A SLAP In The Face …

In April 2016 the U.S. Treasury Department announced that Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the center of a new $20 bill.  The change was to have occurred next year to mark the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States.  Why?  Because there have been only a few women on U.S. currency, and those were on the $1 coins. We thought it was about time.  There has also never been an African-American of either gender on U.S. currency. We thought that in honour of our winning the battle 100 years ago to convince men that we had a brain that functioned well enough to do something other than birth babies, cook and keep the house tidy, it would be nice to recognize a woman who had made notable contributions during her lifetime.

Harriet-Tubman.jpgI was excited to think of a woman finally appearing on a bill, and especially excited to see that woman be Harriet Tubman.  I used to teach a Black History class every February for Black History Month, and while there were many men and women who fought the fight against slavery, and then later to gain civil rights, Ms. Tubman was always one of my favourites.  Her courage and dedication were exceeded by none.  Not only did she devote her life to racial equality, she fought for women’s rights alongside the nation’s leading suffragists.

Andrew-JacksonSo, she was to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.  Let me tell you just a little bit about Andrew Jackson.  He was a slaveowner, known for his cruel treatment of slaves. At one point, he owned as many as 161 slaves and was well-known for brutally whipping them in public and putting them in chains.  He was also the man who was responsible for the forced removal of Native Americans from their ancestral lands.  Jackson’s Indian Removal Act resulted in the forced displacement of nearly 50,000 Native Americans and opened up 25 million acres of Native American land to white settlement.  Tens of thousands died during forced removals like the Trail of Tears in what is now Oklahoma.


Trail of Tears

And now, let me tell you a bit about Harriet Tubman.  Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in 1822. Early in life, she suffered a traumatic head wound when in a fit of temper, her owner threw a heavy metal weight intending to hit another slave but hit her instead.  In 1849, following a bout of illness and the death of her owner, Harriet Tubman decided to escape slavery in Maryland for Philadelphia. Rather than remaining in the safety of the North, Tubman made it her mission to rescue her family and others living in slavery via the Underground Railroad.  

Harriet-Tubman-3Altogether it is believed that she made some thirteen trips to guide a total of approximately 70 slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad, and then came the Civil War.  Harriet Tubman remained active during the Civil War. Working for the Union Army as a cook and nurse, Tubman quickly became an armed scout and spy. The first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war, she guided the Combahee River Raid, which liberated more than 700 slaves in South Carolina.

Harriet-Tubman-4Compare these two people.  Andrew Jackson’s face is on the $20 bill, and Harriet Tubman’s was scheduled to be as of next year, but those plans have been nixed until 2028.  Why???  Because Treasury Secretary and bootlicker Steve Mnuchin does not wish to upset Donald Trump, whose hero is the abhorrent Andrew Jackson, that’s why!

See, Trump was on the campaign trail when the decision to put Ms. Tubman’s image on the currency was announced, and he expressed his displeasure, calling it “pure political correctness” …

“Well, Andrew Jackson had a great history, and I think it’s very rough when you take somebody off the bill. I think Harriet Tubman is fantastic, but I would love to leave Andrew Jackson or see if we can maybe come up with another denomination.”

He then suggested that perhaps Tubman could grace the $2 bill … a denomination that is no longer being printed.  In this writer’s opinion, Trump’s statement was a slap in the face, not only to Harriet Tubman, but to women, and particularly African-American women, throughout the nation.


Steve Mnuchin

Steven Mnuchin’s attempt to justify the postponement was laughable b.s., something pertaining, he said to ‘security’ and ‘counterfeiting issues’.  The reality, however, was reported in the New York Times on Wednesday …

Mr. Mnuchin, concerned that the president might create an uproar by canceling the new bill altogether, was eager to delay its redesign until Mr. Trump was out of office, some senior Treasury Department officials have said.

And there you have it, folks.  A great woman, a courageous woman who saved many lives, cannot be honoured because it might upset the idiot-in-chief who is a fan of a misogynistic racist.  It is said that Trump has called Jackson a populist hero who reminds him of himself.  He even has a portrait of Jackson hanging in the Oval Office.  If you ever doubted that Donald Trump is a racist and denigrator of women, wonder no more … this is the proof.

