“Should they take down the Jefferson Memorial?”
That is what PBS’s Charlie Rose asked Al Sharpton. Now, the “Reverend” is not my go-to source for political insight, but his answer* caught my attention.
“I think that people need to understand that, when people that were enslaved and robbed of even the right to marry and had forced sex with their slave masters, this is personal to us,” replied Rev. Sharpton. “My great-grandfather was a slave in South Carolina . . . Our families were victims of this.”
Asked if this precluded “public monuments” for “everyone associated with slavery,” Sharpton argued: “When you look at the fact that public monuments are supported by public funds, you are asking me to subsidize the insult to my family.”
One can attack the messenger, Sharpton, sure. But what if we instead think of him as our neighbor? I certainly wouldn’t want to insult a neighbor, much less make him pay for the privilege.
Notably, the Reverend embraced privatization, suggesting, “You have private museums.” Privatizing controversial monuments would certainly solve Sharpton’s stated problem.
Of course, the logic behind taking down statues or dismantling the Jefferson Memorial — or merely privatizing them — might also lead to changing the names of cities, counties and states, rivers and mountains. And it’s not just Washington and Jefferson — twelve presidents were slave owners, including Union General U.S. Grant.
Who knows how many are undeservedly memorialized?
Frankly, I’ve never liked the name of my Virginia county: Prince William. A liberty-loving people ought not be stuck with such a monarchial brand.
Let the people decide.
But by vote, not street brawl.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
* This exchange begins at the 15:22 mark in the interview.