In the wake of public protest against a statue of Theodore Roosevelt that has stood before the entrance of the American Museum of Natural History for 80 years, New York City Councilman Joe Borelli is taking a stand for liberty. Borelli has informed The Federalist in an exclusive that he plans to introduce legislation that would put the fate of New York City’s more than 800 landmarks up for a referendum before they are removed.
The museum and the city recently decided that the equestrian statue of the 26th president should be removed over vague claims of racism regarding an American Indian and armed African who flank the statue. It is absurd nonsense and finally an elected official has taken a stand to say so.
“We collectively own things as public art,” Borell says, “and if our opinions change over time over what we value in common space, it should be the full public that decides, rather than politicians caving to the woke mob. I’m prepared to lose some votes, but it must be done democratically.”
Borelli’s bill would put in the hands of voters the fate of statues such as that of Theodore Roosevelt, which stands before the museum he supported. This is a big win. This is a call to let the people decide what represents us. This weekend, many New Yorkers came out to support the statue of Roosevelt. It was called a lost cause. But not so fast. Borelli was listening. Hopefully more are.
The fate of statues in our great cities should lie with the voters. I’m confident Teddy Roosevelt would win again, as he did so often when up for election. Borelli’s call for referendums is an obvious appeal to democracy we should all get behind. We do not need unelected art councils tearing down monuments. In fact, we don’t need anyone tearing down monuments.
In the meantime, Roosevelt’s statue deserves a vote. Will Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Democrats on the city council let the voters have that say? We can only hope so. If not, we have plunged farther into an Orwellian dystopia than we had previously imagined. Let us pray that is not so.