News flash, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife were found hiding in a grave in Memphis, Tennessee. Experts are confused as to how the couple remained unnoticed for 110 years. Nonetheless, the city council has elected to root them out and cart them off to, who knows, maybe a land fill somewhere northwest of Hahira, Georgia.
The removal of all things Confederate has now officially moved from the sublime to the ridiculous. Unless the suspected hidden agenda, that the University of Tennessee wants the land for expansion, is true. In that case it makes perfect sense.
No matter, the General is out of favor and has to go.
I fear that in this frenzy to whitewash the past we are neglecting to be fair and balanced. So far only the sins of the South have been featured. If we are to be fair then historic figures from the other side should also be noted. I shall now endeavor to do just that.
Cultural Cleansers, please stand ready to attack the memories, artifacts and monuments dedicated to the following men, all due to their crime of being men of their time judged by today’s ethics and mores. Let’s begin at the beginning.
George Washington was a slave owner and although he wrote and spoke quite a bit against the institution he never freed a single slave during his lifetime. His will stipulated that all his slaves be freed upon his wife’s death yet slave labor continued on Mount Vernon long after his passing.
Thomas Jefferson, despite all his writings about the equality of man, was a slave owner and a lifelong supporter of the practice. He opposed both private manumission and public emancipation. His will freed only five slaves, all relatives of his mistress Sally Hemings. His other slaves, nearly 200, were consigned to the auction block
Abraham Lincoln is called the Great Emancipator despite the fact that his racist views were widely known and his desire to free the slaves was in order to deport them en masse from the USA. His position is perhaps best summed up by an excerpt from the Lincoln Douglas debates.
Theodore Roosevelt, perhaps the most enlightened of this group, referred to “white Americans, as the ‘forward race’, who had the responsibility to raise the status of minorities through training the ‘backward race(s)’…”
If we are to approach a balanced cultural cleansing of all things related to historic figures who demonstrated bigotry against the African-American then we must venture north of the Mason-Dixon line. By cleansing our culture of the four listed above you lose Mt. Rushmore, The Washington Monument, Monticello, The Lincoln Memorial and the Hero of San Juan Hill.
Ridiculous? Perhaps but no more so than digging up a corpse, 110 years in the ground, along with his wife who’s bigotry or lack thereof is not documented.
And what of our past presidents? Let’s revisit just two for sake of brevity.
Woodrow Wilson, when questioned about his discriminatory policies against minorities said, “the purpose of these measures was to reduce the social friction building up in American society. They (his policies) are as far as possible from being a movement against the Negroes, I sincerely believe it to be in their interest.”
Herbert Hoover was a white supremacist. He believed blacks were inherently inferior and wanted to rid the Republican party of any blacks of position or influence.
Yet these monsters are not only mentioned favorably in history books, they are also allowed to have presidential libraries where their attitudes can be enshrined only to corrupt future generations. Cultural Cleansers, you have your work cut out for you.
And just for good measure, let’s toss in a national hero. For this slot I’ll nominate Lucky Lindy.
Charles Lindbergh was a great pilot but his political views would not stand him in favor today. “We, the heirs of the European culture, are on the verge of a disastrous war, a war within our own family of nations, a war which will reduce the strength and destroy the treasures of the White race…” And, “It is time to guard our heritage from the Mongol, Persian and Moor.”
Erasing all things Lindy can actually serve as a starting point for the cleansing of the first four mentioned above. Simply pull “The Spirit of St. Louis” from the museum, make it airworthy again and then crash it into Mt. Rushmore. Voila, a two-fer.
Okay, I’ve had my fun with the subject but on a serious note can any reasonable person believe that it is fair, or even possible to judge a person from the past outside the context of the times in which he or she lived?
The United States was by and large a racist nation. The enslaved Africans, as were the members of any minority you care to name, were not afforded equality nor were they regarded as worthy of an equal place in any aspect of society. No amount of cultural cleansing will expunge that fact.
The genius of our culture and our society is that it had the power to change, to grow in wisdom and understanding and to become a place where all are welcomed in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King.
This frenzy to alter the past is not helping us to move further along the path toward complete equality that so many have fought and died to blaze. Quite the contrary, it is divisive and counter productive.
Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Hoover would have reveled in what is being done to the history of this great nation.