The NAACP called him ignorant. So did the head of the Congressional Black Caucus. Professors from Harvard, Yale and Columbia called him blind and strange. The Washington Post attacked him. And so did CNN. On Social Media he was also called provocative, dangerous and depressing.
It all started when a church in Alexandria, Virginia decided to take down two plaques commemorating George Washington and Robert E. Lee – then a Fox News reporter asked John Kelly what he thought of Lee: General Kelly said Lee was “an honorable man” and added “men and women of good faith” fought in both sides during the Civil War.
And that started the howl.
But back in 1936, Franklin Roosevelt called Robert E. Lee “one of our greatest American Christians.” Teddy Roosevelt also praised Lee. And so did Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower (who hung Lee’s portrait in the Oval Office), Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
And what about George Washington? Well, he was the man who, after the revolution, refused to be made king.
The howl’s a peculiar thing: It tells you Republicans are evil, Democrats are evil, and Trump is evil. It tells you Washington, Lee, Francis Scott Key, Columbus and General John Kelly are all vile – and, worst of all, the howl breeds blindness: Blindness when we look at where we came from, blindness about where we are, and blindness when we try to see where we are going.