P.R.C. Scraps Jefferson Birthday Celebration

“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.”

With those immortal words in the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson declared the freedoms and liberties of Englishmen to be universal, applying to all people. As a slave holder, he failed to live up to the ideals he espoused. But his words inspired his generation to fight for independence, and inspired subsequent generations, who nearly succeeded in abolishing slavery in Virginia in 1831-82, fought a Civil War to end slavery, and fought and won Civil Rights for all. Without Jefferson’s words, without the principles he articulated and defended, those who now revile him would not enjoy the liberties they have today.

Showing an astonishing lack of historical perspective, the People’s Republic of Charlottesville (P.R.C.) City Council voted 4-1 Monday to scrap the decades-old April 13 holiday honoring the city’s most famous resident and, instead, will recognize Liberation and Freedom Day on March 3, the day Union army arrived in the city in 1865.

Speakers at the session denounced Jefferson as a racist and a rapist, reports the Daily Progress:

Lisa Woolfork, an associate professor at the University of Virginia, decried Jefferson’s treatment of his slaves, particularly [Sally] Hemmings.

“Thomas Jefferson is the R. Kelly of the American Enlightenment,” she said, referring to the American rapper who faces 10 charges of of sexual abuse. “Their non-consensual relationship was normalized by the brutality of the age.”

And in business that did not happen… There was no move at City Council to dismantle the legacy of Martin Luther King, no discussion of the revelations by David J. Garrow, a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer, of King’s appallingly misogynistic behavior. As summarized by Politico:

The most shocking claim Garrow relates is that King was present in a hotel room when a friend of his, Baltimore pastor Logan Kearse, raped a woman who resisted participating in unspecified sexual acts. The FBI agent who surveilled the room asserted that King “looked on, laughed and offered advice.” Other allegations include that King’s philandering—long known to be extensive—was even more rampant than historians knew; that King took part in group sex; that King may have fathered a child with one of his mistresses; and—less pruriently—that King continued taking money from his onetime ally Stanley Levison, a Communist Party member, even after he was supposed to have broken off ties.

So, it turns out that America’s greatest Civil Rights icon was a reprehensible human being in his personal life. Perhaps we could call him the R, Kelly of the Civil Rights era. Do we, therefore, cease to honor him for his accomplishments? Do we, to pick an example, change the name of the Martin Luther King Performing Arts Center, operated by Charlottesville public school system? Do we overlook King’s admonition to “Judge a man not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character” to maintain ideological purity?

I would say no. We should honor King for advancing the cause of Civil Rights for all, even as we acknowledge his all-too-human failings. Likewise, we should honor Jefferson for advancing the cause of freedom and liberty, even as we acknowledge his failure to live up to his own ideals. If we demanded perfection of every leader, we would honor no one at all.

Of course, the Leftists who run the Peoples’ Republic of Charlottesville thrive on intellectual inconsistency. Their goal is to de-legitimize the principles this country was founded on. They despise Jefferson because they hate this country as it is currently constituted, and they want to re-make it as a progressive utopia.

If you want more Donald Trump, this is how you get it.

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12 responses to “P.R.C. Scraps Jefferson Birthday Celebration

  1. “If you want more Donald Trump, this is how you get it.”

    This. From a viciously pragmatic standpoint, it doesn’t even matter whether you agree with Bacon or the loonies in Charlottesville. This kind of nonsense is exactly what Republicans need to fire up their voters. As a Virginian now utterly disgusted with both major parties and their local sections, I suppose I’m glad to see them shaking each other to pieces. I just wish they would leave the Commonwealth out of it.

  2. You sort of admit this but you can’t escape the contradiction of Thomas Jefferson. Any modern biography will note that when he was in Paris, French people scoffed at him for the hypocrisy of making eloquent on human rights while a slave owner.
    As for Martin Luther King, yes he seems to like sex. So does Donald Trump. Not sure I understand the relevance.
    Regarding rethinking old icons, it reminds me of Russia after the fall of communism. A lot of stuff was named after Lenin and got renamed. Same thing with de-Stalinization. I once traveled to Alma Aty in Kazahkstan in the 1990s for BusinessWeek. I was by myself and the only street map available was an old Soviet one. I kept asking for Lenin street and people shook their heads saying it is called “apple” street nowadays.

