Thomas Jefferson was a man, an imperfect man, whose ideals were overshadowed by the gravity of his time. Instead of holding him to that higher standard, it was he who tasked us in the present to fulfill his idealism. He knew that he was trapped by the time he lived in.
What possible understanding do you, Lucian K. Truscott IV, have about living in such a time as he? None.
Have you ever considered that if Thomas Jefferson freed his slaves without financial support, an education, or political will at their backs that his slaves would have been worse off, even murdered? Of course not, because we have never had to make those types of decisions.
To tear down statutes in anger or ignorance is nothing more than juvenile tantrums of an ill-informed lynch mob mentality. What is the difference in owning slaves when you are in the modern era a slave to the rage mob? Thomas Jefferson was just as much a slave to his generation as he was a slave owner. The lynch mobs in our streets are mental slaves to organizations telling them that they are the modern slave owners trying to whip the populace into conformity.
I am against any form of modern ineptness denigrating our historical figures because most of the outcry is hype.
He provided the outline. America has spent the last 244 years crawling our way up to behold that sentiment in mind and spirit. If we have not fully achieved his realization for America, then how can we be in the position to judge him by it?
What ignorance you wrote that really caught my attention was: "A tour of Monticello these days will tell you that it was designed by Jefferson and built by the people he enslaved..."
Not everyone in your family's employ was a slave who worked at Monticello, my family did as well:
(5th Great Grandfather)
Thomas Jefferson's Monticello
Richard Sorrells was a general laborer at Monticello. He worked for Thomas Jefferson from 1769 until his death in 1773.
I have noted on my 1776 Patriot Project page.
If you also read down the list, I have a Confederate in my past too, but unlike you I don't make the past about personal feelings of guilt or shame. I am not an ungrateful person. I view history in the context it was meant to be encapsulated: frozen, studied, and understood.
The points in the past are the growth spurts and sputterings of a grand experiment in self-governance. Your op-ed proves America still has miles to go to fulfill our own Declaration of Independence because you judge the past with a Post Modernist flare of deconstruction.
I view our Declaration of Independence as a challenge to be meet every moment of every day.
That is the difference between you and I. You are caught up in the embarrassment of what you cannot change. I am using challenging times as a teachable moment.
The Thomas Jefferson and the other historical monuments must stay. Otherwise we too are as guilty as those who preceded us. I shall not live in such regretful recompense for something I am not responsible for, but evermore hope to teach that every day we can be the betterment of ourselves and others.
Be your better self and end this foolishness.
Source: NY Times
Originally published on the Villa de Paz Gazette, July 7, 2020.