0 Shares 84 Views

As divisions threaten America, the pressure to cancel presidents is dangerous

Jul 06, 2020
0 85
As divisions threaten America, the pressure to cancel presidents is dangerousAs divisions threaten America, the pressure to cancel presidents is dangerous

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Princeton University has decided to remove former President Woodrow Wilson’s name from its school of Public and International Affairs, citing his “racist thinking and policies.”&nbsp;Looking solely through the lens of race relations, the case against Wilson is clear. In his 1912 run for the White House, Wilson would warm up the crowds with racial jokes that today would be unprintable.” data-reactid=”13″>Princeton University has decided to remove former President Woodrow Wilson’s name from its school of Public and International Affairs, citing his “racist thinking and policies.” Looking solely through the lens of race relations, the case against Wilson is clear. In his 1912 run for the White House, Wilson would warm up the crowds with racial jokes that today would be unprintable.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="And while lately expressions like “systemic racism” and “white supremacy” have been thrown around quite liberally, the Wilson administration provides literal examples of these concepts enacted as government policy. Gazing back across the long century since Wilson was in office shows the progress we have made as a country.” data-reactid=”14″>And while lately expressions like “systemic racism” and “white supremacy” have been thrown around quite liberally, the Wilson administration provides literal examples of these concepts enacted as government policy. Gazing back across the long century since Wilson was in office shows the progress we have made as a country.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Wilson is not alone in being erased. Monuments to the once sacrosanct George Washington have been vandalized. Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson statues are also under siege, and the venerable Democratic tradition of the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner has been abandoned because neither party founder meets contemporary muster. The first two Republican presidents, Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant, are also facing censure and calls from radicals to have their monuments taken down. The fact that between them Lincoln and Grant defeated the Confederacy, ended slavery, and enforced the anti-slavery amendments to the Constitution seems inconsequential to the woke mob.” data-reactid=”15″>Wilson is not alone in being erased. Monuments to the once sacrosanct George Washington have been vandalized. Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson statues are also under siege, and the venerable Democratic tradition of the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner has been abandoned because neither party founder meets contemporary muster. The first two Republican presidents, Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant, are also facing censure and calls from radicals to have their monuments taken down. The fact that between them Lincoln and Grant defeated the Confederacy, ended slavery, and enforced the anti-slavery amendments to the Constitution seems inconsequential to the woke mob.

Do past presidents need to be perfect?

It is ironic that statues are the most visible targets of radical ire since they are idealized visions of flawed people. Looking at past presidents, how far do we go in demanding they live up to a statuesque level of perfection?

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Related: Christopher Columbus statue thrown into Baltimore Harbor” data-reactid=”18″>Related: Christopher Columbus statue thrown into Baltimore Harbor

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Franklin D. Roosevelt has been conspicuously unscathed in the recent round of iconoclasm, but his record on race is hardly commendable. The same people who castigated President Donald Trump for allegedly putting immigrant children in cages ought to be incensed over FDR’s internment of 120,000 Japanese during World War II, most of whom were American citizens. He also blocked Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany, kept the armed forces segregated, and praised Confederate General Robert E. Lee as “one of our greatest American Christians and one of our greatest American gentlemen.”&nbsp;” data-reactid=”23″>Franklin D. Roosevelt has been conspicuously unscathed in the recent round of iconoclasm, but his record on race is hardly commendable. The same people who castigated President Donald Trump for allegedly putting immigrant children in cages ought to be incensed over FDR’s internment of 120,000 Japanese during World War II, most of whom were American citizens. He also blocked Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany, kept the armed forces segregated, and praised Confederate General Robert E. Lee as “one of our greatest American Christians and one of our greatest American gentlemen.” 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Any hint of admiration for Lee means automatic cancellation these days but in the mid-20th century, it was ordinary and accepted. Dwight D. Eisenhower studied Lee’s campaigns at West Point and hung his portrait in the White House. He told the 1953 convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy that Lee was a man who could “fight brilliantly — for ideals in which he firmly and honestly believed, but still, at the same time, could be a great and noble character.”&nbsp;This was considered no more controversial in Ike’s day than when then-Senator Joe Biden in 1993 referred to the UDC as a group of “fine people” who “continue to display the Confederate flag as a symbol.”&nbsp;” data-reactid=”24″>Any hint of admiration for Lee means automatic cancellation these days but in the mid-20th century, it was ordinary and accepted. Dwight D. Eisenhower studied Lee’s campaigns at West Point and hung his portrait in the White House. He told the 1953 convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy that Lee was a man who could “fight brilliantly — for ideals in which he firmly and honestly believed, but still, at the same time, could be a great and noble character.” This was considered no more controversial in Ike’s day than when then-Senator Joe Biden in 1993 referred to the UDC as a group of “fine people” who “continue to display the Confederate flag as a symbol.” 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="A reminder of what not to repeat: Use Confederate statues and names to educate” data-reactid=”25″>A reminder of what not to repeat: Use Confederate statues and names to educate

