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OpinionColumnistsWilliam F. B. O'Reilly

Sins of the past and present

A statue of George Washington, that was erected

A statue of George Washington, that was erected in the 1920s, is shown on the ground with a sticker that reads "You Are On Native Land" after it was taken down by protesters in in Portland, Ore., on June 18, 2020. Credit: AP/Mark Graves

 A statue of President George Washington is toppled in Oregon; an American flag is draped across him, burning.

The crowd of young demonstrators cheers.

To them, America’s founding father is a symbol of racism. He’s a former slave owner, first and foremost, and his nation’s bounty has been fruit of a poison tree.

Burn, baby, burn.

How certain they are in their sanctimony. They’d have been different.

Had white progressive protesters lived in Washington’s times, they’d have seen things just as they do now. They’d have been immune to late 18th century sentiment. They’d have acted.

Meanwhile, more than 600,000 unborn Americans are put to death each year. That’s different, progressives say. It’s a women's-rights issue, and yet the unborn children still end up dead. But you’re not supposed to think that way.

Americans who are anti-abortion rights have been ostracized for decades for voicing these thoughts, even when they push back against late-term abortions. The 3-D sonogram records children’s smiles and laughter as early as eight weeks into a pregnancy, but many progressives look away. Doing otherwise would be counter to the enlightened sentiment of the day. It would chip away at modern liberal orthodoxy.

The abortion battle may never be settled in this country. But what if a generation came along with utter moral clarity? What if in utero technology became so precise that it could record the thoughts and emotions of the unborn? (It’s almost here.) What would that generation think of us? What statues would be felled; what flags would be burned?

When New York removed virtually all abortion restrictions last year, there was cheering among the Democratic leadership at the State Capitol. The new law was hailed as a historic victory. How might that be viewed day?

Slavery was an abomination — it still is. But it’s not the only offense prevalent in American history, not to those who oppose abortion. They’re as certain in their views as the demonstrators in Portland and other cities are in theirs. Where’s their news coverage?

Where are their defenders? Black lives matter, and the conversations we are having today are long overdue. But when, if ever, will unborn lives matter, so many of them African-American? They don’t today.

It's a fair question to ask, and an extremely unpopular one in the age in which we live.

Will a radical new generation of Americans trumpeting its moral superiority dare consider the unborn, or will it be satisfied railing against sinners from the past?

Asking for a friend.

William F.B. O'Reilly is a consultant to Republicans.