Thursday, June 18, 2015

Those We Choose To Honor

I've always found it a bit odd that we Americans choose to honor a man who hated the banking system, who sent thousands of Native Americans to their deaths by taking their land by force and who introduced the system of pork barrel spending and patronage to our political system with a spot on some of our currency.  I'm talking about President Andrew Jackson--who has been on the $20 bill since 1928.  There had been a groundswell of support for removing Jackson from the 20 due in large part to his policies--and those of his handpicked successors in the Democratic Party--that not only sent Indians on the Trail of Tears but also solidified the hold of slavery in the South, and pretty much set the US on an irreversible course toward the Civil War.

So that is why is makes perfect sense for the Obama Administration to announce yesterday that Alexander Hamilton will be removed from the $10 bill--and replaced with an as-yet-unannounced woman.  Hamilton is considered the father of the American finance system.  He was also a Founding Father, helping to draft the Constitution and he wrote the majority of the Federalist Papers--an invaluable source of background into the thinking the framers of the Constitution used to develop it.  As a "Constitutional scholar" I can see why President Obama chose to dump Hamilton from his spot on the currency.  The President firmly believes that the Founding Fathers "got a few things wrong" and it has been up to him to "fix them and to make things fair".  Add to that, that Hamilton was a fiscal conservative and has become something of a pre-Republican Republican and you knew that his days of glory were numbered.

Now the real fun begins, as we the people will be asked to decide which woman should be selected for the new ten.  I'm guessing that every activist group will be tying themselves in knots trying to come up with the perfect candidate that "represents" every single "identity" of modern society.  Eleanor Roosevelt is one suggestion--but she is white and came from a rich, privileged background.  Susan B Anthony was another nominee--but she was a vocal opponent of abortion.  Rosa Parks certainly had a role in our history--but what was her stance on same-sex marriages?  If only our historical figures had done a better job of "self-identifying" themselves, this would be so much easier.

In the meantime, Madison schools that ban the wearing of Chicago Blackhawks jerseys and t-shirts because of the "traumatic effect" they have on Native American students will keep handing those same kids $20 bills with the old "Indian fighter" himself Andrew Jackson as change in the lunch line for the foreseeable future.

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