Smart liberals assured me during the debate over tearing down statues of Robert E. Lee that there was a distinction between Lee and Founding Fathers like Washington and Jefferson. The latter were slaveholders but their participation in slavery wasn’t their claim to historical fame. America itself was. They were patriots who laid down freedom, equality, and democracy as foundational values for their new country, hypocritical though they were in applying those values to their own households. Celebrations of them are proper provided that their slaveholding isn’t whitewashed from the record. Lee, however, was a traitor who staked his historical legacy on defending a slave republic. That’s why he’s celebrated. There’s no other reason. There’s no place for monuments to a character like that in an America that’s trying to live up to its founding ideals.
Whereas smart righties assured me that it was all a ruse, that Woke Olympians would inevitably proceed to Washington and Jefferson once they were done with Lee. “Year Zero” logic requires it. There’s always another historical criminal to prosecute for the sake of Progress.
I prefer the “yes to Washington and Jefferson, no to Lee” rule. But if you don’t trust the left to follow that rule, well, I don’t either.
[The Charlottesville City] Council voted, 4-1, to remove April 13 as a paid holiday at its meeting on Monday. Councilor Kathy Galvin cast the lone vote in opposition. She has previously cited Jefferson’s contributions to the nation’s founding.
Council then voted unanimously to establish March 3 as Liberation and Freedom Day and provide employees a floating holiday…
Scott Wawner was the lone speaker to implore council not to eliminate Jefferson’s birthday, saying he felt compelled to “defend the honor” of the former president.
When Wawner said Jefferson built Monticello and University of Virginia, he was greeted by hecklers who said “slaves built Monticello” and the college.
Liberation and Freedom Day marks the day that slaves in Virginia were freed by Union troops in 1865. “Thomas Jefferson is the R. Kelly of the American Enlightenment,” said a professor at the university Jefferson founded at the hearing about his practice of abusing his slaves, which would make for a fine inscription to add to the Jefferson Memorial in Washington. Alongside the bits about the Declaration of Independence, religious freedom, and the University of Virginia: “The R. Kelly of the American Enlightenment.”
Might as well. It’s not like the Jefferson Memorial will last more than a few more decades anyway.
Breitbart recalls that Trump warned explicitly about this in his famous presser after the Charlottesville brawl involving white nationalists in 2017:
Those people were also there, because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue Robert E. Lee. So – excuse me – and you take a look at some of the groups and you see, and you’d know it if you were honest reporters, which in many cases you’re not. Many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. So this week, it’s Robert E. Lee, I noticed that Stonewall Jackson’s coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after. You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?
Where does it stop? Before you know it, major companies will be pulling their products out of stores just because they happen to have a colonial flag on them. You know, like this one:
That Betsy Ross flag sure fell out of fashion quickly. (Photo: 2nd Obama inaugural, 2013) pic.twitter.com/8xg8xCPLXb
— David Martosko (@dmartosko) July 3, 2019
Year Zero, buddy. Whatever happened in 2013 is as irrelevant to Progress as 1776 is.
I assume the president will be tweeting about this soon, and I don’t blame him. Public fatigue at the woke idol-smashers is one of his greatest political assets. It’s very on-brand for 2019, though, that the political choice presented to us on this holiday seems to be Trump’s dopey tank pageant on the one hand and dishonoring Thomas Jefferson on the other. Modern American politics in a nutshell.