A recent survey conducted by Rasmussen Reports reveals nuanced perspectives among Americans about the removal of public monuments depicting George Washington.
The survey, which was undertaken between December 3-5 with 864 likely voters, emphasizes the complex opinions voters hold about the nation’s historical symbols.
Even though most voters have a positive opinion of George Washington, a substantial number of Democrats support a proposal in New York City that would tear down statues of America’s first president.
— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) December 10, 2023
The survey results reflect an interesting dichotomy– while 77 percent of Democrats have at least a somewhat favorable view of the country’s first president and Revolutionary War hero, 40 percent are in accord, either strongly or somewhat, with the removal of his public statues.
Broken down, it shows that 21 percent of Democrats and 19 percent of Republicans “strongly” approve of the removal. At the same time, 53 percent at least somewhat disapprove of such a measure.
Moreover, the opinions of independent voters cannot be ignored. The survey found that 27 percent of the total respondents, including 20 percent of independents, somewhat approve of removing Washington’s public statues. On the contrary, 64 percent of Republicans and 51 percent of independently affiliated voters strongly disapprove of it.
Notable also is the fact that even as the dissolution of historical statues seems a thing of the past, discussions surrounding their removal persist notably in cities like New York. The New York City Council contemplated a bill in September that could result in the removal of statues of the Founding Fathers.
The bill proposed a plan to displace artworks on city property depicting individuals who either owned enslaved people, directly profited economically from slavery, or participated in systemic crimes against indigenous peoples or other violations of human rights.
Under the bill’s purview, renowned statues like the figure in Union Square Park and the depiction of Christopher Columbus could be subject to removal. The legislation provided that if a sin-inflected artwork is not removed, an explanatory plaque next to the work is warranted.
The big-picture concern seems to be: where do we draw the line? Former President Donald Trump echoed this sentiment as he wondered if this pattern would eventually target other Founding Fathers like Thomas Jefferson. As the nation reckons with its past, it stands at the crossroads of preserving history and acknowledging inherited wrongs.
In conclusion, this survey illuminates the divergence of American attitudes towards the question of historical monuments. Further dialogue and understanding are required to navigate this sensitive issue and accommodate diverse perspectives.
As a nation deeply enrooted in its history, the pathway ahead holds implications for the collective memory and identity of its people.