Andrew Jackson’s Sins

I was astonished to read Wayne O’Leary’s recent piece in the 8/15/15 edition, “Dissing Jackson.” Near the end he makes a standard apology for slaveholders, that it must be understood in the context of the times. He states, “Jefferson and Jackson were no Simon Legrees, they were unusually compassionate slave masters.” How one can be compassionate and a slave master eludes me, but let me point out a few historical facts.In 1804, for example, Jackson placed a newspaper advertisement describing a runaway slave named Tom Gid. He promised “ten dollars extra, for every hundred lashes any person will give him, to the amount of three hundred” if Tom were captured outside of the state. (Tom does not appear to have been captured.) In the case of one repeat offender named Gilbert, running away cost him his life. In August 1827, Jackson’s overseer, Ira Walton, determined to whip Gilbert in front of the other slaves to send a message; instead, the slave fought back and ended up dead from a knife wound.

Female slaves were not immune to violence either. In 1815, one of Jackson’s nephews informed him that “[y]our wenches as usual commenced open war” against the overseer. This familiar behavior stopped after the slave women were “brought to order by Hickory oil,” a reference to being whipped. In 1821, the Jacksons were living in Florida while Andrew served as territorial governor. During one of his absences, Rachel wrote to her husband that her slave, Betty, “has been putting on some airs, and been guilty of a great deal of impudence.” Her sin was washing clothes for individuals in the neighborhood without Rachel’s “express permission.” Jackson instructed several of the men who formed part of their Pensacola household to punish Betty with 50 lashes at “the public whipping post” if she refused to obey his wife. Betty was “capable of being a good & valuable servant,” he wrote one of the men, “but to have her so, she must be ruled with the cowhide.”

In his brutal military campaigns against Indians, Andrew Jackson recommended that troops systematically kill Indian women and children after massacres in order to complete the extermination. The Creeks lost 23 million acres of land in southern Georgia and central Alabama, paving the way for cotton plantation slavery. His frontier warfare and subsequent ‘negotiations’ opened up much of the southeast US to settler colonialism

Read more at <http://bit.ly/1jYulZy>.

It is shocking to me, as a long time subscriber, that your publication would permit such gross distortions of history. Shame on O’Leary and shame on The Progressive Populist.

Andrew Jackson remains one of the worst Presidents in US history. And keep in mind that abolitionists were a vocal and important voice in America at this time, most Americans did not approve of slavery and the vast majority did not own any.

George Prudent
Waukesha, Wis.

Sanders Isn’t Perfect

In the 10/1/15 TPP I found four bylined articles extolling the Progressive virtues of Sen. Bernie Sanders: “The Populist Agenda Is An Electable Agenda” by Terrance Heath; “Bernie Sanders Opens New Progressive Path to the Presidency” by Donald NcCarthy; “Vote for Sanders But Don’t Rule Out Compromise” by Sam Uretaky; and “Both Parties are Losing Touch With the People” by the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. In other liberal journals, like The Nation, these articles would appear as paid advertisements.

Bernie Sanders, like the other two major parties’ candidates, has his share of political warts and we do Sanders and Progressivism no favor when we conceal his from public notice-they will come to light eventually despite efforts to conceal them. In interviews he has given he comes on strong on domestic issues, but remains silent on matters of international affairs, no foreign questions are asked and no comments offered.

Rev. Jackson, in his article, declares that Sanders “has a proud history of opposing US misadventure(s) abroad.” Not true. There was his hawkish support for the US involvement in the war on Kosovo, the US invasion of Afghanistan, the funding of the Iraq War, the $3 billion in military aid the US gives Israel each year that is used to subjugate the indigenous Palestinians, and his endorsement of Israel’s recent wanton bombing of Gaza which was condemned by human rights organizations.

It is up to us, his loyal supporters, to tell Bernie what he needs to hear, not what he wants to hear on foreign policy matters of primary presidential concern, he has erred and must admit as much; promise a new, peace-oriented, approach to foreign policy, and put the neocon Republicans on the spot by challenging them, in a way only he can do, to do the same.

Norman Ewers
Irvine, Calif.

Editor Notes: At his campaign website, berniesanders.com, on the “War and Peace” page, Sanders writes: “I have supported the use of force only when it was a last resort and America’s vital interests were at stake. I opposed the first Gulf War ... because I believed that there was a way to achieve our goals without bloodshed, through sanctions and concerted diplomatic action. I supported the use of force to stop the ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. And, in the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2001, I supported the use of force in Afghanistan to hunt down the terrorists who attacked us. I regret that President Bush did not use that authority properly, and that American combat troops remained there too long. I voted against the war in Iraq, and knew it was the right vote then, and most people recognize it was the right vote today. The only mission President Bush and his neo-conservative friends accomplished was to destabilize an entire region, and create the environment for al-Qaeda and ISIS to flourish. …”

On Israel-Palestine relations, the site says, “Sen. Sanders has long supported a two-state solution that recognizes Israel’s right to exist in peace and security, and the Palestinians right to a homeland in which they control their political and economic future.

