right in the tweet below. The project of recognizing black Americans as fully part of America’s heritage needs more addition and less subtraction. Although subtracting traitors remains A-OK by me.
Juneteenth should absolutely be a national holiday. It's a reminder of the horrors of slavery and racism, and the virtuous quest to vitiate the evils of bigotry and tyranny by vindicating the universal ideals of the founders.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) June 19, 2020