We are living in a time when certain congresspeople sound more concerned about the Palestinian people than American citizens, as none of the 2020 Democratic president hopefuls issued any support for Israel as that nation suffered under an attack of 700 rockets from the terrorist group Hamas-controlled West Bank.
So it’s not entirely surprising that two stories featuring a high school and a college trying to erase the Founding Fathers didn’t get much attention. After all, America is the problem, they tell us.
But there is good news during this time when some want this country to be considered the Great Satan and unworthy of support. And one of the best ways to take a nation from inside is to destroy its history and heroes. While they try, the good news is, some are pushing back.
In the recent past, attempts to erase American history manifested as vandalism or protests to remove commemorating Confederate generals and Southern Civil War dead. But our past is a fact, one that reminds us how far we have come.
We absolutely should have conversations about our history, as being an American is like practicing medicine — you must work at it every day. But becoming a better people and nation requires knowing and understanding your past. Toppling statues and erasing people from paintings and pictures accomplishes one thing — making it impossible to understand who we are.
And perhaps that’s the point.
Now, instead of focusing on the Civil War Southern military imagery, the move to condemning the Founding Fathers is here. A working group at a high school on Northern California has recommended “archiving” a panel painting featuring former President George Washington.
The College Fix reported the group’s statement, “We come to these recommendations due to the continued historical and current trauma of Native Americans and African Americans with these depictions in the mural that glorifies slavery, genocide, colonization, manifest destiny, white supremacy, oppression, etc. This mural doesn’t represent [San Francisco Unified School District] values of social justice, diversity, united, student-centered. It’s not student-centered if it’s focused on the legacy of artists, rather than the experience of the students.”
A historian wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal condemning the move and told College Fix there “is a deeply wrongheaded habit to project today’s norms, values, ideals backwards in time to find our ancestors inevitably falling short. It betrays a very troubling intolerance of art and the ambiguity of art and the aspirations of art,” he told the group. He added “that the ‘mural is not a celebration of genocide, it’s a challenge to westward expansion.’ “
In other words, context matters, but don’t tell that to anyone desperate to apply today’s social justice warrioring to the past. The mural’s future remains to be decided.
In March, on the opposite coast of the country, students at Hofstra University in New York rallied once again to have a statue of Thomas Jefferson removed. Fox News reports, “Hofstra University student activists are calling for the removal of a statue of Thomas Jefferson from campus near New York City because they say the third American president represents racism and slavery. Students participated Friday in the second annual ‘Jefferson Has Gotta Go!’ event over the statue that has been subject to protests and acts of vandalism in the past, with some previously defacing it with ‘DECOLONIZE’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’ slogans.”
A petition to remove the statue argues, “‘Jefferson’s values aided in the construction of institutionalized racism and justified the subjugation of black people in the United States,’ the petition read. ‘Jefferson has been embraced as an icon by white supremacist and neo-nazi organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan and online white supremacist chat rooms.’”
So, now we’re going to let racist lunatics in online chatrooms control how we view the past and present? Let’s not. The fact is, the Founding Fathers were flawed people. We all are in some fashion. The good news is we continually work at becoming a better people and nation. We endured a horrific civil war costing the lives of at least 620,000 Americans, specifically to change who we were.
While the call to erase people from history, to take down statues, and remove art is couched in terms of “safety” or preventing “trauma,” the fact of the matter is you can only begin to destroy a nation by erasing its past and killing its heroes. Americans have historically made clear we reject racism and bigotry. Appealing to that sense of fairness makes sense, especially when the goal is to strike at the heart of a nation’s history from which we derive our understanding of ourselves.
The United States exists as an idea. We are a nation which was not naturally formed due to geography, language or a shared history. Being an American stems from the idea of freedom. If you can demonize those who established that idea, remove them from the public square and even make it dangerous to discuss or laud them, America itself begins to disappear.
The left knows this full well. For everyone else who understands the vital importance of our history, it’s time to make sure we do not surrender to this bizarre assault on our Founding, our heroes, and the past in general.
• Tammy Bruce, president of Independent Women’s Voice, author and Fox News contributor, is a radio talk-show host.