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Renamed shindig tests hypocrisy of LA Democrats

Perhaps inevitably, Louisiana Democrats have dumped the names of Pres. Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson from their state party’s annual fundraising dinner. The future will tell what hypocrisy emanates from this action.

In order “to reflect the progress of the party and the changing times,” henceforth they will call it the “True Blue Gala.” Changed times indeed, as the appellation replacing the name of Jefferson, who strung together the Democratic-Republicans to challenge successfully Pres. John Adams (while in the process dispatching his fellow partisan Aaron Burr into the vice presidency given a Constitutional quirk resolved by the 12th Amendment), and Jackson, who modernized the party from a top-down to bottom-up organization that set the shape for all modern mass political parties, only came into being this millennium as attached to the party (along with associating “red” with Republicans).

It’s quite fitting in a way, since today’s party looks little like the one from a half-century ago. Back then, it still believed in the inherent desirability of U.S. strength abroad, traditional values, and in the ideas that individuals should take responsibility for their own success in a free market system that needed marginal adjustments here and there. Slavish adherence to identity politics, conspiracy theories pitting classes against each other, and blaming America first for the world’s ills belonged only to its fringe elements.

But those elements have taken control of the party and seem eager to disown Jefferson and Jackson due to the slaveholding past of each and because Old Hickory in person treated and then as president gave orders to treat American Indians brutally. The former issue led to one of the state’s leading Democrats, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, to launch an initiative that would bring down four monuments devoted to Confederate figures and supporters of white supremacy that underpinned the rebels cause.

Those removals scarified the aesthetics of the city as well revealed a disturbing streak of authoritarianism among proponents seemingly too willing to erase history with which they disapproved. However, that political correctness only appeared to go so far, for Landrieu punted on dealing with the iconic statute of Jackson and the eponymous square. Nor did he want to touch street names such as Jackson and Jefferson.

Now that state Democrats have gotten the ball rolling with their renaming, logically they should begin stumping for legal changes disowning those names elsewhere. The titles of Jefferson and Jackson Parishes – both explicitly named for the presidents – should become objects of Democrats in the Legislature for alteration. The same should occur in East Feliciana Parish regarding its municipality Jackson. And surely this should give greater impetus to Landrieu to pitch changing the name of streets, the statue, and square, and as well for other elected Democrats in other places that have anything named after the duo.

After all, sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If Louisiana’s Democrats can read Jefferson and Jackson out of their party, logically they must oppose honoring the two men in other ways. If not, that shows an inherent hypocrisy born both of pandering for votes by those who claim memorializing slavery supporters offends them and from the longings of party elites who wish to meld America’s political culture into their own warped views. 

You can’t have it both ways. Either you accept that flawed individuals on the whole promoted ideas and performed actions that produced American greatness and this merits them recognition, or you reject adherence to those very ideas as leading to greatness. And if there’s resistance to admitting the latter, it’s because that electorally is a losing proposition – something perhaps, given election results over the past four years, the country’s majority already has sensed about Democrats even without such an admission.

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