Voter Apathy — Part II

Earlier today, I wrote a piece about young people, millennials if you wish, and their reasons excuses for not voting in next week’s election.  I also noted that according to the article in New York Magazine’s Intelligencer, just over half of adults plan to vote.  I did a bit of research and found that the last time more than half of eligible voters actually turned out to vote in a mid-term election was 1914, just after the beginning of World War I!  According to the PEW Research Center …

The United States’ turnout in national elections lags behind other democratic countries with developed economies, ranking 26th out of 32 among peers in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Folks … this is pathetic!  Just under 56% of eligible voters in the U.S. cast ballots in the 2016 election! PEW chart

A number of the countries with the highest percentage of voter turnout have compulsory voting, which is a complex topic for another day, but something to think about.

According to an article in the New York Times …

Perhaps the most significant change has been in who votes. Unlike in the 19th century, voter turnout is now highly correlated with class. More than 80 percent of Americans with college degrees vote compared with about 40 percent of Americans without high school degrees, according to Jonathan Nagler, a political scientist at New York University and co-author of a 2014 book, “Who Votes Now.”

Last night, I read an interesting, fairly lengthy report by Center For American Progress  about ways in which we might be able to increase voter participation in the U.S.  It is well worth the read if you have time.  In short, the report lists some of the reasons for low voter turnout, and also some recommendations for encouraging voter participation by making the process simpler:

  • Streamline voter registration with automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration (SDR),11 preregistration of 16- and 17-year-olds, and online voter registration
  • Make voting more convenient with in-person early voting, no-excuse absentee voting, and vote-at-home with vote centers
  • Provide sufficient resources in elections and ensure voting is accessible
  • Restore rights for formerly incarcerated people
  • Strengthen civics education in schools
  • Invest in integrated voter engagement (IVE) and outreach

I agree, but it should be duly noted that all disenfranchisement laws and voter suppression tools are barriers that must be removed.

America’s representative government is warped by low voter participation, and, of those who do vote, the group is not representative of the broader population [emphasis added] of eligible American citizens. Research shows that communities of color, young people, and low-income Americans are disproportionately burdened by registration barriers, inflexible voting hours, and polling place closures, making it more difficult for these groups to vote. Participation gaps persist along racial, educational, and income-level differences.


Remember how hard African-Americans fought for the right to cast a ballot?  Remember poll taxes and tests?  In 1870, the 15th Amendment was ratified, giving non-white men and freed male slaves the right to vote, but almost immediately the southern states began taking that right away via a series of Jim Crow laws.  It would be another 95 years until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 gave African-Americans the right to vote.  Blood was shed in the fight to earn this right.  Do the names James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and Medgar Evers ring any bells?  Each gave their lives in the fight for the vote. How do you imagine those who fought the good fight would feel if they heard somebody say, as Clara Bender of Madison, West Virginia, said …

“I just never got into it. I got married, had babies — just never had the time.”

And do you realize that it was less than 100 years ago – 1920, to be exact – that the 19th Amendment was finally ratified, giving women the right to vote?  There are women alive today who remember when women couldn’t vote.  What do you think Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton would have to say to Megan Davis of Rhode Island, who says …

“I feel like my voice doesn’t matter. People who suck still are in office, so it doesn’t make a difference.”

Ay, pobrecita!!!

There is one and only one valid reason for a person age 18 or older not to vote, and that is that he or she has been disenfranchised in some way by state laws.  Gerrymandering, restrictive voter ID laws, shortened polling hours, lack of no-excuse absentee voting, polling places closed, voters given incorrect information, voters restricted by living in rural areas, and the list of tricks the states have up their sleeves is endless.  Anybody … ANYBODY who is not affected by disenfranchisement, else in a coma, has not only the right, but the DUTY to vote!  Sorry, folks, but it is one day every two years, and takes a matter of minutes.  Don’t like the country being ruled by the very filthy rich?  If you don’t vote, you caused it.  Don’t like the way your tax money is being spent?  If you didn’t vote, it’s your own damn fault. Those who fail to vote may very well be contributing to a future that none of us want.  vote-animated

Still More Bits ‘N Pieces …

Last week, when I was experiencing a bouncy brain and couldn’t seem to stay focused on any one topic for more than 4.3 minutes, I did one of my Bits ‘n Pieces posts with short snippets better suited to my mental state at that moment.  A reader commented that he prefers a compilation of shor bits anyway.  While some topics are more in-depth and require a longer post, there are always a number of things floating across my radar that aren’t suited to a full post in themselves.  So today, though I don’t have mind bounce, I am working on a few projects, none of which are yet complete, and thus I bring you a new installment of my random Bits ‘n Pieces.

