Charlottesville, Virginia has declared independence from Thomas Jefferson
April 13, Thomas Jefferson's birthday, will no longer be a holiday in the city considered by many to be Jefferson's hometown. City officials voted to marginalize the author of the Declaration of Independence, the man who literally changed the world with his mind and pen, in favor of Liberation and Freedom Day, to be observed on March 3. The new holiday recognizes the date in 1865 that Union Army forces arrived in Virginia, according to The Washington Times.
These are tough times for the man who wrote: "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation." Last March, students at Hofstra University outside New York City demanded the removal of a Jefferson statue from that school's campus, while in May, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg went on record as supporting the Indiana Democratic Party's decision to rename its traditional Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.
Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Charles Wilson Peale (1791).
So what were the causes that impelled Charlottesville to dissolve the political bands connecting it to Thomas Jefferson? The fact that he owned slaves, of course, as many did — around the world — at the time. The facts that he spoke out against the institution in general and that his words have helped free millions — if not billions — of people since the Declaration were not taken into consideration.
The desire to relegate Jefferson to the ash heap of history has grown steadily among progressives over the last several years. It is now approaching a fever pitch. In days of yore, Democrats proudly asserted that Jefferson was the First Democrat, the founder of their party, an egalitarian genius who was the driving force behind the American colonies' decision to sever the chains of their bondage to not so jolly old England. (The Democrats' claim to Jefferson was always absurd, at least insofar as Jefferson's biggest fear was of a massive federal government. He was essentially okay with the Articles of Confederation and was desperately afraid of a large, centralized government that could take power away from the states — or the people.)
On April 29, 1962, at a dinner honoring Nobel Prize–winners, then-president Kennedy said: "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."
Jefferson wrote the most consequential and uplifting words strung together since the time of Christ: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." With this proclamation, and the passage of time, much of a planet was freed. Without these words, men and women can possess only the worth that others, or government, "grant" them.
Against all odds, the Founders declared — and won — independence from Britain. Against all reason, leftists have declared their independence from — and loathing of — the United States.
Jefferson once stated: "I have sworn, upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." If he were alive today, he would detest the party who once claimed him as its own. And its Orwellian assault on free speech...and independent thought.
Incredibly, Jefferson, the nation's third president, died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Even more preposterously, so did America's second president, John Adams. They were the only two presidents to sign the Declaration. Care to figure the odds?
Adams died first, but before he passed, he exclaimed: "Jefferson lives!" Perhaps he meant that Jefferson's idea lived on in the form of the United States of America.