As you probably have heard by now, a committee appointed by D.C. Mayor and provocateur Muriel Bowser is seeking to “remove, relocate, or contextualize” the Jefferson Memorial.
The report of the Bowser committee is a doozy. It even has pie charts. One indicates that 63 percent of DC residents agree answer affirmatively the question, “Should the District make changes to public spaces or commemorative that do not align with the District’s core values?”
Alas, Thomas Jefferson isn’t the only Founding Father who apparently doesn’t “align” with the values of contemporary Washington. George Washington doesn’t align with Washington’s core values! Indeed, the Washington Monument and a statue of Benjamin Franklin, on a long list of other statues, monuments, don’t come up to the Bowser committee’s standards.
The Wall Street Journal took note of the situation this morning in an editorial:
The committee says it hunted for historical figures with “key disqualifying histories, including participation in slavery, systemic racism, mistreatment of, or actions that suppressed equality for, persons of color, women and LGBTQ communities and violation of the DC Human Right Act.” The bureaucrats worked with uncharacteristic dispatch, taking six weeks to render the judgment of history on 1,330 properties named for people.
The committee doesn’t explain its case against Franklin, but we can assume he was judged for once owning slaves. He was later president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, but anyone who believes the report is a considered historical exercise and not an Orwellian effort in ideological reprogramming has been taken in.
Somebody said this latest move is jumping the shark. I wish I could believe that, but I am not sure. I can see why we are aghast at the names of men and women who made our country appearing on such a list.
But in a way, this misses the point. I don’t think the people who want to remove or “contextualize” statues care much whose statue it is that is smashed. It is the smashing itself that matters.
It is not the specific heroes or heroines that are under attack. It’ s our civilization, in its entirety.