The vandalism and removal of Confederate Civil War monuments no longer makes news in these jaded times. Now, however, the movement to obliterate history is sliding down the slippery slope that is its inevitable conclusion: The elimination of memorials to our (slave-owning) Founding Fathers.
At Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, established in the late 1700s, one of those Founding Fathers was George Washington. There, the man who knelt and prayed at Valley Forge that awful winter more regularly knelt and prayed at Sunday services.
Leaders at the historic place of worship recently decided that it was time for the monument to President Washington to be removed. They believe the monument has become too divisive and is causing some in the congregation to avoid going to church.
Washington and others who were instrumental in the creation of our nation previously had been begrudgingly given a pass by the Left. That was when there were more likely targets to be wiped from the history books. Now, with the vanquishing of 150-years dead Southern soldiers, people four score and seven years even “deader” are now fair game.
Emboldened by their victory over dead Confederates, the Left now enters the next campaign in the culture war: The one where they destroy the memory of the very people who established their right to protest.
The problem with demanding perfection from our historical figures is that the definition of the word changes with the times. Just a few years ago, little criticism was leveled at the patriots who began the Great American Experiment. This was because we understood that a person is a product of their times, not ours.
The issue, of course, is slavery. Like most prominent members of colonial society in the Southern United States, a number of Founding Fathers were slave-owners. This fact is used as proof that even the creators of a nation can be less than perfect.
What a surprise! Humans aren’t perfect. In the narrow lens of the immediate present, people from the past are even less so. The Left believes that the centuries don’t matter. Indeed, if they lived in Italy, they would be smashing 2000-year-old Roman statues because the emperors had slaves. The erasure of history is the only logical end point of the current disdain for the West.
But the times do matter. Most people aren’t angels. The good deeds of some, however, outweigh the bad; a few imperfect people still deserve to be remembered and, yes, honored.
Given recent news stories, you might consider a womanizer as a person to be vilified; but both JFK and MLK, two figures commonly placed on pedestals, were unfaithful to their spouses. Should their accomplishments be stricken from memory?
No. We should accept the messy nature of society and humanity, where greatness and vileness are not mutually exclusive. These figures should be measured as men (and women), not saints. Perhaps George Washington cannot meet the criteria for sainthood; honestly, who can? Why would a modern American even want to strive for greatness if their legacy can only consist of their flaws?
The liberal elite doesn’t care if we aspire to greatness. They only care that we toe the line of political correctness. They show us how un-heroic our heroes really are, and what a plague Western civilization has wrought upon the planet. They encourage a culture war against racism, sexism, and other -isms in a country that has been doing better at overcoming all these issues than at any time in its history.
If we can only honor the blameless and remember the saint-like, you probably should throw away all those family pictures on the wall. You should forget you have parents, children, or any family other than your social justice nannies. Knock down all the statues of humans and, in the future, only construct those representing notably well-behaved dogs (but definitely not cats).
Evidence of George Washington’s existence may soon no longer be seen at his church, but no culture warrior can wipe out his legacy and those of other Founding Fathers. The Left may convince some to judge yesterday’s (and today’s) patriots unfairly, but perhaps we can convince others just how much we owe them.
Views expressed in op-eds are not the views of The Daily Caller.