Here’s a story I find amusing in a dark, sign of the times, way. Earlier this week, President Trump pardoned Susan B. Anthony, the great women’s suffrage advocate. Anthony was convicted of voting illegally in the 1872 presidential election.
The pardon is symbolic, of course, Trump issued it on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
One might have thought, or at least hoped, that a pardon for Anthony would bring no controversy. However, the Susan B. Anthony Museum objected to the pardon and purported to “decline” it on Anthony’s behalf.
The Museum complained about current restrictions on voting rights (like having to show through some form of identification that you are actually the person whose name is on the voting rolls). Nor was that all. “Support for the Equal Rights Amendment would be well received [and] advocacy for human rights for all would be splendid,” the liberals in charge of the Museum sniffed. Obviously, none of this, or any of the other items on the Museum’s laundry list of pet political causes, has any relevance to the issuance of a pardon for something that hasn’t been illegal for a century and never should have been illegal to begin with.
Whether a person can decline a pardon granted to her is an interesting question. It’s clear, though, that a museum can’t decline a pardon issued to a person the museum honors (if that’s what the Susan B. Anthony Museum is really trying to do).
It’s not the Museum that was pardoned. Nor, having committed no crime, does it need to be pardoned — except for bad manners.