Happy Independence Day, or, as the left might call it this year, “Original Sin Saturday.” July 4th is when we celebrate the birth of The United States. But, whereas you commemorate the inception of what Lincoln called “the last best hope of earth,” liberals lament that flawed people had the audacity to create a flawed nation. Then, that flawed nation had the bad taste to prosper!
It’s that left-wing understanding of America that’s behind the push to erase or blur our history. The purge of the Confederate flag is currently the noisiest, but by no means the only, prong of the attack from activists and academics and the media who love them.
Take for example, the secular liberal effort to erase the nation’s Christian foundation. Don’t believe me? Ask Huffington Post, Salon, Alternet, The New York Times or the angry atheist groups. The Constitution established no state religion and left it at that. To suggest that the Founders worked to create this nation in a secular vacuum uninformed by Judeo-Christian ideas and free of shared Christian assumptions about good and evil, responsibility and sin is an ahistorical farce.
But liberals are on a mission, and inconvenient facts are unwelcome. From the people on our money to the content of our textbooks and the interpretations of our founding documents, American leftists seek to obfuscate, distort and erase our history. Here are four of the ways.
Erasing the Rebellion
Should the Confederate flag fly over the South Carolina state house? There are excellent arguments against it. But in the left’s “frenzy of self-righteousness” following the Charleston massacre, the Soviet style purge is on. Wherever it is found, the rebel banner must be erased.
MSNBC host Al Sharpton has presumably found a way to profit from the uproar because he’s demanding the military remove “all remnants of the Confederacy,” including streets named after Confederate officers on U.S. bases. In Memphis, Mayor A.C. Wharton, Jr. wants to dig up the grave of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and move it out of the city.
Elsewhere, Huffington Post was scandalized to discover that there are statues of Confederates in the U.S. Capitol. Of course a living, breathing former long-time Ku Klux Klan organizer resided in the Capitol for nearly as long as some of its statues, but because Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd was a Democrat, libs like the HuffPo crowd weren’t interested in history.
From the creepy to the ridiculous. In the New York Post, entertainment writer Lou Lumenick argued, with tongue nowhere near cheek, for a ban on Gone with the Wind. After all, he wrote, Warner Bros., which owns GWTW, “just stopped licensing another of pop culture’s most visible uses of the Confederate flag — toy replicas of the General Lee, an orange Dodge Charger from The Dukes of Hazzard.”
Apple may or may not stop selling Civil War strategy games, and Walmart and Amazon (where you can get all kinds of Nazi and communist memorabilia) are pulling anything with the flag. Quintessentially southern NASCAR has banned rebel flags from racetracks, and the National Park Service is purging all Confederate-only merchandise from the Gettysburg Visitors Center gift shop, and …
… And from the ridiculous to the appalling. In a CNN discussion about the Confederate flag, Legal View host Ashley Banfield brought up Thomas Jefferson, who owned slaves. “There is a monument of him in the capital city of the United States. No one ever asked for that to come down,” she said. Anchor Don Lemmon dismissed the comparison to the flag frenzy, but added “There may come a day when we may want to rethink Jefferson, I don't if we should do that. But when we get to that point, I'll be happy to partake in that particular discussion.”
Unfounding the Fathers
Lemmon is late to the “rethink Jefferson” party. His failure to write the end of slavery into the Declaration of Independence, and to free his own slaves despite his personal view that slavery was evil, have sealed his fate with the left. It is now widely accepted that Jefferson sexual relationship with Sally Hemings, one of his slaves, and fathered at least one of her children. Evidence to the contrary has been widely ignored and doubters have been accused of racism. Meanwhile, what makes the accusation so damaging has nothing to do with race, but that fact that the man who wrote so eloquently of liberty and natural rights would further exploit the already inhuman master-slave relationship.
Revelations or even just the imagining of scandals serve liberals well. Tearing down the Founders is in their interest – if you revere the men, you’re less likely to sit by while the left dismantles their handiwork. The America they created is inherently violent, exploitative, imperialist, racist, sexist, heteronormative and transphobic. (The Constitution is silent on the right to gender-neutral restrooms.)
So smearing them with our modern pathologies, like the shoddy cottage industry of academics who maintain that Lincoln was gay. Or a historical novel that reimagine all the Founders as homosexuals. (The New York Times was sufficiently impressed with this effort to call it a “slashing” “chronicle of American bigotry and hate, from the country’s beginnings …”)
How else to explain the announcement that Alexander Hamilton – the most American of American Founders – is coming off the $10 bill?
In fourteen hundred ninety-two …
The real, ultimate and absolute original sin of the United States occurred in the first contact between white Europeans and the gentle, peace-loving, Gaia-conscious Indians. Thus, Christopher Columbus is no longer a courageous explorer venturing into the unknown. He’s a “murderous egomaniac” who “kidnapped native Americans and sold them into slavery, had his men slice them to pieces and through disease and warfare, killed roughly half the population of Haiti,” according to British comic John Oliver.
That that the natives Colombus impacted were far from the New Age hippies the left likes to paint doesn’t matter. That his voyage led eventually to the establishment of the nation that some of us still love and recognize as a force for good in the world is inconsequential. Or maybe that’s his real crime.
Ditto the Pilgrims. To the left, the Pilgrims who came aboard the Mayflower weren’t persecuted refugees braving the sea and a hostile, unknown continent to establish a home where they could worship God as they wished. They were intruders in the Eden of unspoiled wilderness and noble savages. Besides they were unforgivably uptight about sex.
Pilgrims now mostly serve as a rhetorical device for liberals to use on the immigration debate. In 2011, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry described them as “these illegal immigrants from Europe” who “come over and are fed by the people of the actual Americas, the Native and indigenous people,” whom they then turn on and call “dirty, no good, worthless, basically 99 percenters.” The Pilgrims as illegal immigrants theme was popular on the left that year even becoming a New Yorker cover.
And All That
That just scratches the surface of the efforts to pervert American history. The purpose is to render whatever came before unworthy of remembering, honoring or saving. Or, in the case of the Confederate flag, to scratch the ever-present liberal itch to flaunt their moral superiority.