  3. “As for Martin Luther King, yes he seems to like sex. So does Donald Trump. Not sure I understand the relevance.”

    ????????????

  4. I think you have to be willing to ask yourself is Jefferson is the same “all men are created” icon to black folks as white folks.

    And if black folks don’t think so and some white folks agree with them and you are white and don’t – where are we in terms of finding some common ground?

    I think Jefferson was a great man but he clearly saw blacks differently than whites when he himself had slaves.

    And may I say – if you want to compare “blackface” with the actual ownership of slaves – lordy…

    I’ve said this before and will say it again – as a white guy do you agree with what some blacks are saying about racial issues?

    If you do not agree with blacks – where does that leave you in terms of trying to find common ground with them?

    Don’t blame liberals. Yes.. some of them are playing the issue but I’d also ask what exactly are Conservatives doing to win blacks over other than using words and phrases guaranteed to push them away?

    Bottom line – do you blame blacks for their views? Do you accept their views or do you reject them? If you reject them – what exactly are you expecting to happen next?

  5. Reed,
    Here’s some perspective on Martin Luther King Jr. For decades, conservatives have been trying to discredit him. I remember back in the 1960s, the John Birch Society had billboards trying to link him to communists. J. Edgar Hoover had a deep animosity towards him and ordered FBI agents to do whatever to frame him. I read the Politico article that Jim linked to and it seems that the allegations against King for participating in rape are from TRANSCRIPTS of secret tapes of King made by the FBI. The actual tapes are under court-ordered seal.
    This also reminds me so much of what it was like working in the Soviet Union. If you were a diplomat, journalist, academic or business person from another country, but especially from the U.S. or U.K., they would do whatever they could to get dirt on you. They were collecting it for “Kompromat” to be used as desired. That’s exactly what Hoover was doing. It is sad that Donald Trump, one of our worst presidents, is turning Independence Day into a Soviet-style rally. Why tanks? Why don’t the budget-minded Baconites question the big cost of a cult of personality rally?
    As for King, he obviously was flawed as a human being but he helped accomplish some very great things.

    • Peter –

      I have profound respect for MLK. This is evident from the many times over the years that I have written about MLK’s work, his writings, and his achievements on this blog. Whatever these tapes may or may not reveal about his private life will not diminish the irreplaceable roll that MLK played in the history of America and the world. The same thing is true about Thomas Jefferson.

  6. Just to keep perspective here – King, Kennedy, Eisenhower,Clinton, Thomas Jefferson and a few more were all “flawed” and getting the truth about each is not a bad thing unless we simply pick and choose the “flawed” ones we prefer to point out and ignore the others. Many were flawed even as they were leaders and made significant contributions – we totally reject their whole lives and career because they were “flawed”?

    • Good point. What are the rules? When does a person’s bad behavior (and every single one of us, dead or alive, has engaged bad behavior) disqualify him/her from public recognition of his or her good deeds? And who decides?

  7. Didn’t George Mason write some of the platitudes? but Mason was happy being in the background.

  8. As Jim Bacon reports in the above post:

    “Speakers at the session denounced Jefferson as a racist and a rapist, reports the Daily Progress:

    Lisa Woolfork, an associate professor at the University of Virginia, decried Jefferson’s treatment of his slaves, particularly [Sally] Hemmings.

    “Thomas Jefferson is the R. Kelly of the American Enlightenment,” she said, referring to the American rapper who faces 10 charges of of sexual abuse. “Their non-consensual relationship was normalized by the brutality of the age.”

    In counterpoint please read:
    https://dailycaller.com/2019/07/03/coulter-thomas-jefferson-lacrosse/

  9. Here is another take on Thomas Jefferson. See:
    https://www.tjheritage.org/

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