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NOLAN FINLEY

Editor's Note: Democrats shun founders and heroes

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

For a decade or more we've been hearing how Republicans have drifted out of the mainstream, losing touch with the values of everyday Americans as they're pulled further right by party extremists.

What the mainstream looks like depends on which shore you're viewing it from, I guess.

It's hard to imagine Democrats will find broad support amongst the general public by shunning the nation's heroes and founders.

And yet Michigan Democrats are considering joining their peers in other states and dropping the names Jefferson and Jackson from their annual fundraising dinner because Jefferson owned slaves and Jackson oppressed native Americans.

Jefferson also wrote the Declaration of Independence and directed the addition of the Bill of Rights to the Constitution, the document that eventually, if belatedly, enabled the spread of equal rights to all. Jackson gave the country its breadth and thus the resources to be the most powerful force for good in the world. His courage also paved the way to victory in the War of 1812.

If these figures are no longer historically legitimate in the eyes of Democrats, then they'll have to advocate for a lot more erasing than just the names on a dinner program, starting with the $20 bill and Washington's most moving memorial. Wait, Washington? Didn't he own slaves, too?

It may be a good exercise for America to find balance in its view of historical figures, but I doubt most Americans are ready to topple the statues of the great men who founded this country and nurtured its roots.