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Black Lives Matter targets Thomas Jefferson

The Left’s Cultural Revolution intensifies

Matthew Vadum author image /

The vandalization of a statute of University of Virginia founder Thomas Jefferson by students and Black Lives Matter rioters suggests the Left is escalating the ugly Cultural Revolution-style upheaval that President Obama encouraged in office.

This iconoclastic insurrectionism is spreading, as angry left-wing mobs topple statues of figures from the past they dislike. In Chicago, Bishop James Dukes of Liberation Christian Center is demanding that the names and statues of George Washington and Andrew Jackson be removed from parks. Others want Woodrow Wilson’s name excised from buildings and schools because he supported racial segregation. The list goes on and on.

The disorder in Charlottesville comes as a monument in Baltimore honoring Francis Scott Key, who wrote the words to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” was spray-painted with the words “racist anthem.” Leftist writer Jefferson Morley suggested on Tucker Carlson’s TV show that the vandalism was justified, but more on that in a moment.

As about a hundred students chanted “No Trump, no KKK, no racist UVA,” the Jefferson monument on the school’s main quad was draped in black and adorned with signs reading, “Black Lives Matter,” “TJ is a racist,” and “Fuck white supremacy.”

The assault on September 12 came a month after the deadly, misnamed, abortive “Unite the Right” rally in the same town. The campus event was organized by the Black Student Alliance after UVA turned down its demand to suspend the First Amendment by banishing white-supremacists from campus and taking out various Confederate plaques.

“One month ago, we stood on the front lines in downtown Charlottesville as all manner of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and neo-fascists swarmed the area,” one speaker told the crowd. “Two months ago, the Ku Klux Klan rallied in their safe space, fully robed and fully protected by multiple law enforcement agencies who brutalized and tear-gassed peaceful counter-protesters.”

“We can and must condemn the violence of one month ago and simultaneously recognize Jefferson as a rapist, racist, and slave owner,” said the speaker, who could just as easily have been describing the Muslim prophet Muhammad.

“The visibility of physical violence from white supremacists should not take our attention away from condemning and disrupting more ‘respectable’ racists that continue to control the structures that perpetuate institutional racism.”

This shameful attack on Jefferson, a Founding Father and intellectual leading light of the republic, as well as author of the Declaration of Independence, U.S. president, and Virginia governor, comes weeks after racial arsonist Al Sharpton demanded the federal government shut down the Jefferson Memorial in the nation’s capital because the long-dead president owned slaves.

“When you look at the fact that public monuments are supported by public funds you’re asking me to subsidize the insult of my family,” Sharpton said.

“I would repeat that the public should not be paying to uphold somebody who has had that kind of background,” Sharpton said. “You have private museums, you have other things that you may want to do there.”

Jefferson “had slaves and children with his slaves,” he continued. “And it does matter.”

Actually, not so much. Jefferson’s political enemies began circulating the story that he fathered children with his slave Sally Hemings. Jefferson, or any of two dozen of his male relatives, may have fathered the children of Hemings, according to DNA testing.

Besides, the fact that someone in the past owned slaves when it was lawful and socially acceptable doesn’t necessarily invalidate the person’s accomplishments. Slavery, which everyone today – except for parts of the Muslim world and perhaps a handful of spots elsewhere – acknowledges is a horrible, inhumane institution, used to be a well-accepted fact of life essentially everywhere in the world.

This may not excuse what we now consider to be bad behavior from the past but it does place it in its proper context. Jefferson, whether he turned a single slave he owned into a concubine, helped to lay the foundation for its eventual abolition in the United States. Lamenting the scourge of slavery, Jefferson famously wrote, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just[.]”

Meanwhile, AlterNet contributor Jefferson Morley, who, as an America-hating leftist should consider changing his first name, lectured Tucker Carlson on the national anthem’s supposedly racist origins.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” became the U.S. national anthem in 1931 by way of a congressional resolution signed into law by President Herbert Hoover. Its lyrics come from Francis Scott Key’s poem which was grafted on to a drinking song in 1814.

“We should know the real history of the song because it’s so central” to the controversies of today, Morley said. Because some admirers of the Confederacy favored making the song the U.S. national anthem, it is therefore tainted, he said, and by Morley’s logic, so is the country.

I want people to know the real history of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Why is it our national anthem? And the reason it’s our national anthem is because a group of people who I would describe as neo-Confederates campaigned throughout the 1920s to get the “Star-Spangled Banner” designated as the national anthem, and when that happened they celebrated by marching in a parade in Baltimore in June 1931 behind two flags: the Confederate flag and the “Star-Spangled Banner.” So the people who wanted to make the “Star-Spangled Banner” the national anthem considered it a victory for the Confederate cause.

It is important for people to know this because “this kind of racism is baked into our public symbols,” said Morley, who described Colin Kaepernick as a “hero” in the interview.

The proper response to this flaming ball of hateful, seditious nonsense from Morley is, So what?

There is nothing even remotely related to race in “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Key wrote the words to his poem turned lyrics aboard a ship during the Battle of Baltimore, an American victory, in the War of 1812, long before the Civil War broke out in 1861. He is said to have composed it after seeing a large American flag flying triumphantly over Fort McHenry while it was under bombardment by the British Navy.

In other words, Key was moved by patriotism, which is obviously what the national anthem is all about.

But according to Morley, none of this real history is important. He prefers to focus on the marginal, in this case, his claim that a few yahoos lobbied for the song. This “tinges our notions of public memory,” he waxed idiotic.

Morley and his allies at UVA and in Antifa will say anything to get Americans to hate their country.

This article first appeared at FrontPageMag.