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  • Guess Why this Town Decided to Dump Thomas Jefferson …

    It’s Independence Day! July 4th! So I suppose we ought to expect some news, from somewhere, exhibiting small-minded silliness.

    From Jack Crowe/National Review:

    The city of Charlottesville, Va. will replace an official holiday marking the birth of Thomas Jefferson with a day that instead celebrates the emancipation of slaves at the conclusion of the Civil War.

    Replace? Could I venture the glaringly obvious question? Why not resolve to observe both holidays? There’s not some kind of civil compromise that can be reached?

    I’m guessing no solution that will satisfy both sides has survived because a good part of this move is all about faddish historical revision and rubbing one side’s nose in political correctness.

    Charlottesville’s city council voted 4-1 Monday to dump the April 13 commemoration of the third president’s life and to replace it with “Liberation and Freedom Day.” The latter will recall the U.S. Army’s entry into the city on March 3, 1865, according to the Associated Press.

    You might remember tumultuous clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters ripped through the northern Virginia city in August, 2017, igniting passionate racial controversies.

    Jefferson’s legacy includes penning the Declaration of Independence and founding not just United States of America but the University of Virginia not long following. That said, he was a slave-owner and

    [that] has not escaped the scrutiny of activists and elected officials intent on highlighting the city’s struggles with racial reconciliation.

    City Councilor Bellamy, who, with the majority, favors the newly christened arrangement previously told  a local CBS affiliate:

    “Thomas Jefferson already has 365 holidays and I do think that is the case here in Charlottesville. You literally can’t go anywhere within our city without hearing or seeing a reminder of Thomas Jefferson.”

    Perhaps true, but still: actively removing a day of honor for a signal figure in America’s history? That speaks volumes – negative ones — to anybody who gives the motion any thought.

    Councilor Kathy Galvin, the single “no” vote in the group, insists

    Jefferson’s contribution to the city warranted the celebration of his birthday, and said the cancellation of the longstanding holiday constituted a futile attempt to disregard history.

    “Doing away with Thomas Jefferson’s birthday doesn’t do away with the history,” said Galvin. “That birthday is still here. What he has done in the past is there.”

    No denying, Jefferson’s slavery involvement is a decided blot on his reputation. There is lot’s about the guy, in fact, that ought to bother twenty-first century citizens (and Christian people).

    We need to factor into the equation, however, that because we live in a “fallen world”, man has been blighted with the sin problem since the start. This doesn’t justify in any way the bad things individuals do – or have done – over centuries of human activity.  Bad is bad. And plainly, some historic villains behaved so egregiously they should never be honored, even if it’s possible to unearth some worthy gems from certain aspects of their lives.

    There have been scads of flawed men and women who’ve nonetheless accomplished noble deeds over the blemished course of their time on planet earth. Think Abraham Lincoln, Gen. George Patton, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Jr. Most of the time, a mature society’s approach should be to fete their contributions to bettering our world, while frankly acknowledging their faults and moral lapses.

    Who to esteem, who has sunk too deep? That distinction usually involves a judgment call. Often a ticklish one.

    But dissing Thomas Jefferson? Whose role in shaping America remains inestimable and whose greatest work laid the groundwork for the ending of the country’s “peculiar institution”? Let the guy keep his holiday, for crying out loud.

    Image: CC BY-SA 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/vironevaeh/3006987602/


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