In an op-ed for the Washington Post, former Sen. Jim Webb wagged a finger at supporters of Harriet Tubman’s new home on the 20-dollar bill, because they’ve been disparaging President Andrew Jackson too much.
“This dismissive characterization of one of our great presidents is not occurring in a vacuum,” Webb writes talking about the man who authorized the genocide of thousands of Native Americans. “Any white person whose ancestral relations trace to the American South now risks being characterized as having roots based on bigotry and undeserved privilege. Meanwhile, race relations are at their worst point in decades.”
Webb has a long history of supporting the southern Confederacy and the Confederate flag as a symbol of American heritage. It should be no surprise that he defends white privilege.
He further questions the Indian Removal Act implying that it was acceptable because other Presidents supported it. “This approach, supported by a string of presidents, including Jefferson and John Quincy Adams, was a disaster, resulting in the Trail of Tears where thousands died. But was its motivation genocidal?”
Yes. Yes, it was. As a former senator, Webb should know the definition of genocide as defined by the International Criminal Court. Anytime anyone, be it government or private citizen, attempts to systematically destroy a group of people it is defined as genocide. Even if the intent is not to kill the entire group of people, it falls under “crimes against humanity.” If Webb wants to claim that this is justifiable because more than one president and leaders of the day supported it, he risks standing with those who support crimes against humanity.
If that isn’t enough to disparage Andrew Jackson, the man literally killed Charles Dickinson in a duel for insulting Jackson’s wife. Talk about savagery, and somehow Americans should be proud of this man for sitting on the most circulated bill in our currency?
Webb should be well acquainted with the Edmund Burke quote about those who don’t learn from history being forced to repeat it. Part of valuing education and history is admitting our country’s mistakes. From what we did to Native Americans, to slavery and more, America made mistakes. Pledging allegiance to the United States of American means aspiring to
Pledging allegiance to the United States of American means aspiring to be a better nation as we move forward. Advanced citizenship such as ours requires a strive for exceptionalism if we want to believe we are exceptional. Shaming the American people for learning the history of this man and being repulsed by his actions isn’t an honorable act fitting of a former U.S. Senator and an American soldier.