AMAC Exclusive – by Seamus Brennan
Today marks the 293rd anniversary of the birth of a little-known but nevertheless heroic Founding Father whose gallant and patriotic actions in July 1776 proved indispensable in sealing America’s independence. On July 1, 1776, Caesar Rodney braved harsh thunderstorms and rode 80 miles on horseback from Dover to Philadelphia—despite his ongoing battles with cancer and asthma—to cast Delaware’s vote in favor of American independence. Rodney’s actions guaranteed the Declaration of Independence would be passed unanimously, immortalizing the sacred cause of American freedom for all time. Not surprisingly, however, Rodney has become a recent victim of the left’s full-scale war on America’s history and heroes—and Joe Biden, the President of the United States, who hails from Delaware himself, has remained utterly complicit.
Despite Rodney’s well-earned position of prominence in the state of Delaware (town squares, high schools, streets, university residence halls, and walking trails have been named in his honor), in June of 2020, the Caesar Rodney Equestrian Statue that graced Wilmington’s Rodney Square for nearly a century was removed in the name of “creating a more inclusive environment for all people,” a sentiment signaling that Rodney’s ownership of slaves was cause enough to erase the memory of his historic deed from the public square. Though Rodney did indeed inherit slaves, he also took measures to set in motion the abolition of slavery: he introduced, for instance, a bill barring the importation of slaves in Delaware, and upon his death in 1784, demanded—as President George Washington would later do—that all his slaves be freed in his will. More significantly, Rodney’s pivotal signing of the Declaration paved the way for the gradual abolition of slavery in several states of the new American Republic, and ultimately everywhere after the Civil War, which would have never been possible without first achieving independence from Britain.
During the riots and statue-toppling of 2020, then-candidate Joe Biden blatantly ignored calls to speak out against the statue’s removal in his own home state. As William McGurn quite accurately predicted in the Wall Street Journal in the midst of the summer chaos, “Notwithstanding calls for Mr. Biden to declare himself on the issue, he’s clearly betting that a press corps that managed to ignore a former Senate staffer’s charge of sexual assault for weeks won’t press him on the statues and the mayhem. No doubt he is betting correctly.” To the surprise of few, Biden never spoke out to defend Caesar Rodney and was never held to account by the media.
To this day, the Rodney statue remains out of public sight, and the mayor of Wilmington has repeatedly sidestepped the possibility of re-erecting it—likely as a result of being coaxed by his fellow city officials who have claimed the equestrian statue would “instill mental trauma on our residents” and cause “pain.”
Also removed from public view in Wilmington last summer was a statue of Christopher Columbus carrying the Cross of Christ, which had graced the city since 1957 and was endorsed by the Catholic fraternal group the Knights of Columbus. The Columbus statue in Wilmington was just one of many to be removed throughout the country as part of the left’s longstanding war on Christopher Columbus.
As the President of the United States and a Delaware native himself, Biden could easily issue a statement on the importance of Columbus and Rodney, or otherwise encourage Wilmington city officials to reinstate both statues. And they would surely listen—after all, in his own words, “the buck stops” with him. He is the President and the most influential figure in Delaware politics. Instead, he has deliberately chosen to remain silent and is therefore a willing accomplice to the progressive crusade to distort and eliminate the truth of the American Founding.
Biden’s inability to recognize that the same Founders who at one time owned slaves also went on to establish a constitutional republic that would abolish both the slave trade and the practice of slavery altogether is wholly ironic. Biden himself has boasted of working alongside and compromising with segregationists (even giving eulogies at the funerals of three of them), fought against busing to desegregate schools in the 1970s, and is on record saying in 1977 that desegregation policies would cause his children to “grow up in a racial jungle.”
While Biden has described his own capacity to evolve on racial matters during his own life, he has refused to afford the same ability to change over one’s life to the American Founders. If Biden were to employ the same logic to his own situation that he has used to discredit the Founding generation, he would find that there is no principle by which he should be serving as president.
For many Americans, it will come as no surprise that the same president who left hundreds of Americans behind in Afghanistan has not lifted a finger to protect the memory of his home state’s greatest hero.
Though President Trump issued rousing Columbus Day proclamations all four years of his presidency (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020) and an additional proclamation commemorating Caesar Rodney’s birthday in 2020, it would be shocking for Biden to follow course. Rather, Americans should likely expect nothing more than sustained silence, apart from a probable statement or tweet commemorating “Indigenous People’s Day” like he issued last year as a candidate.
But Joe Biden’s refusal to celebrate these two giants of our history does not make their lives or contributions to American life any less important or influential. As America today memorializes the anniversary of Caesar Rodney’s birth and prepares to celebrate Columbus Day on Monday, let us renew our commitment to commemorating their lives, honoring their storied legacies, and celebrating their heroic courage.
As Columbus wrote in his Lettera Rarissima, “Let those who are fond of blaming and finding fault, while they sit safely at home, ask, ‘Why did you not do thus and so?’ I wish they were on this voyage; I well believe that another voyage of a different kind awaits them, or our faith is naught.”
As he “sits safely at home” in the White House, Joe Biden would do well to take these words to heart.
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