A Confederacy of Dunces

Staff Columnist

“Mayor Bill de Blasio goes hunting for ‘hate’ on New York City property.”

(“ A Confederacy of Dunces,”  In Main Street By William Mc Gurn , The Wall Street Journal, Tuesday,September 19, 2017)

I’ll admit liking the catchy title.  I thought that as a preamble I’d explain a bit of my bona fides as a Native New Yorker, and maybe as one who was and might still be a non-dunce.

I was born in Manhattan, at Lexington Avenue and 58th Street.  I attended parochial school in Elmhurst, Queens then High School at All Hallows in the shadow of Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.  If that isn’t enough, I worked for five years or so at what was then known as The Port of New York Authority before returning to the active Naval Service of the United States.  That led to Viet Nam and a career. So in things New York – I get it.

McGurn: “ Spare a thought for poor Bill deBlasio.  As cities across the South are shedding their Confederate memorials faster than you can say Stonewall Jackson, what New York’s mayor wouldn’t give for a larger-than-life Robert E. Lee bronze in full ‘Gone With the Wind’ glory that he could order taken down.

Instead, he had to content himself with the announcement, days after last month’s deadly protest in Charlottesville, that the violence there had led him to order a 90-day review of ‘all symbols of hate on city property.’

Alas for the mayor, the confederate pickings in his Yankee city are slim.  The president of Bronx Community College found busts of Jackson and Lee and removed them.  The Episcopalians took down two plaques commemorating a maple tree that Lee planted outside a now-closed church when he was stationed at Brooklyn’s Fort Hamilton in the 1840s.  The tree itself lives, despite its Confederate roots.

But it was left to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to embrace  the full absurdity of the moment when it declared that a mosaic at a Times Square subway stop is in fact meant to be a Confederate flag – but will be altered because it too closely resembles one.

Polls show that most Americans oppose the removal of Confederate memorials, at least by mobs or politicians winking at them.  Even so, the vandals are ascendant.  In recent days Francis Scott Key  joined a list  statuesque notables, from Joan of Arc to Wall Street’s Charging Bull, that have been toppled or otherwise despoiled. “

You get it.  There’s more.

McGurn:  “Still, the last reason driving Mr. de Blasio to the soapbox may be the most telling: Railing at dead white hateful males is lots more fun than doing the hard work required to improve city life for New Yorkers. Because in the real world, the progressive agenda doesn’t  work very well.

Now, if Mr. de Blasio were truly looking to tear down monuments that actively contribute to racial injustice, he would find plenty in his city.  These include a failing public school system in which only a small fraction of African-American students test at grade level; a new, state mandated $15 minimum wage, which will further price young black men out of jobs when it goes into effect; and the misguided welfare programs that undermine the black family.

Compare this state of affairs with what Joel Kotkin’s Center for Opportunity Urbanism found when it looked at the best cities for racial minorities to get ahead.  The center ranked cities by home ownership, entrepreneurship and median household income.  When it crunched the numbers, 13 of the top 15 cities for African-Americans turned out to be in the former Confederacy.”

That is embarrassing, for this New Yorker, and should be for the Mayor.  The City Council is now targeting the Christopher Columbus statue high atop a column on Columbus Circle.  The New York Post suggested that the Mayor ‘take a mulligan’ on his statue killing commission.

Bill McGurn concludes:  In the post-Charlottesville press conference that got him into so much trouble, Mr. Trump pointed to the Robert E. Lee statue whose removal was the ostensible reason for the initial Charlottesville protest – and suggested George Washington might well be the next week’s target.  ‘Where does it stop?’ he asked.

Mayor deBlasio and his fellow progressives have given their answer:  It doesn’t.”

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1 Response for “A Confederacy of Dunces”

  1. Steve Keller says:

    As a fellow former born and raised New Yorker all I can add is Bill de Blasio’s mis-guided liberal zeal is exceeded only by his outstanding incompetence.

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