Thursday, May 21, 2015

Gail Collins and Andrew Jackson and the $20 Bill

Gail Collins continues to hammer away at the $20 bill:  She argues Harriet Tubman ought to replace Andrew Jackson.

On a recent visit to Nashville, where Andrew Jackson's statue is prominently displayed, or more accurately, where many different Jackson statues are displayed, Mad Dog inquired with locals about their feelings: Aude alterum partum (hear the other side), that's Mad Dog's motto. Mad Dog was surprised to hear Mr. Jackson has his detractors, even in Nashville, which, it must be admitted is a blue island in a sea of Tennessee red. Fact is, Mr. Jackson killed enough of his fellow citizens in duels to engender much resentment among many of Nashville's local families. Nothing like shooting a great grandfather in the head to leave a bad impression.

Beyond that, General Jackson was the first and most effective American advocate of ethnic cleansing, moving Indians out of their Eastern habitat along "The Trail of Tears" which made the Bataan Death March look like a Sunday school picnic. Four thousand Indians died along the way, by somebody's count.  Suffice it to say, portraits of President Jackson do not adorn the lodges and casinos of native Americans.

Mad Dog is proud to report New Hampshire's own Jeanne Shaheen has recommended the convening of a commission to recommend a replacement for President Jackson on the $20 bill and Gail Collins likes Harriet Tubman for the spot.  Ms. Tubman risked life, limb and liberty by returning to the slave South and guiding many slaves along the underground rail way to freedom. (Presumably, Fred Rice would have paved that rail way to reduce air pollution, but that's another story.)

For Mad Dog's money, it would be Jane Addams, but this is mostly because Maud loves her so: Hull House, a place of kindness and compassion amidst unfeeling and hostile environs, and she earned J. Edgar Hoover's designation as "the most dangerous woman in America." Anyone who made J. Edgar froth and foam at the mouth has got Mad Dog's vote.

Whoever replaces President Jackson, she can hardly be worse than a slave owning, genocidal killer.

While we're at it, the commission might consider replacing Washington and Hamilton, one a slave owner and the other a banker. We could do better. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Clara Barton should not be forgotten. 

Personally, I'd put in a vote for Emily Dickinson, although I cannot spell her name reliably, or Gloria Steinem, another spelling problem, but a worthy woman.


  1. Mad Dog,
    Seems there are a good number of Americans who've had their ancestors knocked off by Andrew Jackson, so any one of these women would be preferable to him on our currency.He managed to initiate a tragedy of epic proportions in regards to Native Americans, yet his defenders will say he acted out of love for this country-that his goal was to expand US territory..Well yes, but his methods were, shall we say, more than a little extreme...I'm trying to imagine what it must be like to be a Native American and constantly seeing the face of the man who helped initiate the destruction of your culture and your people on money, a position of honor..seems changing that is long over due....Thank you for your loyal support of Jane Addams--a great choice--but so are the other women, Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton etc...and of course how can one ever go wrong with Emily Dickinson...

  2. Ms Maud,

    What's fun about you is you WOULD try to imagine how it feels to be a Native American, looking at a $20 bill and seeing Jackson. Personally, I have imagined being an Indian, when I was 9, running through the Maryland woods but have not tried imagining being an Indian as an adult, thinking about genocide, a "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee" sort of empathy. I'm sure you've read that, probably on a trip to visit Ann Frank's house in Amsterdam.

    Mad Dog