I am incensed that our government has decided to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. I have nothing against this gun-toting abolitionist; I have everything against President Obama’s continued rattling of the nation’s cage.
I object to his ongoing efforts to “transform” and “modernize” our country, authoring one divisive measure after another, at a time when he should be restoring our confidence.
The aftermath of the financial crisis, the stalemate in Congress and increased threats from Islamic terrorists have dulled our optimism.
We need leadership, not tinkering.
Obama’s inflammatory and pesky interventions in matters great and small, from shoving ObamaCare down the country’s throat to renaming Mt. McKinley, from overturning our immigration laws to optimizing transgender bathroom availability, have kept Americans on their heels, not knowing what will come next.
The nation is not well. Suicides are at a thirty-year high, and drug addiction is soaring. Confidence in our leaders and institutions is on the decline. A new McClatchy-Marist poll finds that 68 percent of the country – more than two out of every three adults -- thinks we are headed in the wrong direction – the highest in more than four years. And that, in spite of job gains and record stock prices. Something is not right. The patient needs bed rest – not elective surgery.
It is for sure not the time to dredge up new controversies. We have plenty of those raging already – from the Iran deal to immigration to climate change policy. Most Americans are trying to make ends meet, worried about how they will pay for their kids’ education and finance their retirement; they are not focused on whose face adorns our currency. Most of us are content to celebrate our nation’s founders and historical leaders. However, once you put the subject on the table for discussion, we will have different ideas. It becomes yet another opportunity for disagreement. To what end?
Of course, the squabble over national icons confirms that reverence for our country’s past is definitely passé. Teachers no longer teach American history with any enthusiasm for this remarkable nation. History courses in our universities now focus on gender and race, not on the extraordinary achievements of our founders, or how our vibrant, growing country has offered unparalleled opportunity to hundreds of millions of people for over two centuries.
Young people today have very little sense of why the United States has long attracted refugees and aspirants from every continent even as other nations must pen their people in. They do not understand the contributions of capitalism or democracy. Why celebrate Andrew Jackson or Alexander Hamilton when you have no appreciation of their accomplishments?
Not so long ago you could joke about such ignorance and political correctness. In 1989 Dave Barry wrote a “Sort of history of the United States” called “Dave Barry Slept Here,” a delightful scramble of facts and dates. In an early chapter about Colonial America fighting the French he writes, “The cause of this was…Hold it! We have just received the following: “A REVIEW COMMITTEE CONSISTING OF EDUCATION PROFESSIONALS WITH DOCTORATE DEGREES AND INITIALS AFTER THEIR NAMES HAS DETERMINED THAT, SO FAR, THIS HISTORY BOOK IS NOT MAKING ENOUGH OF AN EFFORT TO INCLUDE THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF WOMEN AND MINORITY GROUPS. UNLESS SOME EFFORT IS UNDERTAKEN TO CORRECT THIS SITUATION, THIS BOOK WILL NOT BE APPROVED FOR PURCHASE BY PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEMS IN ABSOLUTELY VAST QUANTITIES.”
Barry writes on, “Another important fact we just remembered is that during the colonial era women and minority groups were making many contributions, which we are certain they will continue to do at regularly spaced intervals throughout the course of this book….” And of course, he liberally sprinkles the line “At this time, women and minorities were making many contributions” throughout the ensuing hilarious chapters. How refreshing.
There isn’t much humor about political correctness, or anything else, on display today. To the contrary, we are engaged in an extraordinary and passionate election, with candidates in both parties buoyed by fear and anger.
Does President Obama take any responsibility for the popularity of Donald Trump, whose support soars as he eviscerates political correctness and promises to confront the world with renewed strength and authority?
Does he not see some rebuke in Bernie Sanders’ amazing ability to gin up outrage over the plight of everyday men and women?
Is Obama not just a tad concerned that his legacy will include the notion that he frittered away eight years pursuing his personal agenda while ignoring the concerns of the nation, like jobs and incomes? A list that does not, by the way, include whose face is on the twenty dollar bill?