In case you didn’t think the antics of the woke name police could get any more absurd, on August 31, the “D.C. Facilities and Commemorative Expressions Working Group” released a report urging the District of Columbia to rename, remove, or “contextualize” various municipal public properties named after various historical persons. Included in the list are presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson; Founding Father Benjamin Franklin; national anthem author Francis Scott Key; and inventor Alexander Graham Bell, among others. The sins of these men, the committee tells us, are manifold, encompassing slavery, racism, and eugenics.
Cue city leadership’s hand-wringing on perceiving that perhaps such recommendations—two months before a presidential election—might not generate the best optics. Especially given the rising chorus on the Left that the city supposedly deserves the right to statehood and an end to “taxation without representation,” a popular city slogan. Imagine a state that hates its namesake! “It would be absurd to try and diminish the very historic contributions of men who were truly great men. Great men can have flaws,” said Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), D.C.’s non-voting delegate to Congress. Mayor Muriel Bowser promptly narrowed the scope of the city panel’s recommendations to exclude federal buildings, including those honoring Founding Fathers.
Even with half-hearted backpedaling aimed at trying to blunt accusations that the Left is beholden to radicalist ideologues who want to tar America and its history as essentially evil, the D.C. committee’s recommendations reinforce the growing perception among Americans regarding the true scope of these historical revisionist efforts. Inspired by the 1619 Project (whose historically erroneous claims are dismissively downplayed or ignored), woke ideologues are driven by an irrational, self-defeating desire to tear down anything in American public memorialization that is associated with slavery or racism, no matter how tangentially.