All of them should be taken off of our money.
Americans complain about politicians today yet continue to worship the ones of history like they were any fucking different than the pieces of shit we have in Congress/White House today.
George Washington owned hundreds of slaves. Pennsylvania had a gradual abolition law… but, oh… Washington got around that. The Washingtons would rotate their slaves in and out of the state every 6 months so that the slaves could never establish residency in Pennsylvania (called “dower slaves”). He sent weapons and money to the French slave masters during the Haitian Revolution… and he signed the Fugitive Slave Act, which allowed White slave masters re-enslave freemen (I guess he had just cause since his own slaves were also running away…Henry Washington, Oney Judge, Hercules…). Fuck him.
Abraham Lincoln was racist. He didn’t intend on freeing a damn soul.. and if it weren’t for the pompous idiot Southerners who were stupid enough to think they could secede and the work of Frederick Douglass and other abolitionists, Blacks would probably still be slaves today. And in the first place, Emancipation Proclamation only freed slaves in rebellion states, meaning, the states Lincoln had no reach or control over. “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races” Fuck him.
Whitescholars try desperately to make Alexander Hamilton seem like a good guy. Idgaf if he spoke out against slavery sometimes, he owned slaves too. He owned another human beings’ life! He did support Toussaint Louverture in Haiti though. Maybe if he would have lived longer, he would have done more to redeem himself and this nation, but he got shot in a duel and died.
My fellow Tennessean Andrew Jackson was Hitler. He murdered Natives and stole their lands. And, slavery was the source of all his wealth. Of all the men on our currency, he is the most despicable and vile.
Ulysses S. Grant… Fought for the Union army. Tried to squash the KKK (but failed).. tried to enact a Civil Rights Act. Nothing bad about him, right? Wrong. He also owned slaves. And his infamous General Order No. 11 expelled all Jews from Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi (his area of military control). Under his presidency, Little Big Horn happened. Natives in the West were murdered and their land stolen under his watch. He mitigated his government’s Native policy of brutality. Fuck him.
Benjamin Franklin spoke about “liberty” but owned slaved for most of his life! Yeah, right before he died, he became an abolitionist … but what can we make of that when he also wrote that the importation of slaves will “darken” the American race, which should remain “lovely” and White. He was a huge anti-Semite. He argued that Jews should not be allowed in the country. Fuck him. And as much as America likes to slut shame, it’s odd that they put an international hoe like Franklin on their money.
Thomas Jefferson was a racist piece of shit. Nearly every fucking Black stereotype that we have to endure today can be found in Thomas Jefferson’s writings. How the fuck can you write “All men are created equal” and own slaves and believe Black people to be inferior at the same damn time? He wrote shit like Black women have big sexual appetites like primates in African jungles…. and yet at the same time, he’s fucking raping Sally Hemmings, his dead wife’s sister and his slave.
And Americans worship these men. They worship them. It’s disgusting. Until they take these politicians off U.S. money, the U.S. will continue to be the sham it’s always been. The American nightmare it’s always been.
And to any apologists out there.. who think “Well.. it was a different time.. blah blah blah.” Please, save me your naive cliched responses veiled in the racism of YOUR time. There were many people out there who didn’t believe what these men believed. There were many people who didn’t do this stuff. They spoke out against this stuff. The men themselves knew they were full of shit the moment they signed the version of the Constitution that didn’t have the slaves freedom included in it. They knew they were full of shit just like you know you’re full shit of shit today as you sit back and watch the prison industrial complex claim Black and Brown lives and as the military kills thousands of people abroad and you utter not one peep until Paula Deen is fired… then you’re outraged. Fuck you too.
Look. LOOK. These men were put on then money not for all the bad they did. All people have dark sides in history. The reason they are on the money is not for the bad they did. But the good.
And the point about some founding fathers having slaves? At least they were well treated by MOST of them. If they had freed their slave…they would have been kidnapped back into slavery. That happened in 12 years a Slave. No one would hire the freed slaves….dooming them back into slavery.
*could go on*
Mary: So you’re basically defending slavery. Way to go.
"At least they were well treated"
I wish I could say this was surprising, but when you look at one of the most consistent things about the U.S., and the people within, especially to this day, you’ll find denial of the darker parts of history, people, and decisions to the point where bringing it up means you get shouted down. I’m sure the information raised in this post is a prime example. So too are our past interfering actions in the middle-east with Iran, Vietnam, many many more. While it seems clear and logical that actions lead to reactions, and that we’ve created our own monsters, and that the negative ways anyone treats others, whether on a personal or a global scale, can come back around, suggesting this raises anger and denial and accusation rather than contemplation and a drive to learn from past mistakes.
