An American history lesson @ WTF 9/6

 

An American History lesson…

Once upon a time I found myself in complete agreement with Trumpty Dumpty… I’m serious… honest to goodness telling the truth…

It was when he was being interviewed by then Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that aired just before this year’s Super Bowl…  Bill O’Reilly had brought up the topic of Russia and specifically Vladimir Putin… when Trump said he kinda, sorta respected him… a shocked and surprised O’Reilly pressed on and said, “Putin is a killer.” Trumpty then said, “There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers. Well, you think our country is so innocent?”

And this was not the only time Trumpty alleged the truth about America and the underlying American economic and political agenda… or… that I found myself agreeing with him.

In a 2015 interview on “Morning Joe,” the host… Joe Scarborough insisted that Putin “… kills journalists that don’t agree with him.”  And Trumpty responded, “Well, I think that our country does plenty of killing, too, Joe.”

And every one, from elephant senate boss Mitch McConnell to George W. Bush to Hillary Clinton, as well as every red blooded dyed in the wool American journalist then said their personal version of “What the fuck?!”

Why?

See, the problem was (still is) no one wanted to admit the truth about America’s past… or present… which is that it is littered with and besmirched by murder and mayhem most foul both nationally… see the real story of Native American history and Black history in America, as well as America’s history of anti-labor activities, and these are only a few of the dark realities of America’s past and present… and internationally… pick a war, police action or simply any black ops involvement that has been revealed by the Freedom of Information Act, and some very sneakily sad political bullshit that aided and abetted white American capitalism otherwise known as some very, very, very wealthy American business peeps called the .00001 of the 1%.

The main reason for this failure to admit… or maybe the reality is a failure to communicate… the truth is that almost every main stream political person or journalist… as well as more than a few of the non-mainstream ones… wants to see America as this great moral and just protector of universal principles like liberty, democracy and peace… they want to convince themselves that America the beautiful is real and fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the righteous American way.

Now it has happened again!

Kinda, sorta… where he… Trumpty… and I are in a confluence of opinion regarding the truth about America’s history and this time some of individual figures of our so-called storied past… i.e., the founding fathers.

Just a day after some white supremacist marching in Charlottesville to “protest” the removal of a statue of the confederate general Robert E. Lee and a counter protest march came to violent loggerheads and eventually left one person dead on the ground and many other injured… some seriously… after some asshole racist drove a vehicle through a crowd of the counter protestors, Trumpty held a press conference and said…  “So this week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson’s coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop? … [Jefferson] was a major slave owner. Are we going to take down his statue?”

Do we now blow up Mount Rushmore?

Then two days later he doubled down and issued the following… “Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You…. can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson … who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish! Also… the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!”

At another point, he also told the media, “George Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner? So will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down… excuse me…are we going to take down… are we going to take down statues to George Washington? What about Thomas Jefferson?”

Yep… these are the relatively recent tweets/words by our feckless leader Trumpty Dumpty.

But here’s the thing… he’s hit upon the truth. He probably doesn’t realize what or which truth he has hit upon but he has hit upon the truth. He may not… and in all likelihood won’t… grok the importance of it or the sense of it, but… he… once again… is telling the truth.

And, most of us are missing it.

Part of why we are missing it is not all our own fault, simply because the dolt is a prevaricator of the first degree at the drop of one of his ill-gained dollars and it is easy to miss it when he says something that is actually the truth.

But…

Washington did own slaves.

Some reports said he had up to 300 or more human beings as his personal property. Because he freed them when he was on his deathbed doesn’t make him a wonderful and beautifully enlightened person. He owned slaves.

Jefferson?

Trumpty is 100% right… Jefferson was “a major slave owner.”

And, he wasn’t even one tenth as nice about owning his slaves as maybe Washington. Or some others, was.

Jefferson was also a fucking hypocrite with a capital “H.”

