It used to be an honor to have something named after you. Now, it’s a nightmare.
Students who are finally returning to campus after 18 months of lockdowns will certainly reignite the trend of removing the names of historical figures from campus buildings. Proponents of the see-racism-everywhere crowd have made it their goal to boil down any individual whose name appears on a park, highway, or city to the worst of their character, rather than acknowledging why the individual was honored in the first place. The examples are plentiful.
In Congress, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) introduced legislation that would change the names of mountains, rivers, and lakes that honored anyone who held “racially repugnant views” by today’s standard. Columbus Mountain and 54 other geographical landmarks named after Christoper Columbus are all on the chopping block.
“Racism, even in geography, cannot be tolerated in a country that strives for liberty and justice for all,” Mr. Green said.
The same notion has graced the pages of the Washington Post, too. In a piece titled “The racist legacy many birds carry,” the author argued that several birds needed to be renamed because renowned birder John James Audubon, the namesake of the Audubon Society, held racist views.
This trend is picking up steam, and seemingly no one is safe. Criminals have vandalized statues of famed abolitionists like Matthias Baldwin. Mr. Baldwin’s vocal support for abolition is reduced to one word: “colonizer.”
Even men like Mr. Baldwin are not worthy of being honored, according to the left. It won’t be long before Joe Biden’s name is scraped off train stations by this untenable standard. And if that is the case, how far away is our society from following in the cold, bureaucratic footsteps of the Soviet Union where buildings are titled in codes like “PS15” to avoid offending — or honoring — any one group?
The left is trying to redefine America’s essence through ruthless deconstruction. Indeed, he who can spin the tallest tale can also impact the smallest details of life. America’s moral foundations — which are based on the natural equality of everyone as stated in the Declaration — are being whitewashed as oppressive, in turn, leaving the average American to question the very definition of America. Most of us know America’s story is one of great hope, not demise. America is worthy of being defended. Those proud of its history must not let the public square be occupied by those solely looking to tear America apart.
While it seems no historical figure is safe, the left has proven they can look past the flaws of present-day figures. Take George Floyd, for example. Mr. Floyd’s name has been given to schools, scholarships, and parks.
But Mr. Floyd was not a perfect man. He committed crimes and spent time behind bars. Those naming parks and schools after Mr. Floyd know these facts, and they choose to see him for more than his biggest flaws. Mr. Floyd did bad things, but his life is more than just his worst moments.
Why can’t that same grace be given to our founding fathers? Why must the men who risked their lives in pursuit of this American idea be reduced to nothing more than their worst statements?
Americans must stop looking for ways to tear each other down and start looking for ways in which we are all worth celebrating. Our history is complicated, but it is filled with moments of greatness. The left seems only to want to study the worst of America while erasing some of the best. If this trend continues, it will only deepen the division in this country.
Picking at our historical wounds will lead to more bleeding, not healing. The vast majority of Americans love each other and want to lift each other up. They cannot continue to do that if the most prominent voices on the left continue to call for us to tear each other down.
• Christian Watson is a spokesman for Color Us United and the host of Pensive Politics with Christian Watson. Follow him on Twitter at @officialcwatson