Where Does It Stop? An Honest Look at the Role of US History in Modern Culture.
December 1, 2017
Days after Charlottesville, Virginia rioted over the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, President Trump asked a valid and important question.
“I wonder, is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself: Where does it stop?”
A critical response to this remark was no surprise. Outrage at the perceived insensitivity and absurdity overwhelmed the internet.
No matter our personal stance, if we’re honest with ourselves, President Trump's response is the exact question we all should be asking.
WHERE DOES IT STOP?
According to our nation, it stops when we rewrite history in an effort to banish all traces of men once honored as heroes, but unacceptable to an entitled, hateful, and violent segment of today’s generation.
The absolute absurdity of our ignorance today is best illustrated by last month's decision to remove George Washington’s plaque from Christ Church in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. Washington and his family were devout members of the church for over 20 years.
Fear is a funny thing. This plaque simply honored the father of our country’s place of worship, but due to an offended portion of the state’s population, the church felt that it was prudent to dishonor our history one pew at a time. Robert E. Lee’s was also pulled for obvious reasons. However, the history behind the church itself is the untold irony of this story.
George Washington regularly worshipped at Christ Church. The church has always been a historical draw until now. Originally, Christ Church was fully supported by the Church of England. However, after Cornwallis surrendered to Washington’s armies, they were cut off from all overseas funding. Being the "terrorist" that he was, George Washington chose to donate his personal funds to save the church. A fact they used in their regular tour dialogue, but have since omitted.
According to the parishioners, the vote was unanimous after a month of debate over whether Washington and Lee were to be omitted from Christ Church history. According to the church rector, it made some “of our parishioners feel unsafe or unwelcome.” How does a plaque suddenly present an unacceptable danger to parishioners?
An interesting statement as many regular attendees have now come out stating that they donate and attend precisely because it was George Washington’s church. Until this year, the entirety of the church's advertising and fundraising were based off the historical weight it carries.
Thankfully, we have duplicatable predecessors to show us the success rate of such staunch patriotism. The Soviet Union provides us with an excellent example of a nation “strengthened" by denial. Between 1934-1952, in an effort to ideologically and politically control the country, the Communist party rewrote academic history. They went so far as to photoshop controversial leaders out of notorious historical photographs. Obviously, this is a radical example. However, a decade ago the removal of our first president’s plaque would’ve also sounded extreme.
As a significant historical figure, George Washington was not only our first president, he survived the many battles of the French and Indian War. He was the first Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. As General, he lead his weary army through harsh conditions, such as the winter of Valley Forge. He staged a surprise attack on Christmas night crossing the Potomac. Because of his bravery, he defeated the strongest military in the world, ultimately securing our country’s freedom and independence. He also presided over the writing of the United States Constitution.
What do Washington's opposers say? He was a slave owner.
Why is there an outcry from the Left against our Revolutionary heroes and pillars of the American Republic? Why is there moral indignation against Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Jackson, Lee, Lincoln, and so on? Were they racists, white supremacists? That’s what some would want us to believe.
But why the selective judgment against these giants of American history whose shoulders we stand on? Because they were imperfect humans? Why is there no outrage against FDR, Kennedy, Clinton, or Martin Luther King Jr., all of which lived questionable private lives?
No country's history is free of war, corruption, or failure. No man is free of mistakes, cultural influence, or bad choices. Imperfection is inevitable. We are all sinners with God’s love being our only hope of redemption.
History is how we learn. History is how we grow, how we build, and how we gain wisdom. To rewrite it would be a tragedy for the entirety of the United States.
America was built on a spirit of boldness, gumption, and rugged individualism. These men and women were pioneers, risk-takers, heroes. They should not be dismissed because our current culture has evolved. They should be revered and celebrated for giving us the FREEDOM to evolve. Somehow we have forgotten this truth.
Does the Left hate America? Does the current progressive culture deny American exceptionalism? They are valid questions.
When half of America’s millennials prefer Socialism to Capitalism, it seems so. When the U.S. school system is forced to teach students that America is not exceptional, and in fact, may be evil, it seems so. Even the church has become weak and cowardly, caving to the pressure of secular progressives.
So where does this stop?
It stops when we fight the fear and stand for truth. It stops when we thank God for the freedom to progress as a country, for the men and women who risked their lives for the opportunity to live free. It stops when we remember that current culture does not define past history. It stops when we have the courage to speak up for those who spoke up for us.
Will you speak?
Posted in The Liberty Dispatch Blog By erencevoile