Commentary

Students Want Option to Boot George Washington From Washington & Lee Diplomas

Remember when conservatives warned American academic and governmental institutions against caving to the leftist outrage mob’s demand that monuments to flawed historical figures be removed?

Remember when conservatives warned that removing those historically and culturally relevant monuments would simply incentivize leftists to demand the same be done with monuments to the Founding Fathers?

Well, Slippery, meet Slope.

According to the Daily Mail, that is exactly what is happening this month as students and alumni of the Washington and Lee University School of Law petition the administration to “provide students with the option of removing the portraits of namesakes Robert E. Lee and George Washington from their diplomas.”

Painting the university’s namesakes as potentially “controversial or offensive,” the petition argues the presence of their likenesses on official diplomas may somehow detract from efforts to create an “inclusive and compassionate environment” on campus.

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In fact, the petitioners even go so far as to say the portraits hinder the ability of alumni to take pride in and “prominently display” their diplomas in their homes and offices.

I can more than sympathize with students uncomfortable about displaying the portrait of a general like Lee, who proudly fought against the United States, against the colors and values that patriotic Americans salute every day.

But Washington?

Often referred to as the Father of America, Washington fought boldly throughout the American Revolution as an emblematic leader for a daring and dangerous cause.

Reluctantly serving as the first president under the U.S. Constitution, Washington would proceed to set a historic civic precedent by stepping down after two terms despite overwhelming public support.

The words of his 1796 Farewell Address serve to this day as a relevant reminder that blind partisanship and interventionist foreign policy are like cancers to a young nation.

Of course, as a product of his time, Washington also owned slaves — a practice no American can defend today.

But are we truly to ignore the boundless revolutionary contributions and wisdom of great men for the flaws bestowed upon them by their place in history?

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Do you think think the left has gone too far with its attempts to whitewash American history?

Can we not rebuke a man’s shortcomings and still hold him in high regard?

Unfortunately, the American left would argue it is not possible.

And do not be fooled, such an argument is not made in pursuit of establishing a more righteous American canon for us to celebrate.

If this were the standard, there would be no American historical figure righteous enough to stand up to the left’s borderline religious adherence to modern perceptions of social justice.

The truth of the matter is that the left, empowered by social Marxism, is intent on carrying out a postmodern deconstruction of American history. Only the “intersectional” perfection of a socially “just” future will be enough to satiate them.

And if the left’s willingness to shamelessly and immediately turn from targeting figures like Lee to targeting figures like Washington or President Thomas Jefferson doesn’t prove that to you, nothing will.

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Andrew J. Sciascia is the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal. Having joined up as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, he went on to cover the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for the outlet, regularly co-hosting its video podcast, "WJ Live," as well.
Andrew J. Sciascia is the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal and regularly co-hosts the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."

Sciascia first joined up with The Western Journal as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, before graduating with a degree in criminal justice and political science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and worked briefly as a political operative with the Massachusetts Republican Party.

He has since covered the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for The Western Journal, and now focuses his reporting on Congress and the national campaign trail. His work has also appeared in The Daily Caller.




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