by Joshua Kaplan
Appearing Friday on The Hugh Hewitt Show, 2020 Democrat White House contender and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said events bearing President Thomas Jefferson’s name should be renamed, calling it the “right thing to do.”
A partial transcript is as follows:
HUGH HEWITT: Let’s go to policy now. A very blunt question because you talk about going to every Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Indiana when you were running statewide. Should Jefferson-Jackson dinners be renamed everywhere because both were holders of slaves?
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Yeah, we’re doing that in Indiana. I think it’s the right thing to do. You know, over time, you develop and evolve on the things you choose to honor. And I think we know enough, especially Jackson, you know, you just look at what basically amounts to genocide that happened here. Jefferson’s more problematic. You know, there’s a lot to, of course, admire in his thinking and his philosophy. Then again, as you plunge into his writings, especially the notes on the state of Virginia, you know that he knew that slavery was wrong.
BUTTIGIEG: And yet, he did. Now, we are all morally conflicted human beings. It’s not like we’re blotting him out of the history books or deleting him from being the Founding Fathers. But naming something after somebody confers a certain amount of honor. The real reason I think there is a lot of pressure on this is the relationship between the past and present that we’re finding in a million different ways that racism isn’t some curiosity out of the past that we’re embarrassed about but moved on from. It’s alive, it’s well, it’s hurting people, and it’s one of the main reasons to be in politics today, is to try to change or reverse the harms that went along with that. We better find ways to live out and honor that principle.