The Fight for our Heroes - Part II
If you haven't already, please read The Fight for our Heroes: Part I before diving into this entry.
The very idea of tearing down statues of Jesus Christ, the hero of all heroes who is the embodiment of love, the Lord and Savior of the universe, and so much more to the 2.3 billion Christians inhabiting the world today, is so patently absurd that anyone who espouses such a view deserves to be called out for their reckless lunacy at every turn. What the far-left activist who supports destroying statues and images of what he calls a “white European” Jesus does not account for is the fact that many cultures around the world depict Christ in ways that resemble their communities. As one writer for Fox News points out, “Ethiopia, for instance, has depicted Jesus as black for more than 1,500 years. Likewise, images of Jesus appearing Asian can be found throughout the Far East.” Regardless of the form in which Christ is depicted, all hold value. These images and statues all ultimately link to one singular hero and each represents the love that is shared for him between Christians in every corner of the world. Whether a believer or not, if everyone across the globe strived to emulate the teachings of Jesus in their own lives, we might very well catch a glimpse of heaven here on earth.
George Washington is the most indispensable figure in American history. Without him, there simply would not be a United States of America. As the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, he battled with his ragtag soldiers for eight long years against the mightiest empire in the world and won the fight that secured American independence. Following the war, he served as the president of the Constitutional Convention and was instrumental in the framing of the United States Constitution, which established America’s national government, the nation’s supreme laws, and the rights guaranteed to the people of the country. Washington was subsequently elected the First President of the United States. In a world where royalty reigned supreme, he painstakingly worked to prove that the republican model of government could succeed. After two terms as the nation’s chief executive, Washington stepped down as president, setting a sacred precedent that we take for granted in America today: the peaceful transition of power. With all of the power that he wielded in his life, George Washington could have been a king, but he refused to wear a crown. He was truly incorruptible and even Great Britain’s King George III was so awed by his conduct that he reportedly hailed him as “the greatest man in the world.”
How could the father of our country, a man who was famously eulogized as, “First in War, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen,” now be the victim of such disrespect in our current age? I imagine that many of the vandals who are defacing, and toppling statues of Washington probably have minds that are so clouded with falsities that they actually know next to nothing about this towering hero. If these same people were placed in Washington’s shoes for a minute and asked to overcome obstacles similar to the ones he had to face, I think it very safe to predict that they would instantly crumble under the daunting pressure, the likes of which they have never and will never experience in their lives.
Some demonstrators attempt to point out that because Washington owned slaves during his life, he is therefore unworthy of being honored. This is a point worth discussing.
Washington was born into a world where the system of slavery was widely accepted as a part of life. The institution had existed since far before his time and it had been practiced by nearly every civilization across the globe. Slavery also was not confined to one race of people. As noted by the great scholar Thomas Sowell, “People of every race and color were enslaved – and enslaved others.” Sowell also adds, “Slavery was just not an issue, not even among intellectuals, much less among political leaders, until the 18th century – and then it was an issue only in Western civilization." Additionally, "Among those who turned against slavery in the 18th century were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and other American leaders. You could research all of 18th century Africa or Asia or the Middle East without finding any comparable rejection of slavery there.”
Washington did own slaves, but that fact alone does not come close to defining him. In a world where so many did not question the practice of slavery, Washington’s transformation from a slave holder into someone who fought to build a nation where “all men are created equal” and who spoke openly about his desire for a day when the practice was eliminated altogether is remarkable. Toward the end of his days, Washington made one of the most important statements of his life when he decided to free all his slaves in his 1799 will. It was his final message to his beloved nation and an unmistakable expression that the only future for America was one in which all people were free.
Few people in history ever dedicated themselves as completely to their country as George Washington did for the United States of America. We are all here today because of his many sacrifices and we owe more to him than we can ever repay. He will always be worthy of our respect and devotion.
American Enterprise Institute: Thomas Sowell on slavery.
Fox Baltimore: George Washington statue defaced.
George Washington's Mount Vernon: Ten facts about Washington & slavery.
The Thomas Sowell Reader by Thomas Sowell.
This Is Why We Stand: The Washington Way - Five lessons to learn from America's Founding Father.