American Consequences - October 2017

and freed him after one year. Despite Grant’s desperate need for money at the time, he did not sell Jones. But, still... Even wise and kindly Benjamin Franklin bought and sold people. Yes, he freed his slaves and he became president of America’s first abolitionist society. But, still... So here is a to-do list (with many, many, many more chores to be added to it): 1. Remove from public sight all references to anyone who ever owned slaves or at any time supported, explicitly or implicitly, the institution of slavery. The movie The Bridges of Madison County is an easy fix, re-titled Worst Piece of Dreck in Which Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood Ever Appeared . But should the name of the lead characters in The Jeffersons disqualify the brilliant comedic work of African-American actors Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford from being shown in reruns? The capitals of Madison, Wisconsin and Montpelier, Vermont (named after Madison’s Montpelier plantation) will need new monikers. I picture a (organic, GMO-free) butter-churning contest to decide which one gets the coveted name of “Cheesehead City.” Bet on the muscular Green Bay fans. Montpelier will likely get “Maple Syrup Town.” New York’s Madison Avenue will also have to be rechristened. I suggest “Avenue Clogged

With Commuter Buses to Staten Island.” It’s unwieldy, but will remove the offending wig-wearer’s name and lend the illusion that beleaguered Mayor Bill de Blasio cares about the largely forgotten, mostly Republican borough. “The Monroe Doctrine,” I suppose, will henceforth go by something on the order of “Doctrine of Yankee Imperialist Interference in the Sovereign Affairs of Latin American Nations, No Matter How Insane Those Sovereign Affairs Get.” John Jay was a Founding Father (a patriarchal and Eurocentric term that needs to be replaced with “Crypto-Colonialist Person Once Considered Significant”) and the first Chief (a title insulting to Native Americans) Justice of the United States. So, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice will be renamed for all the people who have been wrongly convicted of crimes, starting with those unfairly arrested using prejudicial “stop-and- frisk” tactics. It will be a very long name for a college, but America has a very long history of Criminal In justice. 2. Repurpose public spaces that memorialize ideas and actions that are wrong. Mount Vernon, Monticello, Montpelier, and the University of Virginia’s Jefferson- designed Rotunda and Lawn could be made into “safe spaces” for permanent “antifa” demonstrations. Republicans, Libertarians, and old-fashioned “free speech” liberal Democrats would be forbidden to venture within 10 miles.

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