In Courtland Milloy's “Washington's birthday got spotlight right: On his slaves” he fails to practice the ancient wisdom in the Latin phrase De mortuis nihil nisi bonum: “of the dead (say) nothing but good.” Last Monday—on what would have been George Washington's 284th birthday—our intrepid race-scribbler visited our first president's home, Mount Vernon. And unlike the rest of us who embrace the everyday tolerances of the 21st century such as generations of accepted interracial marriage—and newly established gay nuptials—only Mr. Milloy is surprised that the slaves' contributions are honored with a special wreath-laying ceremony. For starters, he should have had a clue as the event occurred at the Slave Memorial Circle: a place whose name, and very existence, denotes honor to the mistreated ancestors of our black American brothers.
Beyond those purely ceremonial elements, the slave quarters have been restored, a model of a slave cabin was also built, and an archaeological dig was underway at a burial site. For his part, Mr. Milloy is certainly doing his part to “dig up the cadaver”of America's shameful participation in the 18th century U.S.-African slave trade. Indeed, even students who slept through their history classes know Mount Vernon was a working farm with slave labor. It's no secret. To the contrary, it's not only fact, it's common knowledge. Prominent in every American age, George Washington remains a person of his time, a slave owner (as countless others). Therefore, its specific emphasis in Mr. Milloy's aforementioned title is highly suspect of a 21st century political agenda.
For the record, at 6'2, George Washington literally and metaphorically towered above other great contemporaries: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin to name but a few. Further, as a rarely equaled historical figure—likely more beloved today then during his own lifetime—he remains our 2nd most admired president after union-preserving Abraham Lincoln. That does not negate the fact that he was imperfect like the rest of us, and make mistakes like anyone. So, why Mr. Milloy's specific myopic fixation regarding George Washington's ownership of slaves?
Mr. Milloy neglects to mention any of these mitigating factors including the reality that slavery was an unfortunate, but then necessary economic system to the 18th century mind. Recall, the Industrial Revolution, and mechanization, had not yet happened. In any case, in 21st century hindsight no civilized person would approve of such inhumane practices to one's fellow human beings. Therefore, what is its newsworthy relevance to today's Washington Post?
The answer is Black Lives Matter. The tortured, gerrymandered argument goes as follows: historical slavery (over since 1865) is “proof” that America has been a racist society since its inception—just look at Founding Father George—a slave owner! See: (despite the election of Barack Obama to the presidency twice) black lives sure didn't matter then—and almost 300 years later—they don't matter now. Utter nonsense to any clear thinking person with a pulse. Only a Washington Post “reporter” could twist a story that actually demonstrates open acknowledgment of past grievances into one claiming intolerance, its polar opposite.
As newspaper placement is everything, that's on the cover page of the Metro section, left, below the fold. Meanwhile, as an after-thought, buried in the back, bottom right corner is the bare bones mention of the February 12th mugging and beating of a targeted soldier, Marine veteran Christopher A. Marquez, at a McDonald's by three Black Lives Matter youths. Despite being on video, the powers-that-be in D.C. investigating the incident are unwilling to readily accept the bronze star-decorated victim's explanation for the crime's motive without corroboration. Yet, its meaning is obvious: “black” lives matter, non-black ones not so much. So it is with The Washington Post. While it's laudable that their pages honor the memory of slaves long-dead, where they struggle mightily is in their defense of a majority of the living.