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Can we focus on our Founding Fathers actually, as a substitute of canceling them?

Others are free to disagree, in fact, however I imagine america to be the best nation on the face of the earth. Our nation was envisioned and created — at nice danger to their private security, in addition to to that of their households — by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington, John Hancock, John Adams and different Founding Fathers.

But, many on the political left need to “cancel” these founders.

In one of many newest examples of this cancel tradition motion, following a year-long marketing campaign, an elementary faculty in New Jersey has modified its identify from honoring Thomas Jefferson to honoring Delia Bolden, the primary Black lady to graduate from highschool regionally.

One other instance includes an “inadvertent” proposal from the Virginia Division of Training, searching for to delete references to George Washington because the “Father of our Nation” and to James Madison because the “Father of the Structure.” It was a proposal that Virginia’s Republican governor, Glenn Youngkin, immediately condemned, making clear that his administration would “reinforce” the truth that the Founding Fathers did create our nation.  

Stated the governor, “I imagine we must always inform our historical past precisely, the great and the dangerous. And a part of the historical past we’re going to inform is that our Founding Fathers, together with George Washington and James Madison, and let’s not neglect about Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry and the others, performed a unprecedented function within the founding of our nation.”

This comes on the heels of a latest protest in Boston to take away the identify of Founding Father Peter Faneuil from historic Faneuil Corridor in downtown Boston. Why? As a result of, in response to one of many protestors, “We should always not have the identify of a white supremacist hooked up to a publicly-owned constructing. That’s who he was: a white supremacist, a human trafficker.” 

Previous to that had been latest articles within the New York Put up and elsewhere, reporting that the properties of Jefferson and Madison, Monticello and Montpelier, respectively, are going “woke” and being turned in opposition to their legacies.

Simply earlier than the July 4 weekend, a California faculty board member known as for that vacation to be “boycotted,” fairly than celebrated; some Arizona Democrats marketed a “F*** the Fourth” occasion; and metropolis officers in Orlando, Fla., later apologized for a July 4 assertion which stated, partially, that “Lots of people in all probability don’t need to have a good time our nation proper now, and we will’t blame them … .” 

In Could, an opinion column in The Washington Put up known as for the renaming of George Washington College. Why? You guessed it: As a result of the varsity, in response to the columnist, is “rooted in systemic racism, institutional inequality and white supremacy.” 

And earlier than that … effectively, you get the concept. 

Alarmingly — not less than to me, since I spent the previous yr writing a e book celebrating these Founding Fathers, the Fourth of July, and our seemingly disappearing rights and liberties — the need to cancel our Founders, to sandblast their names from buildings, take away their statues and belittle their genius, braveness and sacrifice, seems to be a rising, doubtlessly unstoppable pattern.

It shouldn’t be.

If our historical past is dangerous, let’s condemn it and be taught from it. If our historical past is nice, let’s reward it and construct upon it. However let’s not cancel our shared historical past, which is what totalitarian regimes do.

Many of those assaults and the canceling of the Founding Fathers comes right down to the topic of slavery. The observe of slavery was — and in some locations, stays — obscene, against the law in opposition to humanity. On this topic, President Biden not too long ago declared: “Nice nations don’t conceal from their slavery.”

He’s completely appropriate — however I might add this: “Nice and free nations additionally don’t cancel their historical past.”

To view the actions and what may need been within the minds, hearts and souls of these males born some 300 years in the past by way of the more and more biased prism of 2022 shouldn’t be solely problematic; it may be irresponsible, too. But that’s exactly what is going on in some quarters.

This rising listing of Founding Fathers labeled as “white supremacist” means we’re defining, diminishing and dismissing them over one subject. And any of the numerous, precious contributions they made to the creation of our republic are being deemed irrelevant.

As a substitute of specializing in centuries-dead males, those that condemn a single dimension of our Founders ought to think about using their time, vitality and assets to sort out the slavery and human trafficking happening in at the moment’s world. Look no additional than China for modern-day slavery and labor-camp abuses, or any metropolis on the earth the place you occur to be in the intervening time for human-trafficking abuses.

As for the remainder of us, fairly than standing idly by whereas some attempt to twist, rewrite or cancel our shared historical past, can’t we focus on or debate the topic of our Founders and their pasts?

Historical past is historical past. It ought to by no means be “written by the victors,” nor canceled by these unwilling to be taught from it.

Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications guide, was a author within the White Home for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and former particular assistant for coverage and communications on the Pentagon over the last three years of the Bush administration. His newest e book is “The 56: Liberty Classes From These Who Risked All to Signal the Declaration of Independence.”

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