The authoritarian left is currently engaged in a campaign to tear down things that are “offensive,” such as Confederate monuments. To highlight the absurdity of their crusade against statues, President Donald Trump warned that our some of our country’s presidents may be next. “This week, it is Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. 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?” reasoned Trump.
Sadly, his fears have since been repeatedly confirmed. For example, earlier this month, students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison engaged in a protest against Abraham Lincoln, the notorious emancipator of slaves.
Specifically, Wunk Sheek, which is an indigenous student organization, and roughly 50 supporters gathered in front of an Abraham Lincoln statue outside of Bascom Hall earlier this month to protest against the former president. In addition to protesting Lincoln, they were also there to speak out against Columbus day and promote Indigenous People’s Day.
When asked why they were protesting, Misha Johnson, the Co-President of Fiscal Relations for Wunk Sheek, pointed out that in 1862, Lincoln ordered the execution of 38 Dakota men following the Dakota War of 1862, making it the largest mass execution ordered by a U.S. president.
“Everyone thinks of Lincoln as the great, you know, freer of slaves, but let’s be real: He owned slaves, and as natives, we want people to know that he ordered the execution of native men,” argued Johnson while speaking with reporters from the Daily Cardinal, one of the student newspapers, about the incident. “Just to have him here at the top of Bascom is just really belittling,” she added.
However, Johnson’s criticism of Lincoln is completely absurd. First, Lincoln did not own any slaves. In fact, he was one of the most vocal opponents of the institution, which he claimed deprived blacks of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Second, Johnson and her supporters don’t appear to have a full understanding of our country’s history. Specifically, they failed to point out is that while it is technically true that he did authorize the execution of almost 40 people convicted of murder and rape by military tribunals, he also commuted the sentences of over 260 other prisoners.
These people were captured during the same battle and spared despite receiving a massive amount of pressure to let them all be killed, which suggests that the ultimate decision to execute the others was not one that was taken lightly. With this added context, it becomes clear that Lincoln isn’t the evil person who Johnson and her supporters claim he is.
Sadly, Lincoln is not the only president to be recently targeted by the authoritarian left. Liberal activists are also calling on officials to tear down a statue of George Washington in Chicago, Illinois.
According to reports, Bishop James Dukes, the pastor of Liberation Christian Center, is the person at the forefront of the campaign to have the statue of Washington removed. “In an African-American community, it’s a slap in the face and it’s a disgrace for them to honor someone who was a slave owner,” he told reporters.
“Some people out here ask me, say ‘Well, you know, he taught his slaves to read.’ That’s almost sad; the equivalent of someone who kidnaps you, that you gave them something to eat,” continued Dukes, noting, “when I see [a statue of a slave owner], I see a person who fought for the liberties, and I see people that fought for the justice and freedom of white America, because at that moment, we were still chattel slavery, and was three-fifths of humans.”
Because of this, Dukes is pushing Mayor Rahm Emanuel to have it removed. “I think we should be able to identify and decide who we declare heroes in our communities because we have to tell the stories to our children of who these persons are,” he explained.
In addition to Lincoln and Washington, Thomas Jefferson is also under attack by liberals like Reverend Al Sharpton, who recently called on officials to stop the federal funding of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. Specifically, when asked by Rose if the Jefferson Memorial should be taken down since he owned slaves during an interview several weeks ago, Sharpton stated, “the public should not be paying to uphold somebody who [owned or supported slavery]. You have private museums. You have other things that you may want to do.”
The authoritarian left must not be allowed to control the lives of others by tearing down things that are “offensive.” This is because, as we’ve already started to see, doing so leads to a slippery slope of unconstitutional censorship.
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