Jefferson and Jackson were faulted for their ownership of slaves as well as their treatment of American Indians.
Party officials hope the decision would lead other local Democratic organizations to rename Jefferson/Jackson dinners to something more politically correct, since the former Democrat icons of the common man now have been deemed as symbolic of the “wrongs of the past” by the state National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
It’s only the latest step in the increasing campaign to purge American life of symbols deemed offensive and racially insensitive.
The state of South Carolina voted to take down the Confederate flag from the state capital in the wake of a shooting rampage at an African-American church in Charleston.
Major retailers removed the Confederate flag from their stores, even to the extent of banning apolitical historical books about the use of the Confederate battle flag during the Battle of Gettysburg.
A social networking campaign is also urging people to destroy privately owned Confederate flags.
There even are ominous signs the campaign will extend to other flags and symbols Americans might think are beyond reproach.
Talk-show host Rush Limbaugh warned the American flag would be targeted next, just before Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan called for a campaign to take down the Stars and Stripes because of America’s supposed racism against African-Americans.
CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield broached the topic of taking down the Jefferson Memorial. Co-host Don Lemon responded, “There may come a day when we want to rethink Jefferson.”
Author, tea-party activist and WND columnist Joshua Charles says the campaign against the Founding Fathers is simply a denial of history.
His new book, “Liberty’s Secrets: The Lost Wisdom of America’s Founders,” is a detailed exploration of the real beliefs of the men who created the United States of America. And one of the most important lessons of the book, says Charles, is to judge the Founding Fathers by the standards of their own time.
Commenting on the campaign to purge American history, Charles told WND:
“There’s a group of people who want to erase the monuments to the remembrance of the American past. There are people who wanted to remove George Washington from schools, there’s even talk, somewhat casually but somewhat ominously I think, about removing the Jefferson Memorial from D.C. And all of this in the name of the fact that the Founders were slave owners.
“To complain about the Founders in this way is to do so in a very ignorant way about human nature. It’s easy for everyone in this generation, black or white … to say slavery was a moral evil. But we didn’t earn that. We grew up into a world where that was already true.”
Charles believes many people are making too many assumptions about their own characters. He doesn’t think most people would have been brave warriors against slavery if they found themselves similarly situated in the 18th century.
Charles asks Americans to understand Founders like Thomas Jefferson were born into a world where their families always owned slaves. Jefferson himself was even willed slaves while he was still a teenager.
Instead, he said, the true importance of the Founding Fathers is what they did once they created a new country and political system.
“They created a system … where not a single one of them had a single sentence to support slavery.”
George Washington, observed Charles, freed his slaves at his death and provided for his estate to support them and teach them new skills.
For that reason, Charles sees crucial importance in the praise former slave Frederick Douglass had for the Founders in his famous speech, “What To The Slave is the Fourth of July?”
Charles states, “If you read the full thing, he has full praise for the Founders, and Washington in particular.”
Douglass’ condemnation of the United States derived from what Douglass saw as whites “dropping the ball the Founders had given to them” when it came to ensuring full rights for all Americans. The real gift of the Founders, Charles believes, is the system they created which eventually eliminated slavery.
Though the massacre in Charleston is driving the “erasure” campaign, one man who has personal experience with an attack on a church is also warning against attempts to cleanse a nation’s history.
Charl van Wyk was a congregant in the July 25, 1993, St. James Church Massacre, where 11 people were killed and 58 were wounded in a terrorist attack on a church congregation.
Van Wyk, armed only with a with a revolver, wounded one attacker and drove the others away, an experience he recounts in his book, “Shooting Back: The Right and Duty of Self Defense.”
He’s critical of the current campaign in South Africa to remove any evidence of European colonialism or the existence of the former white-run government. And he believes the campaign isn’t directed just against imperialism, but against Europeans as a people, regardless of what good they might have done.
“The Cecil John Rhodes statue’s been removed and what we’ve had in South Africa is a radical political movement to erase anything from South Africa that looks like it might come from European descent. And so even though Cecil John Rhodes set up amazing educational funds and his funds were used for building universities, even though big properties were handed over to educational institutions, even though the Rhodes Scholarship is still being used in South Africa to send international students around the world for higher and greater education then we can give them in South Africa, despite all that, his statue’s been taken away,” he said.
“It hasn’t only been political figures. Andrew Murray … a great man of God, past missionary to Africa, set up hundreds of missionaries around Africa … his statue outside the church in Wellington where he was a minister has been defaced with paint and dirt thrown all over it. So it’s not only the politicians, they’re going for anything that could show Europeans were there.”
He says Europeans contributed many good things to South Africa, including bringing Christianity and stopping horrible human rights abuses that were common in African traditions.
However, many white South Africans believe their time in South Africa is over, claiming racial persecution, government incompetence and left-wing economic policies are making it hard for them to prosper in the country.
Similarly, Joshua Charles connects the campaign against monuments to the American Founding Fathers to the left-wing political goal of eliminating the limited government principles for which they stood.
“For those people to presume that the Founders of the United States should be erased from our collective memory is abhorrent. Their sins are just being used as an issue to erase everything that they said.”