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Stu: Why Does This Early Progressive President Get a Pass on Racism?

If Americans are supposed to be honest about racism in their history, why does Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt get a pass?

Around the country, Confederate memorials and statues are being taken down, while the names of schools, roads and other public resources are being called into question if they’re named after a historical figure now seen as racist. Even in New York, which has very few reminders of the Confederacy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called for streets named after Confederate generals to be renamed.

On radio Friday, Stu and Pat talked about the debate over renaming everything as well as the progressive double standard on historical figures.

Stu pointed out that FDR is consistently included in lists of the top presidents in American history despite his failings, which included putting Americans in prison camps during World War II based on their race and waiting a long time to address the Nazi threat.

“It took him thousands of days to respond to Nazis,” he said. “It’s pretty well known that it took him a really long time to respond to Nazis.”

STU: Yeah. Daily Caller has the story about how James Stewart, then Duke of York, is the person that New York was named after. And he was a horrific slave trader. Transported between 90,000 and 100,000 African slaves to the American clones in the 1600s. Now, that's --

PAT: The name can't stand.

STU: So what should we rename it? Like New Fancy Town.

PAT: New Happy Land.

STU: Happyville might be a way to go.

PAT: Uh-huh.

STU: I don't know what we should name New York. But it certainly shouldn't be named that.

PAT: The Pit of Despair, you could call it that, pretty accurately.

STU: It is kind of in an armpit position there on the coast.

PAT: Uh-huh. Sort of.

STU: You could kind of go with that.

You could go down this -- and this is the point that I think the president was trying to make, as we mentioned earlier, it's an inaccurate point. This slippery slope thing is real in circumstances like this.

Because you can go back to history and find even the abolitionists of the 1700s were white supremacists by today's view.

You know, there's a lot of that that went on. Even a lot of them who were fighting for the abolition of slavery also were making arguments. Now, obviously they're not equal. But they should have some freedoms. That was kind of the moment of the day. You got to judge these things in historical context. But that was kind of what they were saying back then.

PAT: Yeah. Some people were. A lot of people who didn't know them. You know, they had limited involvement with them. They didn't understand. The slaves certainly weren't being educated. So they didn't know a lot about them.

STU: And, again, look at this in context. The -- the Founding Fathers took a world that was filled with slavery and racism. And continued it, some of them for some time.

But gave built-in structures that would eventually lead to its end. And there were great ablistings. Ben Franklin is one of my favorites. Who fought against it viscerally, against the entire grain of society. Woodrow Wilson did the exact opposite. We were going the correct direction in making people more equal. And he brought back the KKK. Out of the doldrums and brought them back to prominence in his presidency.

For that, he is awarded a top ten president of all time by the left and academia. And he has his name on every kid's school in the country. It seems like Woodrow Wilson elementary school is as popular or more popular than some of the greatest presidents of all time.

And he's awarded and admired -- some idiot leftist tweeted the other day, it didn't take FDR3 days to respond to Nazis. That's because he was a real president. It took him thousands of days to respond to Nazis.

PAT: Yes, he did.

STU: He didn't respond fast to Nazis at all. He's -- it's pretty well-known that he took a really long time to respond to Nazis.

PAT: Who tweeted that?

STU: Oh, some moron.

PAT: I mean, that is unbelievable.

STU: Yeah, I don't remember who it was. But some leftist.

PAT: That is unbelievable.

STU: But how -- what a horrible point. And they look at FDR, and FDR is consistently named number one, number two, number three greatest presidents of all time. His response to the Nazis in that war of that time was to imprison essentially and put in camps German Americans and Asian-Americans. Not even just Japanese-Americans. Asian-Americans generally. And this is a praised activity.

So the -- none of this makes sense. And we get to this point where we just fall into these arguments that feel good at the moment. You know what, I have no love for the confederacy. They were the enemies of this country. If you want to find a very strict definition of traitors, they left the country and got into a war with it. It was not about state's rights. It was about slavery, largely. They emblemed it into the Confederate constitution. And they required everyone in the -- everyone in the Confederacy and anyone who would ever come into the Confederacy, to make sure that slavery was institutionalized. There was no option for a state to say no, making the state's rights argument ridiculous.

PAT: In fact -- you know, I read this a couple of days ago. And I think the words inperpetuity HEP are in the Constitution. And as it applies to slavery, they wanted it to continue forever.

STU: Forever.

PAT: Had it been up to the South, to the Confederacy, it would have continued forever.

STU: Yeah. And this is not an argument to say the Confederacy was good or right or something that we want to lionize. But not every statue is about lionizing. You know, maybe at the time it was. But, you know, it's important I think that we look at this as history. And when we start just removing things from history with today's lens -- just if you even go back to the wording of what people used, the words today are different than what they used in -- in history. And you can find people saying all sorts of terrible things, with words that we're not comfortable using today.

And you're going to wind up throwing out every historical figure.

PAT: You know, the Stone Mountain thing, I think you have a legitimate point, with that being started by the KKK, to carve those figures into that mountain of Lee and Stonewall Jackson and I forget the other person who was carved into the mountain.

But Jefferson Davis. Right. The president of the Confederacy. So started by the KKK.

I mean, that one is tough to get around. That's tough to get around.

STU: Guys, they left Auschwitz up.

PAT: Yeah, they did.

STU: And what do we do with it? We go there and have the most profound moments potentially in our entire lives, learning about the horrors of that place. And that stands. And it stands for a reason. If these things are wrong, you know, that is a great teaching tool.

Did you see the column by Ray -- I think it was Ray HEP Allen, former Celtics, Bucks shooting guard, who went to Auschwitz, and talked about it. The profound feeling he felt going there and learning about that and being in those moments.

You've heard Glenn talk about it on this show. That was basically, I would say, life-changing for Glenn, that trip.

And, you know, that is the -- arguably the worst place on earth. You know, it really -- it's hard to think of what could be a worse place than that. I mean, it is the most horrific things humans have ever done to other humans, happened in that place.

And what is it today? It's a great lesson to remember to not do it again. And, you know, a lot of these things should be kept up as the most profound and vivid way to teach these lessons of history.

PAT: You're right. You don't have to consider them glorifying these characters. It's a reminder that we never want to go down that path again.

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