[OP-ED]: Trump Policies – Another ‘Trail of Tears?’
A few days before President Trump and Republican congressional leaders trumpeted a legislative success toward their goal of dismantling Obamacare, America’s 45th president burnished his unenviable image of ignorance about history.
Trump, during a news media interview, offered profuse praise for one of America’s most racist presidents – Andrew Jackson – and puzzling pronouncements about Jackson’s role in America’s Civil War, that bloody North/South clash that erupted over a dozen years after Jackson’s death.
As with past verbal gaffes by Trump, his supporters scurried to correct his ‘misstatements’ on Jackson while Trump critics scored him for another astoundingly inaccurate historical account.
Earlier this year Trump spoke of the legendary anti-slavery activist Frederick Douglass as if Douglass were still alive. Trump apparently was unaware that Douglass died in 1895, inside his Washington, DC home located just a few miles from the White House.
Trump’s Douglass gaffe spurred his February (Black History Month) visit to the National Museum of African-American History located in DC not far from the White House.
However, at that museum, Trump blew another opportunity to build a bridge to blacks and Latinos with his failure to mention the acclaimed historical collection of black cultural artifacts in his hometown of New York City assembled by Arturo Schomberg, a Puerto Rican.
Andrew Jackson, who served as America’s 7th President between 1829 and 1837, was not only a slave owner, he initiated one of the worse ethnic cleansings in North American history with the Indian Removal Act of 1830.
That law forcibly removed Native Americans to west of the Mississippi River so whites could occupy (steal) ancestral Native American homelands in the East, primarily the Southeast. Thousands of Native Americans perished during that removal, called the ‘Trail of Tears.”
Jackson, the man Trump glowingly referenced as a “swashbuckler” was termed “Indian Killer” by Native Americans in the 1800s.
Since Trump boosted his interest in Jackson during a visit to Tennessee where he visited Jackson’s grave, perhaps Trump should visit Cherokee, NC. There Trump could tour the Museum of the Cherokee Indian where he might learn of the devastation wrought by Jackson.
Given some of Trump’s actions, he probably sees an affinity with Jackson.
Jackson assailed the ‘inferior’ Cherokee despite their nation having a constitution and supreme court. The man Trump placed on the U.S. Supreme Court never employed a research assistant who was Native American, black or Latino.
Jackson ignored a U.S. Supreme Court ruling recognizing Cherokee sovereignty. Trump routinely bashes the federal judiciary -- wishing he could ignore rulings against his policies like Jackson did. Remember Trump’s assault on the American-born judge of Mexican ancestry that handled the lawsuit against the (allegedly) flim-flam Trump University?
The partisan passage of that Trump touted health care measure, that adversely impacts millions including senior citizens and special-needs students, could face court challenge.
The Trump-era is an example of what Spanish philosopher George Santayana meant when he observed: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”