A Grave Mistake???

Most of you have probably never heard of Casey Fisher, but republicans in Utah are familiar with the name.  Casey is a GOP official for Davis County, Utah, and oversees the republican caucuses in his district.  Last week, he posted this on his Facebook page:

“The more I study history, the more I think giving voting rights to others not head of household has been a grave mistake.”

Seriously?  Does the word ‘misogynist’ pop into anybody’s mind?  But wait, for it only gets more bizarre.  Davis County GOP chairwoman Teena Horlacher, a woman, rushed to defend Casey Fisher …

“The sentiment was along the lines of what our Founding Fathers believed in. Not necessarily that men only have the vote, that was not necessarily what he was saying. I certainly don’t agree with that sentiment. He’s not trying to say that only men should vote, that’s not what he’s saying. And that’s as far as I’m going to go.”

Fisher began receiving so many angry messages that he deleted not only the post, but his entire Facebook account!  But Horlacher apparently felt sorry for him and chimed back in …

“Casey has been completely harassed today. He has been inundated with mean emails, mean comments, mean phone calls. I mean, seriously. He’s quite astounded [by] the repercussions of all of this. I know Casey. He’s a really good guy. I think he just put something out there without thinking about what it looked like.”

I need add nothing more to this one, do I?


Out of the Mouths of Babes …

Those Trump boys aren’t exactly the brightest bulbs in the pack, are they?  I personally think Eric is the dumber of the two, and he may have proven that this morning when he appeared on Fox & Friends.  Asked about his sire’s highly inappropriate comment referring to certain nations as ‘shithole countries’, Eric had this to say …

“My father sees one color — green. That is all he cares about. He cares about the economy. He does not see race. He is the least racist person I ever met in my entire life.”

EricBack in November, when Trump made another racist slur referring, once again, to Elizabeth Warren as “Pocohantas”, Eric once again attempted to come to daddy’s rescue with …

“The irony of an ABC reporter (whose parent company Disney has profited nearly half a billion dollars on the movie “Pocahontas”) inferring that the name is “offensive” is truly staggering to me.”

Did I mention those Trump boys aren’t too bright?

I Think Not …

Sarah Huckabee Sanders seems to like being Trump’s fool.  Her latest statement of fantasy …

“Look, I have said it before, I will say it again: I think it is disgraceful the way this president is treated. If he was anybody else the media would be going on and on trumpeting his successes. Hopefully, over the course of this year, we’ll have a change of heart of some of the media as they get more money in their pockets due to massive tax cuts…. Maybe they will have a change in their heart too.”

If she seriously thinks that journalists who may receive a few extra dollars in their monthly pay are going to stop doing their jobs and become Trump’s pawns, she is seriously delusional.  Most journalists do what they do because they believe in the goal of an informed public, an open door to truth.  And, most journalists are also smart enough to realize that every extra dollar they bring home throughout the year will likely be eaten up when they file their annual return, for many deductions are no longer available to them.  Dream on, Sarah!

Women’s Event … ???

For some reason that I cannot understand, the White House held  “A Conversation with the Women of America”, an event hosted, as best I can figure, by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (yes, her again).  As best I can figure, the event was set up to give Trump a platform to a) toot his own horn, and b) show women how very much he loves and respects them.

SandersThere are videos online of the event, if you’re interested.  I did not have the stomach for it today.  Ms. Sanders told all the women to be sure to ask their boyfriends and husbands to buy them jewelry, and then came the main event: Donald Trump.

One might think that at such an event, the speech would have centered around women, how far they have come, how the administration is taking steps to empower women, blah, blah, blah.  But nope, not this time.  Trump rambled about the black unemployment rate, his November 2016 electoral college victory, tax cuts, and the “very tough measures” other countries are taking to crack down on drug abuse. And then, he returned to one of his favourite topics, Hillary Clinton.

“Arkansas, great state. How did I win Arkansas by so much when she came from Arkansas? Had the other side gotten in, the market would have gone down 50% from where it was. Fifty percent from where it was. Remember that. It was stagnant and it was going down. “

Let us take up a collection to buy a case of duct tape to send to the White House for his mouth, okay?

Well, folks … that’s enough for today, yes?  Stay tuned, for there is sure to be more!