Silent Sam silliness

July 9, 2013 

I was sorry to see that in Mr. Entenman’s letter that he did not understand Ms. Francis’s message or did not reflect on it sufficiently.

In her letter, Ms. Francis gives an example of the results when political correct zealots get to work suppressing or falsifying/modifying the past, and she is concerned that this does not happen to America − “the improving of our understanding of history.” Improve the schools and teach real history, not politically correct pap so that the grownups and graduates of universities do not have to bend over and get their knowledge from plaques.

In further answering Mr. Entenman (CHN, June 23,, I would say, “let’s be ridiculous” and, following this “logic,” let’s be consistent in our effort to be ridiculously politically correct. God forbid insulting one or another group of population, so let’s place a plaque wherever we can.

Let’s start from the Jefferson Memorial and place a plaque there with some inscription like “We respect this man in spite of him being from the family of rich plantation owners. His relatively luxurious life was all provided by the cruel exploitation of the slaves. And on top of everything, according to the rumors, one of them was the mother of his children in his later years, so, it might be sexual exploitation involved, too.” For political correct balance there should be a plaque erected on the wall of the Thomas Jefferson memorial.

Let’s be further consistent. Let’s then go to the George Washington monument. There should be a plaque on it saying he was one of the richest men in Virginia and the owner of plantations, and numerous people were working for free on his land. Probably we should write about Washington’s bad relations with the Indians and different ideas he had about the territories, which historically belonged to the indigenous population. Let’s be politically correct and place those plaques all over the country – who knows, who and how can be offended with what and because of which reason?

And what about Theodore Roosevelt with his famous “Speak softy and carry a big stick, and you will go far”? I bet everyone remembers his participation in the infamous safari in 1909 when hundreds of rare species of animals were killed under false pretence to supply the national museums with exhibits (and how many were consumed by the participants of that shameful expedition, nobody knows: it looks like there was not a single vegetarian there.)

By the way, when running around the country installing plaques explaining past sins of the people the historical monuments were dedicated to, we should not forget Mount Rushmore. Let’s go there straight to install a big joint plaque to all those guys together in toto. Would it not be cheaper, Mr. Entenman?

Sven Sonnenberg lives in Chapel Hill.

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