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="John Kennedy praised Lee&nbsp;as well as pro-slavery Sen.&nbsp;John C. Calhoun —&nbsp;recently scrubbed from a Yale college&nbsp;—&nbsp;whom Kennedy included in his Pulitzer Prize-winning "Profiles in Courage." Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, but even in his day radicals denounced him as a racist and “war criminal.” Comedian Lenny Bruce did a bit about how Johnson’s handlers had to train him to say “Negro” instead of a similar-sounding word that came more naturally to him.&nbsp;Yet even that kind of smart observational humor is now off-limits; Brandeis University, which houses the Bruce papers, buckled to pressure to cancel a play based on Lenny’s acts because student activists charged the material was “overtly racist.” Poor Lenny was too vulgar for the conservative power structure of his era, and too frank for the intolerant left today.” data-reactid=”26″>John Kennedy praised Lee as well as pro-slavery Sen. John C. Calhoun — recently scrubbed from a Yale college — whom Kennedy included in his Pulitzer Prize-winning “Profiles in Courage.” Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, but even in his day radicals denounced him as a racist and “war criminal.” Comedian Lenny Bruce did a bit about how Johnson’s handlers had to train him to say “Negro” instead of a similar-sounding word that came more naturally to him. Yet even that kind of smart observational humor is now off-limits; Brandeis University, which houses the Bruce papers, buckled to pressure to cancel a play based on Lenny’s acts because student activists charged the material was “overtly racist.” Poor Lenny was too vulgar for the conservative power structure of his era, and too frank for the intolerant left today.

Dangerous divisions

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Gerald R. Ford signed a bill restoring Lee’s citizenship in 1975, which had passed with near-unanimous support in both houses, and which Ford said was “an event in which every American can take pride.” And three years later Jimmy Carter granted the same honor to Confederate president Jefferson Davis, with the support of freshman Sen. Biden. At the signing ceremony, Carter said, “our Nation needs to clear away the guilts and enmities and recriminations of the past, to finally set at rest the divisions that threatened to destroy our Nation and to discredit the principles on which it was founded.”&nbsp;” data-reactid=”28″>Gerald R. Ford signed a bill restoring Lee’s citizenship in 1975, which had passed with near-unanimous support in both houses, and which Ford said was “an event in which every American can take pride.” And three years later Jimmy Carter granted the same honor to Confederate president Jefferson Davis, with the support of freshman Sen. Biden. At the signing ceremony, Carter said, “our Nation needs to clear away the guilts and enmities and recriminations of the past, to finally set at rest the divisions that threatened to destroy our Nation and to discredit the principles on which it was founded.” 

You may be interested

He was working security at a Key West bar. Police say he’s part of a murder plot
Entertainment
17 views
Entertainment
17 views

He was working security at a Key West bar. Police say he’s part of a murder plot

Webby - August 15, 2020

Key West police and U.S. Marshals arrested a man working security at a bar in the Southernmost City this week who is a suspect in a stalking…

U.S. Navy carrier conducted exercises in South China Sea on Aug. 14
Entertainment
19 views
Entertainment
19 views

U.S. Navy carrier conducted exercises in South China Sea on Aug. 14

Webby - August 15, 2020

U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan is seen during its visit to Hong KongMoreSHANGHAI (Reuters) - A U.S. Navy aircraft carrier conducted exercises in the contested…

More than 50 Confederate symbols moved, taken down in wake of George Floyd's death, study says
Entertainment
17 views
Entertainment
17 views

More than 50 Confederate symbols moved, taken down in wake of George Floyd's death, study says

Webby - August 14, 2020

Among some of the more prominent changes sparked by Floyd’s death is the speedy removal and renaming of landmarks and monuments representing the Confederacy. Such symbols have…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Most from this category