If there is any American whose birthday should be a national holiday, it is George Washington, born this day in 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia, the first of six children of Augustine and Mary Ball Washington. If I have to tell you the reasons he was “the essential man” in American history, well, I guess you’re the product of our current public school system, a recent college graduate, a Democrat, a Black Lives Matter enthusiast, or something. There is no rational excuse for every American, yes, even African-Americans, to not be grateful for this day. Martin Luther King is now the only individual to have a national holiday dedicated to his honor, while Washington’s memory was dumped into a hodge-podge of lesser figures including Franklin Pierce, William Henry Harrison and now, Donald Trump. King is worthy of his day, but to honor King over Washington is as good an example of “putting the cart before the horse” as one could find. Shame on us. True, George is not lacking honors, with the capital city named for him, a towering monument, cities and towns in many states, Mt. Rushmore, and his image on both the most-used bill and coin. Nonetheless he earned all of it, and this date should be a holiday.
On The Ethics Alarms home page, you will see to your right a link to the list of ethical habits some historians believe made Washington the remarkably trustworthy and ethical man he was, ultimately leading his fellow Founders to choose him, and not one the many more brilliant, learned and accomplished among them, to take on the crucial challenge of creating the American Presidency. Directed to do so by his father, young Washington copied out by hand and committed to memory a list called “110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.” It was based on a document compiled by French Jesuits in 1595; neither the authors nor the English translator and adapter are known today. The elder Washington was following the teachings of Aristotle—another Dead White Man whom most Americans alive today couldn’t tell you Jack S-word about— who held that principles and values began as being externally imposed by authority (morals) and eventually became internalized as character. As I wrote when I first posted them here,
The theory certainly worked with George Washington. Those ethics alarms installed by his father stayed in working order throughout his life. It was said that Washington was known to quote the rules when appropriate, and never forgot them. They did not teach him to be a gifted leader he became, but they helped to make him a trustworthy one.
Would that readers would access that list more often. And politicians. And lawyers. And educators…
1. How ignorant and ungrateful? THIS ignorant and ungrateful…
The ridiculous headline from Campus Reform is: Students At University Of Washington In State Of Washington Demand Removal Of Statue Of George Washington. Once, not too long ago, that would have made my head explode. As reported by the conservative higher education ethics watchdog, the University of Washington’s Black Student Union collected 8,000 signatures on a petition demanding that the school remove a statue of George Washington that was erected in 1909. The petition reads,
REMOVE STATUES OF RACIST FIGURES. Statues in place at the University of Washington are preservers of our dark past. The George Washington statue, in particular, symbolizes a man who owned over 300 Black slaves and profited from their labor. This is not a history that should be glorified and celebrated as it perpetuates white supremacy and preserves its historical imposition. Thus, the George Washington Statue, along with all others that symbolize racist figures, should be removed from the University of Washington.
Good job of educating your charges, U of W!
I have a friend I have alluded to here before, who chided me for suggesting that the terrible reasoning leading Disney to take down Bill Cosby’s bust in the Television Academy Hall of Fame would eventually lead to the toppling of Founders’ statues. I sounded another warning later, when the topplers came for Woodrow Wilson. (regarding whom there is at least a coherent argument that he deserves dishonoring, unlike Washington.) I was right, my friend was wrong, for this was the dangerous slippery slope I thought it was.
Washington and other slave-holding Founders are not “racist figures,” but human beings who lived in a period before that particular block in our ethics foundation had been put in place. That is not their fault, and to Washington’s great credit he had come to understand that the practice was wrong by the time of his death, because he was an ethical and analytical man, and he learned, as ethical humans must. We do not honor Washington, or any great historical figure, for their mistakes, misdeeds and flaws. By that standard, literally no individual of the past deserves to be memorialized, including Martin Luther King.
2. The shackles are tightening… Google-owned YouTube took down a new interview with former President Donald Trump. A Newsmax spokesperson said the company was told that the February 17 interview was removed because it violated YouTube’s “community guidelines,” specifically the policy implemented late last year that it would remove “content that misleads people by alleging that widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election.” Of course, a thorough and non-partisan investigation of various irregularities in the election has not been undertaken. Neither Google nor any other platform lifted a finger to suppress Hillary Clinton’s claims about the 2016 election, nor the outright assertions that the Trump’s campaign’s “collusion” with Russia affected the result. Nor should they have suppressed such claims, whether they were sincere, deluded, or dishonest.
