South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg grabbed another sizable moment in the sun two weeks back when he openly expressed support for the removal of morally flawed historical figure’s names and likenesses from public buildings, honors and events.
Specifically, it was the “Jefferson-Jackson Dinner” — an annual Democratic Party fundraiser named for Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson — that fell in the presidential hopeful’s crosshairs during his guest appearance on the “Hugh Hewitt Show.”
“Over time, you develop and evolve on the things you choose to honor. Jefferson is more problematic,” Buttigieg told Hewitt.
The Indiana mayor’s argument followed that, despite countless contributions to the political philosophy and birth of the United States, Jefferson and Jackson remain poor choices for public honors and titles as a result of racist writings and slave ownership.
“The real reason I think there is a lot of pressure on this is the relationship between the past and present. That we’re finding in a million different ways that racism isn’t some curiosity out of the past that we’re embarrassed about but moved on from,” Buttigieg explained.
“It’s alive. It’s well. It’s hurting people and it’s one of the main reasons to be in politics today,” he concluded.
The Left’s Monument to Hate
It was a topic only briefly touched upon during the radio appearance, but it garnered tremendous media attention nonetheless.
Backlash followed quickly, and Buttigieg and his media allies were quick to defend the remarks as innocuous or “taken out of context.”
But it would be nearly impossible to argue that these remarks served any end other than to reinvigorate an off-and-on political dialogue surrounding whether certain American historical figures should still be publicly revered and monumentalized.
It was no accident that this one soundbite brought us back to a long-form discussion of our national history and what modern monuments, titles and institutions derived from historical figures symbolize.
And there is no doubt the mayor’s remarks were meant to virtue-signal progressive Democrat voters and peers who have long favored tearing down such monuments, touting their important symbolic nature in power dynamics and the haves-versus-have-nots social paradigm.
It is the left’s own conception that, though seemingly well-intentioned, these monuments, honors and institutions — named for figures who committed the heinous crime of holding to the moral codes of their time and not our own — largely stand as positive symbols of the evils and negative impacts of those figures. They monumentalize oppression and represent nothing more than a latent societal acceptance of historical racism, eugenics, slavery and all other manner of evil.
Yet, with this discussion once again reinvigorated, it seems a perfect time for those of us on the right to ask a very important question:
While the left focuses on tearing down monuments to historical figures with shadowed pasts, and purging society of so-called monuments to hate and racism, why do they refrain from tearing down what is quite possibly the greatest, and most impactful monument to racist hate and evil in modern American society?
Planned Parenthood — the left’s monument to Margaret Sanger.
Margaret Sanger’s Mission
By all honest accounts, Sanger was a hatemonger and a eugenicist.
Sanger’s tireless work toward developing a cheap, accessible method of contraception for American women, though shrouded in a cloak of philanthropy and feminist sexual liberation by the modern left, was done largely in the pursuit of societal and ethnic cleansing.
The founding of the American Birth Control League — Planned Parenthood’s precursor — was, in Sanger’s very own words, pursued in the interest of quelling “the rising stream of the unfit.”
And who were “the Unfit?”
One need only look to the countless eugenicist works in Sanger’s periodical, The Birth Control Review, to find the answer: anyone with a deformity, mental illness or special need. Or, as she called them, the “feeble-minded, idiots, morons, insane, syphilitic, epileptic” and “criminal.”
In such works as “The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda,” “Some Moral Aspects of Eugenics” and “My Way to Peace,” Sanger and her colleagues shamelessly advocated “a stern and rigid policy of sterilization, and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is already tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.”
Not to mention the “Negro Project” — Sanger’s attempt to make birth control as “accessible” as possible in the black community by introducing an influx of ABCL locations to largely black inner-city areas.
And so concerned was Sanger that her efforts would be seen for what they were — an attempt to sterilize the racially “unfit” — that she penned her infamous letter to Clarence Gamble in 1939, expressing her intention to partner with and use black church leaders to keep the community ignorantly calm about her project.
“We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members,” she wrote.
Still, the left is perfectly willing to build false narratives and make concessions when it comes to Sanger and Planned Parenthood.
They claim the “good” she and her organizations have done outweighs the sordid details of her philosophy and mission. Or they attempt to write those details out of the historical narrative entirely.
Yet, when it comes to figures like Jefferson and Washington — men who sacrificed everything to stitch together our nation’s founding and principles — this nuanced approach to viewing historical figures and their writings is unacceptable.
They claim without a second glance that those men were evil. That monuments to those men represent institutions and histories of oppression that still negatively impact the marginalized.
The left ignores the fact that their beloved Planned Parenthood — alive and well, unlike slavery or the Framers — is still directly injuring the impoverished communities and communities of color they pretend to care for.
And until leftists come to terms with Planned Parenthood’s unquestionable status as a monument to racism and eugenics, we on the right should be unwilling to even humor a debate on altering or demolishing public monuments to figures far more worthy of acclamation than Sanger.
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