Let's put wokeism, not founders, in the dustbin of history

Dec. 26 marked the death of one of the world’s most respected figures, South African anti-apartheid leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu, at age 90. An op-ed entitled “Should the Late Bishop Tutu Get a Statue?” by constitutional and criminal lawyer Alan Dershowitz inadvertently raises a question concerning a completely separate issue from its title.

Tutu, by virtue of his life as an activist, bequeathed to his countrymen a liberated South Africa. While many young South Africans knew him only as an archbishop, his death caused them to educate themselves on his accomplishments. Doing so, one young student commented, “I think that people who fought for our freedom are great people. We are in a better place because of them. Today, I am living my life freely, unlike in the olden days where there was no freedom.”

It is an interesting observation in view of woke activists’ criticism of our own Founding Fathers.

With the plague of wokeism upon us, carriers of the disease seek to look at our 18th and 19th century leaders through a 21st century lens. Therefore, they brazenly impart to them wisdom that went unappreciated in America until much later in our history. It is like imparting 21st century medical advances upon 18th/19th century physicians and then faulting them for using archaic treatments based on what is known today.

Thus, the fact that some Founding Fathers owned slaves has caused cancel culture activists to relegate historic patriots like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to the dustbin of history. They seek the destruction or removal of statues of our Founding Fathers so that 21st century snowflake activists no longer need endure the horrendous suffering of encountering historical accounts of human non-equality.

Of note too is that we have yet to see what “hero standard” – if one even exists – cancel culture activists accept as being statue-worthy. One appears to be non-existent since we have witnessed the destruction, defacing or removal, not only of our past patriotic heroes, but also of our spiritual leaders. Statues of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary have been desecrated, demonstrating no boundaries exist to the hatred wokeism triggers.

If any statues of Prophet Muhammad existed, it would be interesting to see if they too fell victim to wokeism. But, this we will never know as Islam bans any physical depiction of the prophet, whether in art or statue form. This was partly responsible for the Muslim violence triggered by the 2005 publication in a Danish newspaper of several cartoons depicting Muhammad. The newspaper’s intent was only to spark debate regarding criticism of Islam and its self-censorship. No debate ensued, however, as it only sparked Muslim violence for ridiculing the prophet, eventually forcing an apology from the newspaper.

This brings us back to the issue of whether Tutu is statue-worthy. In the Dershowitz article, the author shares details about the archbishop’s dark history. Despite all the good he accomplished for South Africans, as with all humans, Tutu also had his faults – he was intensely anti-Semitic.

Dershowitz wrote about Tutu:

“His recognizable face – with its ever-present grin – has become a symbol of reconciliation and goodness. But it masks a long history of ugly hatred toward the Jewish people, the Jewish religion and the Jewish state. He not only believed in anti-Semitism, he actively promoted and legitimated Jew-hatred among his many followers and admirers around the world.”

Tutu’s hatred for Jews was disturbing, particularly coming from a man of the cloth. He even “minimized the suffering of those killed in the Holocaust,” claiming Jews have caused many of the world’s problems.

While woke activists unfairly scrutinize our Founding Fathers through a 21st century human-value lens, Tutu actually lived over two decades of his life in that century. Therefore, to be fair, his hatred should be scrutinized through that same lens. His personal disdain toward a class of humanity, continuing into the 21st century, is much more unforgivable – for one supposedly possessing today’s human-equality values – than that of our Founding Fathers who did not possess them. It should give holier-than-thou woke activists pause to reflect on denying Tutu a statue.

But the question of Tutu deserving a statue raises the broader issue of how far society is willing to allow wokeism to drive the reality of our history. Burying the legacy of those who did so much to start our own march to freedom in America, dismissing them as our heroes due to flaws non-existent at their time but only perceived much later, imparts to these activists a perfection they themselves lack.

The problem with wokeism, and canceling symbols its activists identify for targeting, is that this disease ultimately afflicts individuals differently. One person’s affliction does not necessarily mean all woke activists suffer the same affliction. Thus, for any symbol found non-offensive by the vast majority of such activists, there undoubtedly is an activist out there who will find it otherwise. But these activists are being accommodated by a society hellbent on, incorrectly, being on the right side of history by burying it.

Sadly, it is the vast majority of Americans losing out due to society’s accommodation of all such activists. Our true history of the evolutionary journey to reach human-equality utopia becomes disjointed. This is reflected by the 1619 Project representing an effort to advance American history’s starting time by more than a century and a half – and now being taught in 4,500 schools – despite critics noting historical inaccuracies.

Ever since our independence in 1776, Americans have contributed to the human rights equality journey. All must be remembered for their individual contributions as well as any delays they caused. But they should not be relegated to the dustbin of history.

Hopefully, at some future point in time before doing much more damage, it will be wokeism enriching history’s dustbin.

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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