Several New York City Council members have long complained that the Thomas Jefferson statue emblazoned in their City Hall served as a reminder of the injustices perpetrated against communities of color throughout our nation’s history. As a result, Mayor Bill de Blasio, a champion of the far left and their authoritarian cancel culture tendencies, has sought the removal of the statue of Thomas Jefferson from the New York City Hall. On October 18, officials on the Public Design Commission obliged by unanimously voting for the statue’s removal. The Statue of Thomas Jefferson which has stood in the New York City Hall for more than 100 years is now bound to be removed by this year’s end.
One of our nation’s gravest sins was slavery. Thomas Jefferson, an imperfect man just like the rest of us, owned more than 600 human beings. He profited from the institution of slavery while understanding its inhumane and unconscionable nature. At the same time, few people in history have done more than Thomas Jefferson to advance the cause of freedom. As the primary writer of the Declaration of Independence, it was Jefferson who wrote “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It stands to reason that if Jefferson’s likeness is banned, his words will be next. Removing a statue does not change history, but it is clear that the leftist mobs who pull down statues have no regard for historical context, or an understanding of the different facets of humanity. They base their indignation solely on feelings of offense while seeking to sweep significant chapters of our history under the rug. The freedom to speak freely is the essence of our democracy and the removal of Thomas Jefferson’s statue is just one of many examples of the far left’s distrust of the American people being capable of handling complicated issues.
The New York Young Republican Club passionately believes that a working democracy demands enlightened citizens and citizens cannot be enlightened if our history is erased and the freedom of speech is stripped away. We express the utmost disappointment toward the New York City Council’s openness to cancel our history through its decision to remove the Thomas Jefferson statue from its halls. Early in its history, a predecessor organization to the New York Young Republican Club was the first to inscribe Abraham Lincoln’s name on its banner and to establish the first company of “Wide-Awakes,” a group organized in support of Lincoln’s 1860 campaign, in New York State. Speaking before an audience of about 1,500 at Cooper Union in 1860 at a speech that this group organized, Lincoln rightfully argued that the founding fathers, whom the left are desperately trying to cancel today, created a foundation that set the country on an anti-slavery course. This morally righteous course eventually allowed people of all colors and creeds to enjoy equal treatment under the law in the United States far before many other countries dignified their citizens with the same basic rights.
One of the most crucial questions of our day is where will this cancel culture hysteria stop? Today it’s Jefferson, but who will it be tomorrow? Cancel culture annihilates reason by bypassing the processes by which social reasoning takes place. Our nation has come a very long way since the terrible evils of slavery through reason and humanity. Every day it increasingly seems that this battle between upholders of civilizational values and the perpetrators of cancel culture will not end well. In the end, it will be up to those who care for liberty and American civilization to exercise our fundamental values and virtues in order to ensure that our progress will endure the test of time.