In recent weeks, the Confederate statue controversy has died down. I have been grateful for this shift, as no good ever comes from questioning the status quo or taking an interest in US history.*
Still, I fear that the divisive episode may not be fully behind us. And if it should reemerge, I have developed a grand compromise that should satisfy everyone: Replace all of the Confederate statues with statues of our noble 32nd president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
This solution may not be obvious, but it offers something for everyone.*
In the debate over removing Confederate statues, conservatives have suggested that removing statues amounts to “changing history“. They don’t usually deny America’s racist history, but they nevertheless believe we should remember and honor the leaders who helped create it.
If this is the goal, we need not limit ourselves to the Confederate leaders in order to honor a racist. Here, America has a deep bench. Why not choose FDR?
Racism is an under-appreciated aspect of FDR’s profound legacy, but it is certainly there. Not only did he throw Japanese people in camps based on their race while president, he also wrote op-eds as a private citizen in which he noted the “undesirability of mixing the bloods of the two peoples” as a reason to exclude Japanese people from the US. Surely, this is a racist statesman worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as the Confederates. So conservatives should be satisfied with honoring FDR instead.
But it’s not just conservatives. Progressives would certainly welcome this change as well. FDR is a bona fide progressive hero, and it’s not hard to see why. He was a Democrat and the longest-serving president in US history. During his tenure, he developed the foundation of the modern American welfare state, dramatically expanded regulation of the dangerously free market, and moved America away from the antiquated gold standard.
FDR also struck a huge blow against income inequality, and against incomes generally. During the Great Depression, he oversaw a sustained multi-year period of mostly equal suffering–a feat no American president has been able to replicate in the years since.
Given all of these merits, our friends on the left would not consider protesting against his marble countenance. Indeed, they would celebrate it. And tranquility in our streets could be quickly restored without disappointing anyone on either side of the spectrum.
This is the kind of common sense solution America needs to move forward. By replacing Confederate statues with FDR, we can keep the racism and lose the protests.
That’s my two cents.
*This is a satirical post. The actual views held by The Daily Face Palm Editorial Board are much less agreeable. Also, the FDR quote is horrifyingly real.