“Liberty & Slavery: The Paradox of America’s Founding Fathers”

On the one hand, he is on record as calling slavery a “moral depravity” and a “hideous blot,” and being the main author of a document that declared it a “self-evident” truth that all men are “created equal.” While on the other hand… he was the master of his Monticello estate where he was a buyer of Black people to be his property who could be used as he saw fit… including separating entire families to be sold off to other slavers for a profit… and… as a legislator… he proposed a law that would turn freed Black people into criminals or outlaws… he proposed expelling from Virginia anyone who was born from the union of a white woman and a Black man… he fought against a law that might have led to the end of slavery in Virginia… he is said to have slept with and fathered children from bedding down with at least one of his slaves… Sally Hemings… which by the by is today called a sex crime and was (is) considered adultery by his own Christian faith… and… is said to have owned at least 600 or more human beings as his personal property.

Others of our forefathers, and coincidentally some of our early presidents, include…

James Madison who owned at least 100 human beings and was the initial impetus of the Three Fifths Compromise found in Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3 of the U.S. Constitution which said that Black slaves counted as three fifths of a person for the purposes of taxation and legislative representation.

James Monroe who owned at least 75 human beings.

John Tyler who owned 70 human beings, and while he claimed slavery was evil, he never freed any of his slaves and he consistently supported slavery and its expansion during his time in political office.

Also… of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence, 41 owned Black people or human beings…  among them…

Edward Rutledge, who was the youngest signatory of the Declaration of Independence and owned over 50 human beings and Benjamin Franklin who owned two slaves before the practice was banned in Pennsylvania.

Native American Mt.. Rushmore

Trumpty was right… many our forefathers, as well as many of early politicians were owners of slaves… some whole heartedly while others were slavers who eventually came around to believing that slavery was wrong and ultimately freed their owned human beings or proposed laws that would put slavery to an end or did both.

Do we now destroy all of any monuments to these men? Do we blow up Mount Rushmore? Do we begin to change our money… the images on our coinage and paper bills?

Most probably not… although we could use some new designs on some of our money and using some other folks who were in the forefront of the struggle to end injustice or achieve social advancement would be one way of phasing out certain of our overly racist early forefathers.. ahem… Jefferson. Maybe?

Or some new statuary, or memorials, that honors these same folks…

Black Mt. Rushmore

However, when Trumpty says we are embarking along a path that will change America’s history he now is returning to his usual ways of either being woefully wrong or sadly in error about things like life or reality.

No one wants to change history… or… rewrite history. History is what it is. Our history. It is a fact. And therein lies the real rub.

What we have been learning from the days when we was all knee high unto the old grasshoppers about the history of America is almost entirely a patent lie.

What we need to do is to start educating our children… hell, educating ourselves… we need to stamp out our ignorant and stupid telling of our history and start telling the hard truth… start telling the truth of how these rich white descendants of nobility or the gentry and of wealth began the building of America so that it best served their needs.

I once wrote in a WTF column that the founders of America were not exactly from the working or the farmers or anyone if their ilk, but were of those folks who had wealth or of the highest social status. The major reason they wanted to be free from English rule was not because of any great yearning for all peoples to have justice and freedom and equality, but simply because one group of very wealthy rich white folks didn’t want another group of wealthier richer white folk telling them they had to hand over a larger portion of their assets than they had been previously been handing over.

In simple terms… the American revolution… and I dare say all countries’ revolutions… are business deals… or business revolutions. That is they are revolutions in how business will be done in the future and who controls that business being accomplished and then gets the biggest cut of the profits. Once more…  all revolutions are business deals or are economic at their base and for the benefit of the ruling class… the class that controlled the wealth. They all use words like liberty… justice… freedom… equality… that’s the hook they need to get us… so they can get the lower classes, the workers and the poor to pick up arms and sacrifice their lives with the false hope… reward… that when it’s all over… the warring is done… that they will somehow finally see some improvement in how they get to exist.

Where are the workers… the hard working farmers…

I also once wrote… albeit about Native Americans and how white America treated them by almost exterminating them from existence…

“We need to start teaching our children real American History… demanding that our school systems teach our children the truth about America’s history instead of the vanilla (in more ways than one) scrubbed squeaky clean version we presently allow to be taught in our schools.”

