If those on the Left sincerely wish to address America’s historical injustices, rather than simply pursue partisan advantage, they should advocate the removal and purification of the hundreds of tributes to Democrats who oppressed blacks and other minorities.
- They should start by being honest when they resist statues of Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and other luminaries of the slave-owning South. These were not Republicans, as the Trump-hating Left hopes to convince people who don’t know much about history. Rather, these Confederates were all Democrats.
- A statue of the late Senator Robert Byrd (D - West Virginia) stands in the U.S. Capitol. Some 55 bridges, highways, dams, and other facilities in Byrd’s state carry his name. These honor Byrd’s 51 years in the Senate, including 12 as Democrat leader, as recently as 1989. Byrd told the late Fox News anchor Tony Snow this about race relations in March 2001: “There are white n*****s. I’ve seen a lot of white n*****s in my time; I’m going to use that word.” Byrd led the 83-day Democrat filibuster against the 1964 Civil Rights Act and spoke non-stop for its defeat for 14 hours on the Senate floor. Byrd also was an Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan, for which he recruited some 150 fresh Klansmen in the 1940s. Why have Democrats not cleansed the Capitol of this former Klansman’s image, and urged West Virginians to do likewise?
- Democrat President Woodrow Wilson headed Princeton University, signed the Federal Reserve Act, commanded U.S. forces in World War I, and pioneered multilateralism through the League of Nations. These were momentous achievements, like them or not. Wilson also was a raving bigot who re-segregated the bathrooms in the federal building beside the White House. He hosted a February 15 screening of D.W. Griffith’s pro-KKK epic, "Birth of a Nation," at the Executive Mansion. Wilson also said: “Segregation is not a humiliation but a benefit.” Why have Democrats not already pried this man’s name from Washington, D.C.’s Woodrow Wilson Bridge?
- Democrat President Franklin Delano Roosevelt piloted the New Deal, pioneered Social Security, and orchestrated the defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan — enormous accomplishments, no doubt. But, during World War II, FDR locked up roughly 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry in 10 internment centers, including California’s Manzanar camp, solely due to their heritage. Also, as Woodrow Wilson’s assistant secretary of the Navy, Roosevelt signed the August 8, 1916, order to re-segregate the bathrooms in the State, War, and Navy Departments Building “for the use of women, white men and Colored.” Thus, Democrats should be thrilled to dismantle Washington’s FDR Monument and sandblast his face from the dime.
The Right can pursue these facts along one of two paths:
Republicans and conservatives could hammer Democrats and liberals pitilessly as grotesque hypocrites who fail to repudiate and erase those on their side of the aisle who spent time, energy, and even government resources to abuse and terrorize blacks and other minorities.
Alternatively, Republicans and conservatives could remind Democrats and the Left that their heroes, like nearly all human beings, blend good and bad, triumphs and tribulations, talents and shortcomings. Some display these contrasts more starkly than others. Thus, Americans could dislodge virtually every statue ever sculpted. JFK, LBJ, and MLK were unfaithful husbands. Winston Churchill drank his way through World War II and screamed at his staff. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus.
Before the tributes to Jefferson, Lee, or even Roosevelt crash down into chunks of stone and hunks of steel, the time is now to halt the War on Statues. Instead, Americans should leave these works of art in peace, erect new statues of admirable people, and install bronze plaques to outline the good, the bad, and the ugly about those preserved in metal and marble. Every American would learn from that approach — most important, an urgent reminder about the angels and demons wrestling within each of us.
Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor with National Review Online. He has been a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. Read more opinions from Deroy Murdock — Click Here Now.
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