Monday, June 22, 2015

You're Worked Up Over The Confederate Flag - What About Your $$$?

Ever since the tragic shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, the cry for the state to remove the Confederate flag from flying over a war memorial near the capitol building has intensified. Given the state law governing the flag is unnecessarily cumbersome, it is doubtful anything will be done to remove it, especially in an election cycle. But, our money? Nary a peep about that. Reach into your pocket and pull out your money and you will see the visages of many slave owners.

This hue and cry over taking down the Confederate flag is mere posturing to make one's self look good in the current politically heated climate if there is not an equal or even greater commitment to remove the faces of slave owning presidents and men from our money. Let's look at what we have for money; first the coins.

Ah, the nickel, and staring back at us is Thomas Jefferson. A lot of times on social media forums you will see people quoting Jefferson or offering up some meme, all the while ignoring the fact he owned slaves, and he owned them while he was president. The quarter, good ol' two bits, and looking sideways at us is the Father Of  Our Country, the first president, George Washington. He, too, owned slaves and did so while president. Now, the paper currency.

Appearing once more on the one dollar bill is that slave owning guy. Same story. Same with the two dollar bill, slave owning president making a second appearance. The ten dollar bill doesn't feature a president, but the father of our modern capitalistic society, Alexander Hamilton. There is no record he owned slaves, however, since he was an ardent property rights kinda guy, he did help broker deals for slaves. On the twenty we have Andrew Jackson who not only helped with the near genocide of Native Americans but also owned slaves while he was president. The fifty dollar bill features Ulysses Grant. As a Civil War hero on the winning side, you'd think that...well, you would be wrong. He owned slaves, but not while he was president. Last, but certainly not least as they say, on the one hundred dollar bill, there is Benjamin Franklin. And yes, he owned slaves as a young man.

Some might offer the argument that these were men of their times and shouldn't be held up to our more "enlightened" present standards. As Sherman Potter used to say on M*A*S*H, "bull hockey!". Removing these slave owning men will not dim their history from our country. If we truly feel it is time for America to get with fact it is 2015, and flags should be removed, then it is long past time to replace these men's visages from our money.


1 comment:

Joel Applegate said...

Two surprises here: was US Grant and B Franklin - had no idea they were ever a slave owners.