Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Wednesday will announce plans to both keep Alexander Hamilton on the front of the $10 bill and to knock Andrew Jackson off the front of the $20 in favor of Harriet Tubman, sources tell POLITICO.I'm sorry Jackson is staying on the bill at all, especially if he's sharing it with Tubman -- he was a slave trader who set a Native American genocide in motion. But the addition of Tubman is good news.
... Jackson isn’t getting completely booted off the $20 bill. He’s likely to remain on the back.
Now, how is your right-wing uncle going to react? Well, it's complicated. He might actually claim solidarity with Tubman, along these lines:
In fact, some right-wingers are probably going to demand that Tubman be depicted on the bill with a firearm:
Republicans need to push for the portrait of Harriet Tubman on the $20 to feature her gun. A true American hero. pic.twitter.com/ChRshCRYld— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) April 20, 2016
But most are probably going to react pretty much the way you'd expect:
But will they respond exclusively with racist bile? Oh, no -- some of them will pretend that their objections are fact-based.
I went to the white supremacist site VDARE.com, certain that I'd find something terrible about Tubman. I wasn't disappointed. Relying on a James McPherson essay in The New York Review of Books, VDARE's James Fulford writes:
Tubman remained illiterate her whole life. Her 1869 “biography,” Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman, was actually written by a white friend named Sarah Bradford, who also wrote Harriet—The Moses of Her People, in 1886. There are only four letters of Tubman’s in existence, and they were dictated.(Yeah, and so?)
* Tubman was said to have led 300 slaves to freedom -- McPherson makes it between 57 and 70.in a 2013 Washington Post article, Krissah Thompson acknowledges all that -- though I'm struggling to see how any of it significantly diminishes Tubman's accomplishments. What's wrong with leading dozens of slaves to freedom? And a $100 reward may not seem like much, but there are many ways to measure inflation, and by one measure -- based on wages of unskilled workers -- $100 in 1849 money is the equivalent to $22,600 today. By other measures, it's far more.
*Many of the fugitives Tubman conducted north were her relatives. That would make her the Moses of her family, rather than of her people.
* Tubman was said to have had a reward of $10, 000, $12, 000, or even $40, 000 for her recapture—the last figure would be equivalent to more than a million dollars today. The largest reward actually posted was $100.
* Tubman suffered from some “temporal lobe epilepsy” or “narcolepsy” or possibly “cataplexy” as a result of a head injury. Symptoms, as described by McPherson: “[F]or the rest of her life Harriet would periodically lose consciousness and appear to fall asleep, sometimes for only a few seconds, sometimes for several minutes, and then awaken to carry on as if nothing had happened.” This really terrified the people she was supposed be rescuing -- and raises questions about how much she could really have done.I read this as a triumph over a serious brain injury, but your mileage may vary.
Now, here's what really sticks in Fulford's craw:
A final point: how did the modern Harriet Tubmania get started? McPherson explains:The title of Fulford's piece is "Harriet Tubman -- Gun-Toting Republican, Delusional Narcoleptic, and/or Creation of Communist Propaganda?"
For decades after her death in 1913 at the probable age of ninety (her exact birth date is unknown), Tubman languished in obscurity. The only African-Americans who enjoyed historical fame in those years were George Washington Carver and Booker T. Washington. In the 1930s the labor activist Earl Conrad (Earl Cohen) decided to write a biography of Tubman.Milton Sennett’s 2007 book Harriet Tubman: Myth, Memory, and History, says that while mainstream publishers “ignored Harriet Tubman, interest in her was being cultivated by left-wing organizations, specifically ones connected with the radical labor movement.”
The “radical labor movement” and “labor activist Earl Conrad” both mean “Communist”, by the way. The Russian-controlled Communist Party of the USA was active in “civil rights” in the old days, for reasons of its own. That’s where the modern Tubman boom started.
Which of these lines of attack is your uncle going to choose? Probably all of them at various times -- recall that Martin Luther King, to the right, is both a commie sex addict and a conservative Republican who would hate any modern movement for racial justice. So steel yourself for this nonsense.
And on the subject of Andrew Jackson, there's this, from a couple of dayt ago:
BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): Why don't we just create another bill for a woman? Create like a --Yikes.
[HEATHER] NAUERT: Like a $2 bill. No, a $4 bill.
AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): No, more than that.
KILMEADE: Make it a $25 or something because Andrew Jackson at 13 was a courier in the Revolutionary War.
KILMEADE: He was a congressman, a senator. Certainly one of best generals we ever had.
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): You know, well here's the thing that really got me about what she just said is they're going to keep Hamilton on because of a Broadway show.
NAUERT: That's crazy.
DOOCY: If that is the standard, next thing you know, folks, we're going to have cats on money.
UPDATE: Ben Carson apparently watched that segment: