Donald Trump & Andrew Jackson Would Be BFF's
In an advertisement published by Andrew Jackson — 7th President, slave owner, scourge of native Americans, and orchestrator of the Trail of Tears — he promised not only $50 to any man who helps return a runaway slave, but also an extra $10 for every hundred lashes they give to the slave up to $300. That would lead to a total payment for 3,000 lashes leaving one to wonder who would have a back left or even remain breathing.
This is the current face of our $20 bill; however, under President Obama a sensible plan was introduced to replace him with Harriet Tubman. Harriet Tubman escaped slavery from the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 1850. She went on to help thousands of other slaves escape putting herself at great personal risk. During the Civil War she was the only woman who personally lead men into battle. She also convinced freed slaves to help provide valuable intelligence to the Union Army, and she went on after the Civil War to advocate for the women’s right to vote until she dies of pneumonia in 1913 at the age of 91.
Since taking office President Trump has opposed replacing Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman calling the move “pure political-correctness”. While Trump did characterize Tubman as “fantastic” and suggested the creation of an entirely new denomination for her, he seems to have a special affinity for Andrew Jackson — a president known for his support of white nationalism. He hung a portrait of Andrew Jackson in the Oval Office, visited the grave site of Jackson’s wife, and suggested that he could have prevented the Civil War.
To characterize the proposed change as “pure political-correctness” greatly diminishes what is at stake in this debate. This characterization can make the issue seem trite or worse simply a passing fashion or fad. To diminish the issue of slavery or white nationalism to political correctness is dangerous. As a nation, do we want to continue to honor a legacy of slavery and native American genocide? Or, would it be more appropriate to honor a legacy of the demise of slavery, and finally acknowledge the important role that women and African-Americans have played in defining the nation we cherish today — as opposed to a flawed contradictory nation that could not survive “half slave and half free” (Abraham Lincoln).
By Nicholas Detweiler
Chief of Staff of the Pluralism Project
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