OPINION — The founding fathers were far from perfect

Published 5:35 pm Friday, June 11, 2021

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While perfect is what we should all work toward in everything we do, seldom do we reach that goal every time. There has been only one that has reached that goal and that was 2,000 years ago.

Generally, when someone is a superstar in their pursuits, people tend to ignore the fact that they aren’t perfect. Stephen Curry and LeBron James are the best at what they do with a basketball, but each have missed about as many shots as they hit. Babe Ruth was considered the best hitter in which all others are compared. Yet, he only got a hit about one third of the time he went to the plate.

The best actors and actresses often must do several takes in front of the camera before they get a scene right. Musicians need to record and re-record to get the music exactly right.

With this background, it seems odd that currently some are looking back to our founding fathers and insisting that we erase them from their roles in the nation’s formative years despite the overall good they did for our nation.

At the same time, they are careful to ignore the faults of those they find favor with. One icon of the left is President John F. Kennedy. They relate to him and his wife as the perfect couple. Yet we know that he was not a faithful husband.

Again, these same people refuse to overlook any perceived shortcomings of the many that worked hard to found and create what became the United States. As was common in those early years, particularly in the south, they held slaves in bondage. A concept that was in direct conflict with the founding principles of our nation.

Consider George Washington who led a ragtag army to drive the British out. His leadership skills brought not only victory but also led our new nation for the first eight years. That leadership ensured that America would have a government that would not have a president for life. Despite those great things, some cannot overlook that he and his family did participate in slavery.

Closer to home, Patrick Henry was one of the most outspoken opponents of British rule, yet now, because his farm was maintained by slaves, some want to erase him from history. Plans are being made to remove his name from a community college. Should we also rename the counties of Patrick and Henry as well as Arlington, which was given the name of Robert E. Lee’s home?

Again, all men and women are imperfect. However, in each of these cases their value to our nation outweighs their imperfections. These are a few examples of individuals that are being measured by today’s standards rather than the period in which they lived. From Christopher Columbus to Robert E. Lee, statues have been, or will be, torn down. With the woke crowd, they believe that removing or destroying statues will in some way change history.

These same people believe that, despite reality, we should not look to 1776, the date of our Declaration of Independence, or the establishment of colonies in Florida in 1526 or Virginia in 1607 or even Plymouth Rock in 1620 as the beginning of America. Instead, we should start with 1619, the first year that Africans were brought to America. This should be recognized as a significant date as the others mentioned, but it ignores the rest of history.

Just as they see only the good in some and only the bad in others, focusing on one important year with no consideration of all the facts, is only a passing fantasy.

Frank Ruff Jr. represents Lunenburg in the state Senate. His email address is Sen.Ruff@verizon.net.