The Demonization Continues: Charlottesville Turns its Back on Thomas Jefferson

One can’t help but go back, again and again, to President Donald Trump’s prescient words in that press conference after the Charlottesville riots. No, not the “very fine people on both sides” remarks that the media loves to play over and over again, the other ones. The ones where he reminded a forgetful media what the right-wing protests were originally centered around: The preservation of a Robert E. Lee statue. Trump may or may not have been right about “very fine people” joining the tiki-torch parade or the violence of the following day, but he was certainly right about the Lee statue and what its removal might portend.

“So this week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?” Trump asked.

Oh, did you say Thomas Jefferson? In Charlottesville? How about that.

From the AP:

Charlottesville, Virginia, will no longer celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s birthday as an official city holiday and instead will observe a day recognizing the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans.

The city council voted Monday night to scrap the decades-old April 13 holiday honoring the slave-holding president and Founding Father. Charlottesville will now mark Liberation and Freedom Day on March 3, the day U.S. Army forces arrived in the city in 1865.

Charlottesville has been grappling publicly for years with how to tell its history of race and discrimination. Those efforts intensified after white nationalists gathered in the city in 2017 for a rally that descended into deadly violence.

The legacy of Jefferson, the nation’s third president, author of the Declaration of Independence and founder of the University of Virginia, has been a component of that ongoing debate.

Only one city councilmember was courageous enough to stand up for Jefferson and the monumental legacy he left this country. Kathy Galvin said that Charlottesville should continue to commemorate the man because, whatever his personal failings, he was largely responsible for enshrining the freedoms we enjoy to this day.

“It also is important to think about what Thomas Jefferson has done,” Galvin said. “I find it somewhat ironic, at this point in time, that the founding father who gave us the ability to question our holiday schedule is now not going to be able to be acknowledged for the establishment of that act.”

So, yeah, now it’s Jefferson. So who’s next? By the time the left gets finished tearing down America’s history, even Obama will be jettisoned for his support of drone strikes and his administration’s deportations. Only statues of Mao, Marx, Stalin, and Chomsky will be permitted.

What an age we live in…

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