(We had to go to the hospital today for Patty to have a CT scan, don’t ask me why, and then off to the supermarket, and now… some nooze.)
Eighty-three years ago, a Russian-born communist painted a huge mural (1,600 feet long) on the walls of what is now a public high school in the San Francisco school district. His theme was the life of George Washington, and he chose to emphasize Washington as a slave owner and a persecutor of Native Americans. Why this thing was painted in the first place–at public expense–is a mystery to me. But it was 1935, and on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s watch, a lot of hammer-and-sickle-friendly artwork got created.
Now the San Francisco school board has decided to destroy it (https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/california-school-board-voted-paint-021440930.html). Seems it makes the students “uncomfortable.”
When I was a kid in school, everybody used to mock the Soviets for constantly rewriting history. Now we do it, too.
But this is complicated, because the mural was, all along, a rewrite of history, and rather a hostile one at that. Academics all around are pleading with the board not to rewrite it again by painting over the mural with some pap about minority self-esteem.
Yes, George Washington owned slaves. At the time, slavery was lawful in every region of the earth. That doesn’t mean it was good. There were already abolitionists at work, like Betsy Ross and, later, William Wilburforce, who led the successful fight to abolish slavery in the British Empire, legislated by Parliament in 1833.
George Washington does not need me to defend him. Take away Washington, and the United States is never born. And this world, fallen though it is, would be infinitely the poorer for that.
Today we love to judge historical figures by our own moral and legal standards of 2019. But how would we fare, if they judged us by theirs?
But the Lord our God judges all; and we do well to remember it.