By Aaron Kliegman How glorious it must feel to summit history’s mountain of morality, standing in judgement over all those who came before. Such is the daily thrill enjoyed by today’s woke progressives, who believe they have the moral high ground as they continue to rewrite American history. One of the latest victims of this great crusade was James Madison, whose birthday came and went on Tuesday with far too little notice. Late last month, as a most unceremonious early birthday present, Portland, Oregon’s Board of Education voted unanimously to rename a high school named after Madison because he owned slaves. According to a petition circulated by the school’s alumni, removing Madison’s name is “taking one big step toward breaking down systemic racism.” Of course, Madison is hardly the first casualty of this historical ignorance. In January, for example, San Francisco’s Board of Education voted to rename 44 schools, including schools named after George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, for similar reasons. Such efforts are part of a broader campaign to erase American history, demonize America’s heroes, and distort the principles of America’s founding in order to portray America as an evil, racist country. The architects of this campaign say they’re uprooting racism and uplifting stories of the oppressed in the name of social justice. In reality, they’re eroding our shared values and national heritage. Consider the case of Madison, our fourth president and fifth secretary of state. Yes, Madison owned slaves, despite opposing slavery morally and insisting Africans were entitled to a right to liberty. But he was also the father of the US Constitution, the document that has practically bound this country together and ensured unprecedented liberty for 232 years and counting. He even drafted the Bill of Rights. And there was no greater champion of religious freedom. All that should count for something. And it does to the woke progressives — as a strike against Madison. Just read the work of Nikole Hannah-Jones, who created the New York Times’ 1619 Project, which seeks to reframe American history solely through the lens of slavery and racism. According to Hannah-Jones, the Founders created a “decidedly undemocratic Constitution” that “preserved and protected slavery.” Frederick Douglass knew better. As he said in 1863, if the US abolished slavery tomorrow, then “not a sentence or syllable of the Constitution need be altered.” He continued: “It was purposely so framed as to give no claim, no sanction to the claim, of property in a man. If in its origin slavery had any relation to the government, it was only as the scaffolding to the magnificent structure, to be removed as soon as the building was completed.” Lincoln echoed Douglass, explaining that the Constitution deals with slavery “just as an afflicted man hides away a wen or a cancer, which he dares not cut out at once, lest he bleed to death; with the promise, nevertheless, that the cutting may begin at the end of a given time.” Despite its ahistoricism, however, Hannah-Jones’s description is revealing: It shows that what animates people to expunge the Founders’ names is what they created, not their moral defects. In other words, we should confront the egregious aspects of our country’s past, such as slavery and violence against Native Americans. But that’s not what the woke progressives want. They want a utopian society that supersedes the American project — our experiment in self-government, defined by the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the structure of the Constitution. They don’t believe what the Founders built was fundamentally good and are willing to risk losing it all because they believe they know better. After all, they’re the ones atop history, looking down on all of us, trying to shake us loose from our attachments to the Constitution and other aspects of our shared national heritage. Who’s to say they’re not morally superior and don’t know what’s best for us? If they have it their way, no one at all. Because ultimately what the woke progressives seek isn’t a more tolerant society. It’s power, including the power to determine who holds the right views and who doesn’t. And if you revere the Constitution, well, you can guess which category you’re in. Newt hosts monthly virtual events in which he discusses news of the day and why it matters to you and your community. These Newt Live events are your opportunity to communicate directly with Newt. We hope you will join us next time and let Newt answer your questions and provide his insight on the issues that concern you most. JOIN TODAY to be a part of this special event and receive a BONUS GIFT. Click here to join Newt’s Inner Circle.