Passing the Progressive Smell Test.


While folks of all colors and lifestyles are quietly living and working together and building relationships, the professional malcontents are looking for offense around every corner. Take the sports teams shunning Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Kate Smith for having performed some songs with racially offensive lyrics in the 1930s. One of the songs, thought to be satirical, also was sung by black actor and well-known civil rights activist Paul Robeson. Apparently, no one looked into Smith's motives or other aspects of her life before shrouding her statue in black. How ironic that the very teams that once excluded black players are "virtue signaling" at someone else's expense.

Will the memorials to the progressive icons Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt suffer the same fate? Historians note that Mrs. Roosevelt called black people "darkies" and "pickaninnies." Yet, she was instrumental in having black opera singer Marian Anderson perform in an integrated setting and flew in an aircraft piloted by a Tuskegee Airman, among other things.

The beloved president after whom many black American children were named had a questionable racial record. He appointed Hugo Black, an ex-Klansman, to the Supreme Court. He did not allow black reporters at his press conferences, and he did not support anti-lynching legislation for fear of losing Southern support. The Roosevelts' personal lives were not exemplary: they both had continuing love affairs... not with each other.

Moreover, Harry Truman, who, as president, desegregated the Army, made liberal use of the Nword. In a letter to future wife Bess, he wrote, "I think one man is just as good as another so long as he's honest and decent and not a n***** or a Chinaman..." As senator, he called Mrs. Roosevelt's wait-staff "an army of coons." Should we topple his statues and remove his name from all buildings and universities?

People are complicated and must be judged as products of their times--and when did using salty language while angry become a capital offense? When Pres. John F. Kennedy discovered that the Air Force spent $5,000 for a maternity suite for his wife, he ripped the bark off the general in charge, saying, "This is obviously a f***-up" politically. Presidential candidate John Kerry and Vice Pres. Joe Biden famously have added to the mix.

Instead of looking for reasons to...

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