by Mark Angelides
A pastor from Chicago, James Dukes, has taken the next, almost inevitable step of calling for the erasure of prominent historical figures from public view; specifically folks like George Washington and Andrew Jackson. After the events in Virginia made it “acceptable” to erase history that some people (any peple) find offensive, it is completely unsurprising that the whole nation’s history is under attack.
Did George Washington own slaves? Yes!, But should we condemn people for essentially living what was a normal life for the time? Consider, the people at that time in history didn’t think it out of the ordinary to own slaves; they were “condoning” slavery…almost all of them. And what of black folks who were slave owners in those days? Did they too accept it as part of everyday life? So were they too “condoning” slavery? Native Americans also kept slaves.
So if we realize that the vast majority of people in the US condoned slavery, y the same logic, should the vast majority of history be removed from sight, so as not to provide (as Dukes says) “a slap in the face,” to people who might be angered by it?
History, the good, the bad, the proud and the shameful, needs to be accepted as a whole. If we remove the challenges, the triumphs become lessened; and the lessons learnt become mere fables or morality tales.
At some point, almost every historical figure who achieved anything has likely upset someone or some group. We cannot rewrite history to save feelings, but rather should look upon them as markers to show how far we have come as a species.
Dukes wants the parks and facilities bearing the names Washington and Jackson not actually removed, but repurposed to celebrate people who have the same names but not the actual figures they were named for. This in many ways is even worse, it is the airbrushing of history.
Throughout the 20th Century, Stalin, Mao Zedong and even Hitler all engaged in historical rewriting. Hitler removed people from photographs, and Stalin tried to erase every mention of Trotsky. Is this the kind of example we want to follow?
We all need to acknowledge what slavery was and remember it as a dark period of blindness. The people of the time were wrong in their beliefs about the value of human life, but not about everything else. To erase Washington would be to essentially erase the birth of a nation. But perhaps this is what the Left actually want.
by Mark Angelides