ARE WE BEING TOO POLITICALLY CORRECT FOR OUR OWN GOOD?
ARE WE BEING TOO POLITICALLY CORRECT FOR OUR OWN GOOD?
By Roger Lippman
Yes, unfortunately I think that is what has happened to us in America. First, I'm not a bigot or a racist. I am however a realist and believe there is no way to have a legitimate discussion about this important problem without being attacked, without merit, for your opinion.
Two recent events in the newspaper and on TV show what I mean and why I am disturbed. One regards the change of our paper money to help include a woman, Harriet Tubman, on the front of the $10 bill and the other involves two Chicago policeman who beat up a black woman they arrested after an armed robbery.
Am I crazy, or is there still a pattern here as in a few other instances I have discussed in the past? They were: multiple killings at a U.S. Navy facility by a Muslim in the name of Islam but our government not calling it anything other than workplace violence; the killing of a black teen in Ferguson by a policeman after he robbed a store even though a video shows him to be committing a crime and showing total disregard by shoving the store owner. The cop was castigated, but later evidence points to the fact the teen was probably aggressive with his hands in the police car trying to get the gun from the cop. Witnesses for the teen lied and were not even there. Our president of course went on national TV to blame police before all the facts were in and the black area rioted. Sure there are bad cops and I make no excuses for them. They should be off the force and punished but that does not mean indicting the 99% of other law enforcement officers, both men and women, who risk their lives daily to help us. And by the way several are routinely shot and killed by crazy people who probably were influenced by the news events meant to inflame the public.
Now to the changing of the currency: Being a bit older I always thought our paper money had famous great Americans from our past history on it. Most were our founding fathers or presidents except for Hamilton who was secretary of the treasury. There was no woman; there was no one black and probably everyone was also Christian. A young girl wrote our president and asked why were there no faces of women and this set off an effort to change some of the bills. The removal of Hamilton on the $10.00 did not work after the famous Broadway play about him. That left Andrew Jackson, a slave trader to be relegated to the back of he $20.00.
Now I don't know about you and what you learned in school about American history if you are American but sadly I absorbed very little. In high school my teachers were rather poor and I was much more interested in other things. College did not include a history course because that doesn't get you a job. Looking back, about 90% of my teachers, including those in law school, would bore anyone to death. So what I learned about our history came later from adult education courses, extensive reading and by the way some fine TV programs on the history Channel and BYU which offers "American Ride", a fantastic series of hour long programs all about America taught by a biker who would scare the wit out of you on a dark street but is actually a fantastic teacher with all the gesticulation and personality to grab your attention and hold it.
The more I read about history in my adult years, the more I yearned to read on. As I've written in other hubs, there was no way to end segregation when America became independent. Everything to do with the U.S. Constitution was a compromise and if you have not read my Hub about how the delegates worked behind the scenes to frame it and get a majority, you are missing some good intrigue.
All those men we revere now had slaves because that was ingrained in the system. Slavery was and is bad but it was here before America became the United States and it took the Civil War to fight over the issue and end it, although not the lingering prejudice.
If we look down at Andrew Jackson because he was a slave trader before the country was ripe to have the civil war and and making slavery illegal, then we are saying no one was good unless he didn't like slaves and we shouldn’t honor anyone. Were it not for Jackson and his victory at the Battle of New Orleans, the British may have prevailed in the war with the young U.S. in 1812 and instead people here would be worrying today about whether the British government was giving us enough home rule although perhaps part of America would be Spanish, French and who knows what else.
No, Jackson was a hero and that is why he was honored for helping keep America independent. So let's talk about his replacement. Harriett Tubman. She helped free 100 blacks from the South and was a spy for the North. This was all very worthy and there is nothing negative to say. She probably should be honored. Other choices could have included women who helped in the labor movement, women who helped in nursing, women's rights or birthing issues as there were many problems with women having backroom abortions.
My personal choice of Eleanor Roosevelt comes from more reading and learning about the tremendous affect she had on all Americans as well as people around the world. While in an unhappy marriage with FDR, they had a partnership where, because of his paralysis, she was his eyes and ears traveling on his behalf around the world. She had many causes such as helping women, the poor, and yes blacks, as well as other issues many don't know about.
Several years back one adult education professor I had, remarked about how he and his parents, who were Jews, escaped from Germany just before the second world war and ended up trapped in Singapore. They wanted to come here but our anti-semitic State Department refused them visas as they did with most Jews. Then the Japanese took over. However his parents wrote Eleanor Roosevelt and somehow she personally intervened to successfully get them visas to come here. Teaching his course on the most influential people of the twentieth century, he remarked how she personally saved his life and that of his family.
