From 1914 – 1918, Adolf Hitler was an amazing award-winning soldier in the German military. Later, as President, he developed one of the most effective anti-smoking campaigns in the world. Under his rule, Germany revolutionized the jet engine.
But you know, and I know, that those facts don’t mean a damn thing. He was a monster of a human being. Millions and millions of people were targeted and killed by him in one of the most horrific periods in human history. He was a hateful anti-Semitic bigot. Next year, he’ll still be a monster. In 2050, he’ll still be a monster. Hundreds of years from now, he’ll still be a monster.
Adolf Hitler is a monster who should never be honored.
Just as this is true for Hitler, it is true for any American President who ever owned human beings and forced them into a life of slavery. Mind you, the Holocaust was “legal,” but it was an unjust disgrace. Slavery is just the same.
Under every single circumstance, American slavery was an abomination. Being forced into a life of unconditional labor, torn apart from your loved ones as they were sold all over the place, unable to ever leave or move on, molested and used for breeding and/or sexual pleasure, and denied the most basic human and civil rights – slavery was terrible. Anyone who says otherwise is poorly informed.
While it may have been legal in this nation, it was always horrific. Its legality and its morality have nothing to do with each other. Anyone who sustained slavery was grossly inhumane and immoral. From the beginning of the system until the very end, good people always objected and refused to participate. It was an optional choice to own human beings. Those who chose to own people were monsters.
Refusing to allow a person to leave your property makes you a monster.
Forcing women to have sex with you makes you a monster.
Forcing strangers to have sex with one another for the purpose of breeding makes you a monster.
Whipping or beating people as a form of punishment makes you a monster.
Putting a price on a person’s life by buying or selling them makes you a monster.
Ripping families apart as they are bought and sold for profit makes you a monster.
Forcing people to work for free makes you a monster.
I could go on. Slavery was a monstrous system. Everybody who participated in it was evil for having done so. Period. No exceptions.
The Trans-Atlantic slave trade to African Americans is the Holocaust to Jews. No justification will ever be acceptable.
Yesterday, Donald Trump went out of his way to honor President Andrew Jackson. He should never be honored. Over his lifetime, he owned at least 300 human beings. This is terrible and no contribution he made in his life will ever outweigh this fact. To this very day, Andrew Jackson’s own estate openly admits that all of his wealth came from owning human beings and forcing them to work on his plantation.
Until the day he died he owned over 150 people. He was a full-fledged unrepentant bigot. The enslaved Africans on his plantation were routinely whipped and beaten. If they escaped, fugitive squads searched for them and returned to the plantation. One advertisement put out by Jackson for a runaway slave offered $10 for every 100 lashes given to the slave who was caught.
Is that not sick to you?
This makes Andrew Jackson a monster. Nothing he did as President of the United States is good enough to look past this.
The same holds true for every single American President who owned human beings, including George Washington & Thomas Jefferson.
The 12 Presidents who owned human beings represent over 25% of all American presidents. Each of those men have long, awful lists of the horrible stories of the men, women, and children they forced into bondage. The act of forcing a human being into slavery alone is awful all by itself, but each of the hundreds and hundreds of enslaved Africans forced into slavery by them had their own stories of cruel abuse.
And, to be clear, those twelve presidents, which went from the first president to the eighteenth president, were intermingled with presidents who refused to own human beings.
John Adams, the nation’s second president, refused. The next several presidents owned human beings, but John Quincy Adams, who was the sixth president and the son of John Adams, also refused.
It is telling that this nation is still so willing to honor these men. Just like Hitler, they do not deserve it.