It has been standing over the NYC Council chamber for more than a century, a 7-foot-tall statue of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, and the person who wrote the Declaration Of Independence. This document created the freest country on Earth.
The leftist mayor and city government encouraged the city’s Public Design Commission to go woke and unanimously vote to exile Jefferson from city hall, which it did.
Per the NY Times:
The relocation of the statue, requested by the Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, was expected to be a fait accompli: An agreement was already in place to relocate the statue to the New-York Historical Society. A crate had been ordered to house the statue during the move.
The society had agreed to present the statue in a historical context that captured Jefferson’s legacy as a founding father, but also as a man who enslaved more than 600 people and fathered six children with one of them, Sally Hemings.
There have been various attempts to remove the statue; two decades ago, a call to banish the statue gained attention, but went nowhere.
The unexpected delay angered some Black and Latino lawmakers, who had expected the statue to be moved from City Hall because, as the caucus said in a letter to the mayor, it serves as “a constant reminder of the injustices that have plagued communities of color since the inception of our country.”
Jefferson had a bi-polar view of slavery. Although he owned slaves, he also knew it was a horrible practice and tried to end slavery. Despite knowing slavery was disgusting, Jefferson kept slaves. Existing in a farming economy, he owned slaves to stay competitive with the other plantations which relied on the practice. This does not excuse his use of slavery.
But he also tried to end slavery in the United States. His first draft of the Declaration Of Independence contained this paragraph slamming King George for allowing slavery:
He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobium of INFIDEL Powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the LIBERTIES of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the LIVES of another.
The paragraph was removed because the southern states would not agree to the Declaration with it. Unanimity was needed for the Continental Congress to pass the motion for independence.
It was Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence that set the stage for the end of slavery with these words:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
For the past two years, America has been beset with “cancel culture” and “wokeism.” Anyone– baseball teams, celebrities, politicians, and/or others who at any point of their lives who held an opinion that is mildly divergent from the politically correct left comes under attack. Well, unless one is a leftist like Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson.
One of the biggest victims of this cancel culture has been American history. It’s more than a desire to be politically correct. It’s part of a concerted effort to revise history and satisfy the left’s desire to portray the US as an evil nation that must be transformed.
Some of the people who contributed to America’s greatness indeed did awful things. That is what makes them human.
Using the same logic, we should remove names from the Bible/ Moses disobeyed God and struck a rock, but he led the slaves out of Egypt and gave God’s law to humanity. Do we erase his name, burn all copies of the Charton Heston movie, and remove his statue from the supreme court building?
What about King David? He wrote the Psalms, but he had a very overactive libido and even sent one of his generals to a sure death because he got that general’s wife pregnant? Do we erase his name from the bible and destroy the masterpiece statue by Michelangelo? How about Solomon? He built the first temple to God but broke the rules about kings having too many wives and/or horses.
Of course, we shouldn’t erase their memory. By learning about heroes’ good deeds and what they did wrong, we can strive for their achievements and avoid their human failings.
In the same vein, Jefferson had slaves, but he wrote the Declaration of Independence, which led to the free United States by declaring that our rights come from our Creator and that all men were created equal. Therefore no human can take them away.
George Washington owned slaves also. But he not only led the soldiers in the revolutionary war and defeated the British, but Washington also became our first president and began our tradition of a peaceful transition of power.
No human in history was perfect. We must continue to honor the great things that people did while learning from their failures. The statue of Thomas Jefferson is a recognition of what the Declaration of Independence meant to America and the world. For that reason, it should not be removed.