In the midst of the 2020 George Floyd protests, New York’s City Council demanded in a pique of illiberalism that Mayor de Blasio remove a statue of Thomas Jefferson from City Hall. Never one to shy away from a horrible idea, Hizzoner is now honoring this deeply anti-American request.
Thomas Jefferson. The author of the Declaration of Independence, the third president, and ironically, a founder of what is today the Democratic Party.
I suppose one can see why Blas would have disdain for Jefferson. After all he was a political figure with enormous accomplishments, while the mayor is best known for flushing two decades of progress in Gotham down the toilet in his two terrible terms.
De Blasio is acting like a guy in an action movie walking slowly away from a fire he set, adding statue toppling to his long resume of risible decisions as mayor.
But honestly, this has very little to do with Jefferson, or statues at all. This destruction of history symbolizes a progressive left that wishes to stamp out anyone it dislikes with Puritan zeal.
The idea that deeply flawed people, even by the standards of their own day, can do extraordinary and good things is as ancient as history and storytelling itself. The King David of the Bible commits terrible acts, adultery and murder among them, and yet still emerged as a heroic figure. History and its characters are complicated.
This is about far more than American history, it is about our basic humanity.
We celebrate Jefferson not because he owned slaves, but because he wrote the higher ideals in the Declaration to which this country has aspired.
In today’s society, people are deprived of livelihoods, banned from public platforms, canceled for violating an ever shifting set of rules crafted by the perpetually offended. De Blasio thinks he’s being brave by banishing from the halls of government far greater men and women than himself. But he’s being a coward, buckling to fringe thinking in the last days of his mayoralty.
No one will ever build a statue to de Blasio, but if they do, let’s not tear it down. Let him stand as a symbol of insignificance.