Can anyone imagine any platform taking down an interview with Barack Obama, no matter what he claimed in the course of it? Is there anyone who believes the standard applied to that former President would be the same as the speech-restricting one now being applied to Donald Trump?
3. …and tightening...Veteran Bronx superintendent Karen Ames, a 30-year Department of Education employee, claims in a $150 million lawsuit that Chancellor Richard Carranza forced her to accept a demotion to preserve her pension after he targeted her in his “Disrupt and Dismantle” campaign designed to remove or marginalize longtime employees. “The agenda of Chancellor Carranza and his senior leadership team was euphemistically touted as an ‘equity platform’ but in reality, it was a platform used to create gender, age, racial and ethnic divisions in the NYC School system,” she contends in her Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit filed last week.
Ames says she was grilled about her “ethnic background,” chastised by a colleague at a training session when she shared her grandparents’ experience during the Holocaust, and “admonished” when she declined requests at superintendents meetings to take part in the “Black Panther” movie-inspired “Wakanda Forever” salute. And…wait, WHAT?
Yes, forcing employees to give a comic book black power salute is apparently a thing in the Bronx.
Another fired educator claims that Bronx superintendent Meisha Ross Porter often asked a group of Department of Education employees to do the arms-across-the-chest gesture of solidarity from the mythical African nation of Wakanda.
No, I’m not making this stuff up!
Rafaela Espinal, a Dominican-American, refused the compelled speech—for that is what it is—and says she “was admonished and told that it was inappropriate for her not to participate,” according to her lawsuit filed February 3 against the DOE, Carranza and others. One year from earning a DOE pension, Porter says she was fired from her role as head of Community School District 12 in Bronx after repeatedly refusing to do the “Wakanda Forever” salute. Here’s the salute:
And here is the ProEthics, LTD, officially sanctioned ethical and completely necessary salute that should be immediately directed at any supervisor who insists that a non-military subordinate give any salute, be it a literal salute, “Wakanda,” or Heil!…
It is unethical for any American to submit to this.
4. Meanwhile, The Great Stupid marches on, crushing the culture and brain cells in its path.. In Somerville, Mass., right next to my old family homestead in Arlington, a story from 2019 is finally being reported. Flavia Peréa was informed by the Albert F.Argenziano School in Somerville that her 6-year-old son had engaged in sexual harassment on the basis of a complaint by a female classmate, who claimed that he had touched her “inappropriately.” The school called the police, who left a message on Peréa’s voicemail. The mother received conflicting information from the school about what happened: while the dean of students said her son touched the girl’s “private parts,” the classroom teacher told Peréa the girl reported that he had touched her “bum” and pointed to her buttocks.
(Again, I’m really sorry, George.)
Law enforcement never took action against Peréa’s son.The school didn’t discipline him. Neither he nor the “victim” were removed from the class. The boy, however, now has “a record.” The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and the state Department of Children and Families have the incident filed as a “sexual assault” and the boy as the “alleged perpetrator.” School officials argue they were following state rules, but Peréa sees no justification for involving the police since Massachusetts law holds that children under the age of 12 cannot be charged with a crime.
Why is this story only being reported now? Racism, of course! It wasn’t bad enough that a 6-year-old’s conduct was treated as a possible crime based on unreliable accounts until the mother realized that the culture was especially receptive to race-baiting. The boy is Black and Hispanic, and the girl is white. Peréa, a sociology lecturer at Harvard University, now claims that the episode illustrates America’s “school-to-prison pipeline,” where the alleged discriminatory approach to discipline and laws enforcement grease the path of Black and Latino students toward incarceration. “They don’t see a little boy. They see a criminal,” Peréa says.
Presumed racism! That’s the ticket!
NOW its news.
5. Just a reminder: Don Lemon is such a petulant, shallow, petty child. It is signature significance that CNN employs someone like him as an alleged professional journalist.