“The most recent violence in Gaza represented a particularly ugly and violent time in the dispute. Sen. Sanders strongly condemned indiscriminate rocket fire by Hamas into Israeli territory, and Hamas’ use of civilian neighborhoods to launch those attacks. However, while recognizing that Israel has the right to defend itself, he also strongly condemned Israeli attacks on Gaza as disproportionate and the widespread killing of civilians as completely unacceptable. …”

Sanders’ Progressive Message

I am thrilled that Sen. Bernie Sanders is doing exceptionally well in his presidential bid. His events drew huge, enthusiastic crowds. Apparently, his message on income inequality, the diminishing  of the middle class, students burdened by big loans, the working poor have to have two or three low-paying jobs in order to feed their families, etc., etc. has resonated with the ordinary Americans. He moves forward in spite of the skeptic of the mainstream media. I am particularly impressed by his going to Liberty University to start a dialogue with the evangelical conservatives. Just as he said in the speech at Liberty, one should start a dialogue with people who disagree with you. Yes, I hope he would and has enough resources to implement his fifty states strategy. It is more important to bring his message to the red states than to the blue states to show to the conservatives that a progressive or a self proclaimed socialist does not have horns on his head. For Bernie, I think, wins or loses the nomination is not that important, the most important thing is to spread the progressive messages nationwide.

Boon T. Lee
Winston-Salem, N.C.

Missing Ed Schultz

I learned (from TPP) that Ed Schultz was cut loose from the MSNBC schedule. What a sad day for the USA.! I’m 77 and my wife is 76. I respect Ed tremendously, and looked forward to listening to him each weekday afternoon at 4 p.m. I respect his stands against the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Keystone Pipeline specifically, and for organized labor! — every man generally. Ed had guts!

A rare commodity these days in standing up for the individual against special moneyed interests.

Two words express how I feel: Comcast sucks!

Pat V Powers
Utopia, Texas

Editor Notes: Mr. Powers asked for Schultz’s postal address, which is 2032 Long Bridge Rd, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501. You also may contact him and listen to his daily podcast via wegoted.com. Also, Comcast owns MSNBC as well as the rest of NBC.

America Needs Immigrants

The 9/15/15 TPP devoted a lot of space to Republican rantings about “illegal immigrants.” The GOP candidates want to “round ’em up and ship ’em out.” Has anyone explained to those elephants that most of the fruits and vegetables they eat are harvested by “illegals?” Do they have any idea how many farms would go out of business, how prices would sky-rocket on what little produce might be available or the effect of the resulting malnutrition? The GOP solution to the “illegal immigrant” problem would create an even worse situation.

As for the 14th Amendment birthright issue, carrying it to its ultimate conclusion would mean that only Native Americans (Indians) can be considered citizens. All the rest of us are immigrants. Undocumented ones at that.

Gayle Voeller 
Carmichael, Calif.

GOP Pols on Taxpayers’ Dime

I am getting fed up with all the stories and editorials on Hillary Clinton’s emails. It’s the same as all the other “Clinton scandals” — Whitewater, Vince Foster’s suicide, Monica Lewinsky, Benghazi, etc., etc. No criminal conduct ever came out of those “scandals,” and I predict none will come out of this one. As Walter “Fritz” Mondale once remarked on a different topic: “There’s just no there there.”

What is especially grating is that the self-appointed guardians of public morality, Republicans in Congress, are doing it all with our tax dollars. To quote another, Joseph Welch brought an end to McCarthyism by saying to McCarthy in a public hearing: “Have you no decency, sir? At long last, have you no decency?”

If the Congressional Republicans so intent on muddying up Hillary Clinton were doing so on their own dime, that would be one thing. But they are doing it on ours, and I resent it.

Frank L. Schneider
Chicago, Ill.

Help the Refugees

Re: “We Can Do More to Help Syrian Refugees” by Chris Toensing [10/15/15 TPP], “We are a Christian nation” is a constant refrain we hear every day from millions of Americans.

Well, if those people really believe what they say, then helping Syrian refugees is something they will accept with joy. What a great opportunity for them to follow their founder’s instructions:

“I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome…” (Matthew 25:35)

“I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40)

“I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.” (Matthew 25:45-46)

Surely, millions of Christians won’t ignore the compassion their faith is supposed to inspire. Nor will they forget that Jesus had no patience with hypocrites.

Thus, we can anticipate that American Christians won’t disappoint their Savior. They will follow His advice and make these strangers welcome.

David Quintero
Monrovia, Calif.

From The Progressive Populist, November 1, 2015


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