And of course where evidence is overwhelming enough that past wrongs can’t be covered, such as the genocide of the native population, we try to whisk that under the rug, shoo that away into history books, say it’s in the past, that we’ve moved on, that it’s no longer relevant, while the effects continue to cascade into the present.
I’m weary of the denial, and the defensive outrage. I’m tired of the hyper-patriotism which seeks to rewrite and whitewash history to the point where the nation can do no wrong, where it has done no wrong, where we are perceived to be that city on the hill, and have always been so. There’s a word for this: hubris. It feeds into itself, allowing us to overstep, push ourselves where we do not belong, take actions that are “justified by the ends” according to hubris and fear-fueled decision-makers.
This is not meant to be offensive. Historical truth is not by nature offensive. It is simply truth, even if we do not like what we see, even if it does not fit with the self-image we have conjured and built up.
Understanding and accepting the past, no matter how dark its shadows have been, leads to wisdom, for otherwise the forgotten and ignored mistakes of the past are repeated, and we view ourselves through a distorted mirror.
That said, people, history, and decisions are more than just the dark, just as they are more than just the light. Getting back to the founding fathers and the faces on our currency, I don’t see why we can’t both acknowledge both the good and the bad in a way where we don’t overlook either, but take them as they actually were as a whole. Politically and historically, these men were geniuses…that’s important to teach about. But equally so are their human weaknesses and failures, and that must be just as important.
Our founding fathers are the closest America has to a pantheon of gods, and the myths we’ve chiseled for them out of the rock of flawed humanity cast them as more than human. In politics they are invoked as if they were worthy to judge us on our stewardship of the nation, these shining, colossi of men.
But these men were not gods. They were human, and made human mistakes, and had human weaknesses, and human flaws, and while they did help forge this nation, it is important to recognize that because of their flaws and darker parts of their humanity, that forging took place upon the great suffering and great injustice of others.
To accept that does not invalidate the good that they did, or the good that we do as a nation. And while it breaks the illusion of a perfect, blessed nation, it is not meant to be an attack, no more than historical reality is meant to be an attack upon a fiction or distortion. But I hope it can give us pause. I hope that it can give us wisdom. I hope it can dispel the hubris within the belief that we can do no wrong, even with the best of intentions.
And I know it’s a common thing I keep bringing up, but Uncle Ben’s quote “with great power comes great responsibility” is very appropriate here. We are a nation of great power. But when we deny our past and current mistakes, when we reject the idea that our past actions have fed into tragic consequences, we are no longer learning, we are opposing wisdom. And without wisdom, without learning from our mistakes, how on earth are we supposed to nurture the responsibility to wield our power wisely?
Immature people falling in love destroy each other’s freedom, create a bondage, make a prison. Mature persons in love help each other to be free; they help each other to destroy all sorts of bondages. And when love flows with freedom there is beauty. When love flows with dependence there is ugliness.
A mature person does not fall in love, he or she rises in love. Only immature people fall; they stumble and fall down in love. Somehow they were managing and standing. Now they cannot manage and they cannot stand. They were always ready to fall on the ground and to creep. They don’t have the backbone, the spine; they don’t have the integrity to stand alone.
A mature person has the integrity to stand alone. And when a mature person gives love, he or she gives without any strings attached to it. When two mature persons are in love, one of the great paradoxes of life happens, one of the most beautiful phenomena: they are together and yet tremendously alone. They are together so much that they are almost one. Two mature persons in love help each other to become more free. There is no politics involved, no diplomacy, no effort to dominate. Only freedom and love.
Osho (via fawun)
Just to note…most people have to learn from and evolve from immature kinds of love to recognize and grow into the mature kind. The wisdom and mindset and worldview to reach this mature kind of love is not universal…it’s rarely taught…and the messages we get from society and peers tend to emphasize its opposite.
While I agree with this quote…I think it’s important to leave any sense of shame completely out of this. Learning that the way we were taught to perceive and act in love is wrong should not be a source of shame…that wasn’t your fault. Few people are around to teach you this. And even recognizing this is just a first step. Changing one’s viewpoint and approach to love takes time, takes effort, and can be full of stumbles. If the people around you don’t understand this mature kind of love either, that makes it even harder.
Just wanted to try to pull any kind of shaming out of this…I don’t think that’s the intent of the quote.
BLESS THIS POST
What puzzles me so much is that biblically (New Testamently, I should say) there is such a huge emphasis on treating others kindly, and it’s kind of an incredibly important point that any kind of religious devotion or “righteousness” can never be good or right if it tramples upon others. The whole “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar” thing, or the “Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other,” quotes often get missed and overridden by judgment, religious or otherwise.