This holds true for all of our history… we need to stop whitewashing our history. Literally. We need to stop presenting American history through white folk’s eyes and their manner of thinking.

If we are to be a melting pot, as that statue in New York harbor proclaims, then we need to stop telling our history from the point of view of the white man.

We need to start telling the real facts. And the number one fact is this… No one is aiming to change or rewrite history, rather the aim is to change how we represent and present the history… truthfully and from a point of view that is not exclusively white.

As far as the confederate statues… and the fact that certain institutions bear confederate names… sorry but they should be eliminated. There is no reason to dwell on keeping a hold on America’s racist past except as a time… a point in America’s past… to be studied in the history books.

This is all you will ever need to know about what all confederate honorifics mean or represent… In 1861, the Confederacy’s vice president, Alexander H. Stephens, said that the “cornerstone” of the Confederacy was “that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition.”

It was all about keeping one race… Black folks… in subjugation to another race… the white folks… so that a certain class of that race… wealthy white folks… cold reign supreme over their feudalistic kingdoms.

As for our so-called forefathers…

Yes, the American revolution and all that followed that moment in history… it all happened. And, it is possible to recognize all that… even bestow some honor or glory where appropriate.. as long as we also present, and are honest about, all of their flaws.

Do I see all white folks giving into this way of thinking about America’s past very easily?

Hell, no.

They will go kicking and screaming, all the while believing… thinking… that they are getting fucked because they will still hold onto the bullshit the wealthy keep on pumping out through their instruments of propaganda… mainly what is often called mainstream media.

“Our sense of justice leads us to believe that removing the Stonewall statue and other monuments should be part of a larger project of actively mending the racial disparities that hundreds of years of white supremacy have wrought.” William Jackson Christian & Warren Edmund Christian, Great-great-grandsons of Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson

Allow me to further illustrate my point by going to the very recent archives of Democracy Now!

The show recently interviewed Jack and Warren Christian. They are the great-great-grandsons of the Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. They recently wrote an open letter to the mayor of Richmond, Virginia, that called for the removal of a Stonewall Jackson statue in Richmond. Part of what they wrote said, “…  justice leads us to believe that removing the Stonewall statue and other (confederate) monuments should be part of a larger project of actively mending the racial disparities that hundreds of years of white supremacy have wrought. We hope other descendants of Confederate generals will stand with us.”

Warren Christian also told Democracy Now! “I think it’s very clear, if you look at the context in which the monuments were put up, they weren’t… they weren’t celebrating kind of benign war heroes. They were very clearly meant to be things that would intimidate black people and further white supremacy in the U.S.”

As their interview was winding down Amy Goodman… one of the moderators… brought up the issues that Trumpty and others of his administration, and these who hold with his administration, have said about the confederate statues…

Jack Christian replied, “I think that, ironically, part of Trump’s statement has to do… I’m choosing my words carefully… part of Trump’s statement has to do with a larger conversation that is taking place and that needs to take place, where we recognize that Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were also white supremacists and slave owners, and we think about that history. A writer on the online magazine The Root had a funny, but apt, take that I think sums it up, that said… the writer said, “Leave it to Trump to have a woke take on Thomas Jefferson.” And I think there is… I think there’s some truth or some pithiness there.”

Like I said… once more Trumpty has stumbled bummed his way upon the truth but is so taken over by his own need to be in power… to be in control… to feed his greed and his ego… that he fails to grok what the truth is…

We need to stop seeing history… seeing the world… through the eyes of white supremacists.

History is the story of many peoples of many hued and varied realities and its story needs to be told through all of the eyes of these peoples with all of the hues and variances…

Another thousand words…

 

 

Tiny URL for this post:
 

Comments

comments

1 Comment

  1. Calling Jefferson a hypocrite tells me you don’t know as much about him as you think you do AND you don’t know what “hypocrite” means.

    Yes, he owned slaves, mostly inherited. It was a necessity of the times in order to compete. Jefferson ALSO bought slaves solely to reunite them with their families!

    Not all slave owners were created equally.

    Next I’ll give you a primer on why Jefferson did what he did and his belief that just flat out freeing slaves without deporting them would lead to what we have today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*