Ohio town offers to be a sanctuary city... for statues

The move by the city manager of Newton Falls, Ohio is calling for his town to become a sanctuary city. No, not a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants, but one for statues that are no longer welcome in other cities. It’s an amnesty plan for statues, so to speak.

More accurately, it’s a rescue plan for unwanted statues. Instead of busting them up, as angry mobs across the country are doing, or removing them in a more orderly way, the city of Newton Falls is granting amnesty for statues of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant, Patrick Henry, Francis Scott Key, Theodore Roosevelt, and Christopher Columbus. That’s a pretty good list of historical figures, right?

On Saturday, David Lynch, the city manager of Ohio’s Newton Falls outlined his proposal in a written proclamation letter. The letter was published by local news outlets.

“I, David M Lynch, as City Manager for the City of Newton Falls do hereby proclaim that Newton Falls shall be known as a ‘Statuary Sanctuary City’ welcoming statues rejected by other cities across the United States and also proclaiming a general amnesty for George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant, Patrick Henry, Francis Scott Key, Theodore Roosevelt and Christopher Columbus as represented by statues removed all the across the United States,” the letter stated.

Lynch went on to state that while great leaders of our country and Western Civilization have been flawed, it is proper to acknowledge their achievements – ending slavery, establishing and protecting national parks, establishing anti-trust laws, and certainly the discovery of the New World itself. Lynch pledges to put the statues in a place of honor and respect “to inspire greatness and achievement by all who observe them.”

Newton Falls Mayor Kenneth Kline is supporting the plan.

“These statues are history and we love our country,” he wrote in an email. “The thought was that if others don’t appreciate our Nation’s history, we sure do in Newton Falls. We love this country and I believe it would be a great opportunity to teach our children.”

The mayor also said the city “would love to have the opportunity” to display the statues for future visitors.

That is a refreshing take from a mayor during these times of civic unrest. I am not the only person who is frustrated by the lack of leadership in cities across the country where destroying public property, like monuments, is allowed to happen without consequences. Granted, most of these places are governed by Democrats with jaded senses of history, but as long as it continues, it is encouraging to see alternatives being offered. I call it the Howard Zinn generation – the students who have been affected by socialist historian and author Howard Zinn. His anti-American book, “A People’s History of the United States”, was placed on syllabuses in schools across the country in the 2000s, including the high school AP History class of my own son. Yes, I went full ‘Karen’ at the time but my complaints about that choice of the book were ignored.

The destruction of statues happening now has nothing to do with the death of George Floyd or police or even racial injustice. It has to do with the Black Lives Matter movement which is Marxist at its core and sometimes violent. The movement has a ‘by any means necessary’ mentality and that includes angry mobs destroying public property. A good example of the ignorance on display is the destruction of a statue of Frederick Douglass in upstate New York on Sunday. Frederick Douglass. Not only was the statue ripped from its base, but Sunday was also the 168th anniversary of his most important speech condemning slavery. This isn’t about racial injustice when a historically important American abolitionist is being erased by an angry, destructive mob. There is no excuse for that.

Rochester police said that the statue was taken from its base in Maplewood Park and carried about 50 feet to a site near the Genesee River gorge, according to The Associated Press. The base, lower part of the statue and a finger on its left hand were reportedly damaged.

Carvin Eison, a leader of a project that brought a Douglas statue to the park in the city, told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle that another statue would have to take its place because the damage was too significant to repair.

“It’s particularly painful that it happened at this time,” Eison told the newspaper. “It’s really sad because here in Rochester the statue of Frederick Douglass has always been a face of good.”

Douglass’ most famous speech was delivered in Rochester, N.Y. He addressed national independence as it related to the lives of slaves.

Douglass, who was born a slave in Maryland, delivered one of his most famous speeches on July 5, 1852 in Rochester. The speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July,” questioned the Fourth of July celebration of freedom and liberty in a nation that enslaved people.

“What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence?” he asked while speaking before the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society. “Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us?…What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?

“I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.”

If Black Lives Matter and its supporters truly were interested in working towards solutions, Frederick Douglass would not have been touched. Perhaps the Newton Falls leaders can add his name to the list of statues for which they are granting amnesty.