Is it so hard to understand that
biblically New Testamently, god is portrayed as a humanitarian, and that treating each other kindly and respectfully and with compassion and empathy is pretty much the most central religious thing you can do, since it’s humanity that god seems to care about the most?
I kind of prefer the Dalai Lama’s take on this…”My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” Seems that this alone, genuine and without ritual or ceremony or acts of piety, is enough to fuel kind actions which honor and respect those who god cares about, and thus god him or herself.
I think the “genuine” part is important…if you’re just ACTING kind, that’s rather hypocritical and self-serving. Though there’s a difference between acting kind when you have no real kindness in your heart, and the struggle of learning to be kind and compassionate. Seems to me this isn’t intuitive or natural, especially given factors of the environment we were raised in and the way were were treated and taught growing up.
I know there are some who will somehow twist “to pause and reflect” into “to feel bad and ashamed about being the majority”, and I’d like to address that now before it has the chance to emerge later.
Firstly…for those who read the quote and got that urge to do the above twisting…perhaps you should “pause and reflect” upon your own feelings? And just like the above quote, I mean the words only as they are defined: Reflection is not self-condemnation, pausing does not imply wrongness. Got that? Great.
If it helps, try to synergize this with a quote that’s similar in spirit: “with great power comes great responsibility.”
Power is the ability to make change, and enforce change, in the world and lives of others, and it seems to me that the more power one has, the wiser one should be about if and how and when and why they should use their power, lest it lead to disastrous consequences. This message is echoed in nearly every single action and superpower movie out there, when the hero has that moment of rashness or foolishness that causes that misuse of their newly-found power. But in the movies, the consequences are usually balanced or exceeded by the hero’s redemption, once they can find the wisdom to use their power properly.
The power of the majority is never a trivial power. It has been used rashly in the past, violently, viciously, ignorantly, and tragically. And it has (though I feel less often in history) been used wisely, compassionately, moderately, lovingly, fairly, and in ways that heal and move us all forward.
It seems to me whenever we should find ourselves in the majority, or inheriting or coming into any kind of great power, that we should always pause and reflect…so that we might use it responsibly and to the benefit of all, especially those without it.
Just to make it clear on where I stand…I do not care who is doing the oppressing, whether it’s a terrorist group, or an enemy of the state, or an ally, or our own forces…oppression remains oppression, and should not be condoned or encouraged or excused. Past suffering gives no license to visit suffering on others.
A good question to ask here (especially to those who would take issue to this cartoon) is if these kinds of actions were undertaken by, say, North Korea or Iran or some country or group we (US point of view) condemn and dislike, would it be excusable? Would we defend their right to do this? Would pointing it out like this be over the top or unjustified?
Seems to me, if we really care about our allies, we would want them to stop oppressing others and continuing a cycle of violence. Yes, I know that takes two sides, not one alone. But actions, many recognized as illegal by the UN and Geneva-convention-supporting countries, seem to be contrary to peace. Seems to me there’s a parallel that could be drawn here between this, and erosion of Native American lands by the US government. The US government was not in the right then…and these settlements and actions by Israel are not right now. Unfortunately, the history of many countries and governments have blatantly included oppression of others, often illegal both in terms of their own laws, and basic human decency.
If we are to truly be allies here, shouldn’t we be the ones telling them to knock it off? To point out that what they’re doing is contrary to their own good, and the good of the innocents that get caught in the crossfire?
Easier said than done, I know…but there’s a difference between stumbling toward the general direction of peace, and sprinting with purpose toward conflict, death, and continuing violence.
There’s a great deal of real pain and suffering that has happened here…I think that seems to outweigh any counterarguments of disrespect? Seems that much of that energy could go toward easing suffering, seeking peaceful solutions, and easing this tension, since obviously tightening it and fueling it will only lead to known and tragic ends.
And naturally I lose track of time and ruin it all. *sigh*
There are many out there who would see these words as naive.
But it seems to me that the act of following this perspective helps fulfill itself.
Those who are not good at heart…often arrive there by believing others are not. So much suffering happens because we deem some evil, or unclean, or savage, or wicked, or not worthy enough to remain on this earth. Religious wars…regular wars…ethnic cleansing…the Holocaust…witch trials…oppression and enslavement of native peoples by foreign invaders…so many of these are fueled by the idea of punishing, wiping out, or executing justice, sometimes even “holy” justice, against those who are seen as wicked.
If we all had hearts like this child, the world might know peace.