Some websites consider Richard Henry Lee a president of the United States. In fact, Lee was president of the Continental Congress and actually made the motion in Congress to declare independence from Great Britain. In other words, he was the man willing to literally stick his neck out in a body still unconvinced that open rebellion was prudent.
Lee signed the Declaration of Independence and was eventually elected a senator from Virginia.
Yesterday, on July 4, I visited the odd and charming grave of Lee, tucked away in a Westmoreland County, Virginia, cornfield. It isn’t easy to find. Nevertheless, I wasn’t the only visitor. Others had left wreaths and notes of thanks. A dirt road travels through the middle of a cornfield, a field that used to comprise his family estate Burnt Fields. Suddenly the corn gives way to a small circle with the Lee family plot enclosed by a brick wall.
Lee was a Southern gentleman farmer, which to people like Chris Rock means slaveholder. Of course wiser Americans know the principles in the Declaration were so transcendent that even though it might take two centuries to fully realize, the authors of that document were revolutionaries both philosophically and politically. The human experience is now better because of those men, for blacks and whites alike.
Rock’s rancid attitude wasn’t new to me. If you’ve read my book Injustice, you know that hatred of the founders is a deep undercurrent of the racialist left. Documenting how that nasty undercurrent has become public policy is a central theme of my book:
The nation’s premiere voting rights museum—the National Voting Rights Museum—now sits at the foot of the bridge. The museum is an inadvertent monument to the civil rights movement’s degeneration. Its outlook is neatly captured in ten words that begin its timeline display of the civil rights movement. There, we find a replica of John Trumball’s iconic depiction of the signing of the Declaration of Independence with the caption, “1776. The Declaration of Independence signed by wealthy white men.”The original civil rights giants would never have tolerated this historically false assertion. They were patriots, driven by love for their fellow countrymen and a burning desire to make America a better place for all its citizens. They repeatedly and vehemently rejected hatred. But the nasty caption captures the bitter spirit of much of the civil rights movement today and of numerous race-based activist groups around the country.
President Obama participated in the Jubilee Weekend march sponsored by the organization that runs this museum. The leaders of the museum are his personal friends. It might be a good and healing thing if he were to call them to take down this divisive display, unless of course he thinks it is a good thing.