When Franklin died and the war was over, Eleanor was appointed by Pres. Harry Truman to the first United Nations commission covering its founding. While the other U.S. delegates thought she was a lightweight, she proved to be the glue that held it all together and successfully negotiated with their Russian counterparts to actually form the United Nations. She was truly a woman who helped all races, creeds and people and would get my vote but I still do not think it was correct in replacing Jackson or anyone else.
If these women were added to the back of each bill, that does not mean they are second-place citizens. It just means we are showing a respect for our traditions. Otherwise why not change the colors on the American flag, drop the national anthem and use something from one of the rock bands?
By the way, I love our currency. Did you know at one time we used currency from other countries here before we had our own? Traders used a beautiful Austrian Thaller. Our young country had script. You can still find some at a currency store that looks like monopoly money. Then we had large cents about the size of a quarter, two cent pieces, half dimes, three cent pieces and with our paper, large dollars about 40% bigger than today. It is all part of our heritage and exciting to look at pennies that evolved from 1856 with the flying eagle penny up to today. Why remove people from our bills? It is a part of America’s past.
The second problem is a new video blasting across American television showing two police officers throwing a black woman to the ground. The incident took place a few years ago and an investigation at the time showed the take – down was not improper. With the video newly released by the new black chief of police who was appointed to show that Chicago is more sensitive now to black issues, the two officers were suspended and put on desk duty. The woman's mother was shown in a TV interview saying what they did to her daughter was terrible because "she was not a criminal" and just fell in with some bad people. Absolutely terrible! Down with the cops! More evidence of racial prejudice, right? And it will certainly inflame opinions more! Wait a minute: there is more to the story.
The clerk in the fast food store was just interviewed and she is now shown on some TV. She is a middle-aged white woman who said a man came into the store and stuck a gun in her ribs and threatened to kill her unless she gave him all the money which he did. He ran out to a waiting car driven by the woman arrested by the police and the victim said the woman driving took the money and had a gun.
I don't know when they changed the law but that sounds like an armed robbery and a woman driving the car would be an accomplice. So with her mother says she did nothing wrong and is not a criminal, for whose benefit was that?
The problem we have here is that people will believe what they want to believe. Every instance of police arresting African-Americans appears to be unjust and inflames the black and liberal community. Talk about this and immediately you will be classified as a racist.
So we see in our politics a rubber band that keeps pulling apart. On the left end we have the Democrats along with minorities and everyone feeling persecuted and on the right end we have the tea party Republicans and people feeling they are being blamed for everything that goes wrong; the poor middle is being stretched further and further apart and there was nowhere for us to go as the rubber band snaps.
Who is to blame for all this? Obviously the media which eats it up. Contact your newspaper and TV stations and demand fair and unbiased reporting. If they want to slant a story, have them state it is an editorial and not factual reporting.
A lack of good education is also a problem; so people frame opinions without knowing anything they are talking about. Meanwhile conditions get worse. We also have a habit of electing poor leaders. I don't mean just presidents but on a state and local level as well. The remedy is for politicians to cut out the BS and stop pandering to the public. Elected officials should do their job and people should act more responsibly to get good government. Many stay in office long beyond their productive years and act as royalty. It is no wonder a wide spectrum of America is fed up with their politicians who do nothing, while claiming to represent us.
Did you know both Republican and Democrat parties demand each Representative spend about 30 hours a week at the party campaign headquarters making cold calls for money? That is more hours then they spend representing their constituents or doing the job for which they were sent to Congress. Oh, and the Supreme Court has ruled it is proper. Those wanting to complain are left out of the party. So you are electing your officials to sit in a campaign office most of the time asking for more money and doing noting to earn what they are paid for to do an effective job Wow! We all are disgusted unless you are on the money train for some exclusive benefit from your Congressman.
The call for change is there but the people in control don’t want change. However the change offered by those in the running appears as frightening if not more so and will make many saying they prefer the devil they know to one that they do not know.
In conclusion and more importantly, next time before jumping up in rage over something in he newspaper or on TV, check to see if all the facts are in or is someone manipulating the story. Tell both parties that we demand they cease thinking of party first and think of the country.
Those people on our currency may have been flawed, but they were Americans first. heroes and we need more heroes today.