When I started this blog, I intended to not have much to say in the form of long diatribes, but if you’ve read much of my postings you know that I have drifted from that from time-to-time. So just bear with me on this one:
I wondered how long it would take for there to be a blow back from people upset about Jackson’s removal from the $20, and it didn’t take long. I saw people on my Facebook newsfeed label it “political correctness,” which seems insane to me, and then today our good buddy Trump expressed the same sentiment. If this is political correctness, just exactly what does that phrase mean? It seems that many hard right conservatives (which Trump really isn’t) whip this phrase out whenever anyone says or does anything that they don’t agree with, or whenever anything happens that celebrates/acknowledges that this country is made up of more people that have influenced our culture and history than just white dudes.
Listen, Jackson was a very colorful man that was tough as nails and was a true “man’s man.” Heck, even I had a beloved dog named after him because of his tough demeanor and charismatic personality. But there is an irony here in this defense of Jackson’s place on the currency. First, anyone that knows their history knows that the man would have never wanted to be on paper money to begin with. Secondly, even if you take out of the equation his role in the Trail of Tears and his avowed interest in the expansion of slavery, this man is hardly the kind of guy that hard right conservatives should count as one of their own. Yes, he believed in limited government, but often exerted centralized power (his own) in very controversial ways.
These people that yell “political correctness” when we make efforts to stop glorifying the Confederacy tell us that the South seceded because of “state’s rights.” But now some of those very same people turn around and shout “political correctness” about taking Jackson off the currency. How does that work? Ask John C. Calhoun and the State of South Carolina about Jackson’s respect for their “states rights” and limited government in 1832. Further, hard right conservatives are forever telling us that our government has drifted away from the decentralized system that the Founders intended (which itself is a problematic statement because it assumes they were all in agreement, but thats another issue) and that the Founders would roll over in their graves if they saw what we have become. Guess what, ye champions of Jackson’s place on the currency, the man redefined the office of president in ways that caused critics to scream that he was changing the government and presidential powers in ways the Founders never intended, and in fact he openly defied the system of checks and balances when forcing the Trail of Tears. But his use of questionable executive powers didn’t end there, so you might want to read up on his single handed destruction of the National Bank. His most vocal critics were screaming much the same stuff that you guys are saying about Obama’s executive orders (notice the political cartoon above, which complains about his destruction of paper currency, but also his defiance of checks and balances, “appointing men to office contrary to the will of the people” and placing himself “above the law.” Sound familiar?) So I am still not sure why you guys are defending him.
Oh, and I saw people say things like, “but he was the first common man to win the presidency!” I sure would like to know what your definition of “common” is, since the guy was a member of the planter elite and owned upwards of 200 slaves during his lifetime. So that is what you call a “common man?” I guess that would then mean that the common southern man was a large slaveholder— so how does that jibe with your insistence that slavery was dying on its own, slave ownership was low, and thus secession had little to do with the protection of slavery?? I’m just trying to get straight in my head why you folks suddenly seem to embrace this man as a conservative icon. Heck, even your Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh endorsed conservative history bible, A Patriot’s History of the American People, acknowledges that Jackson was not a true champion of the common man or of conservative principles.
So, if this dude does not line up with all your typical conservative beliefs, I have to wonder what is at the real bottom of why you resent his losing his place on the $20. Hmmm, could it be because of who he is getting replaced with? Ah, now perhaps we are getting to the bottom of what you really mean when you shout “political correctness.”
Oh, but wait, Trump and others have said Tubman was “fantastic,” recommending that maybe we should put her on the $2. Obviously that bill is not used very much, so I guess that means they would like to tuck her safely away on a bill most people never see on a daily basis, which would then allow them to keep living in a fantasy world in which America’s heroes and icons are all still white dudes.
Listen, if you guys want to keep shouting “political correctness” whenever you are upset, just be consistent and honest about what really has you angry so that everyone will know just exactly what the hell that phrase means.