Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Liberty and Justice For All Depends on Living UP to our Founding Principles, Not Rejecting Them

Dear Reader:
For this post, I wish to make a personal appeal. An appeal from my heart. 
  • I deplore racism and embrace equal justice and civil rights for all.
  • I repudiate white supremacy, and recognize there are cultural and systemic issues which still need to be addressed.
  • I support criminal justice reform.
  • I support holding government and all civil servants (including, but not limited to, law enforcement) accountable.
  • I support moving Confederate statues to cemeteries and museums (and out of central, public, community spaces). And I call upon all Americans (and do so, as one born and raised in Virginia) to stop celebrating the Confederacy as a noble enterprise.
  • I believe some Army bases should be renamed.
  • I believe Harriet Tubman should replace Andrew “Trail of Tears” Jackson on the $20 bill.
  • I want to be a part of the solution and to do my part to move our country forward on all these issues.
BUT....
If you believe that toppling statues to our Founding Fathers will solve our problems, you are being foolish. 
And...
If you believe repudiating the founding principles of the United States is going to bring about equality and social justice....
You are being not only foolish, but reckless.
I am not saying statues are more important than people, nor am I saying the Founders were sinless saints worthy of national worship. They were flawed. They were (like us) sinners. 
Rather, I am arguing that they laid out principles upon which this Republic was founded that even the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass ultimately praised. And not only Douglass, but also Hiram Revels and all the first African American members of the US Senate and House of Representatives (elected during the Reconstruction era).
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr certainly criticized the Founders (and rightly so) but he did not trash them, nor did he call on the American people to renounce them. Go back and watch his “I Have a Dream” speech. He called on Americans not to renounce the founding principles of their country but rather to live UP to them: “I have a dream today that one day this nation wil rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.”
I support all peaceful protests for civil rights and equal justice under the law. 
But when it comes to the rioting, the violence, the destruction of property, and (yes) the toppling of statues, what we are experiencing is more akin to the FRENCH Revolution than the American Revolution. And frankly more akin to many of the socialist revolutions in the 20th century.
If we continue down this road.....and I say this as a student of history.... you have no idea the whirlwind we will reap.
This nation has its sins and shortcomings. 
We can choose to improve it with love or destroy it with hate.
I know my choice. What is yours?

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