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Tags: presidents | civil | war | currency

Should We Remove Presidents From Before Civil War From US Currency?

Should We Remove Presidents From Before Civil War From US Currency?
(Dollar Photo Club)

Mike Fuljenz By Friday, 02 August 2019 09:25 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Let me introduce “Team Betsy Ross,” starring Lin Manuel Miranda, Rush Limbaugh and Barack Obama vs. Team Colin Kaepernick, starring Beto O’Rourke, Julian Castro and Nike executives.

On Team Betsy Ross, President Barack Obama stationed the Betsy Ross flag next to the current American flag as a backdrop for his 2013 inauguration ceremony, giving Betsy pride of place.

Two years later, Lin Manuel Miranda, a Democratic Party fundraiser for Hillary Clinton and famed playwright of the musical “Hamilton,” put the Betsy Ross flag in his 2015 hit musical:

“How does a ragtag volunteer army in need of a shower

Somehow defeat a global Superpower?

How do we emerge victorious from the quagmire,

leave the battlefield waving Betsy Ross flag higher?” 

--from “Guns and Ships” in Act I of “Hamilton”

The multi-racial cast had no problem singing these words in honor of the Betsy Ross flag.

More recently, radio host Rush Limbaugh helped raise over $3 million in a few weeks for the Tunnel to Towers foundation, which I also support, by selling over 100,000 “Stand Up for Betsy Ross” T-shirts.  Put in perspective, the NFL Superbowl Champion T-shirts typically sell only 50,000 in three months following the game. That is an example of turning lemons into lemonade.

This July, however, right before the Independence Day holiday, according to the New York Times, Colin Kaepernick told Nike, the shoe company that pays him a hefty endorsement fee, that the Betsy Ross flag, considered by many to be our nation’s first flag, dating from 1777, represented an era when black people were enslaved and has been appropriated by white nationalist groups. Nike quickly deferred to Kaepernick and withdrew their shoes with the Betsy Ross flag on them – ironically set to go on sale the week of July 4, 2019, our nation’s birthday.

Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the raising of today’s 50-star flag, so we have to ask: What flag does he want Nike to put on a shoe these days? Is there any U.S. flag that he respects?

After that slap in the face of history, no flag seemed safe. On July 17, actor Chris Pratt faced heavy criticism for wearing a T-shirt with an image of the historical Gadsden flag with the snake and the motto, “Don’t Tread on Me.”  Pratt, the star of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” was accused of being a “white supremacist” for wearing this common emblem of the American Revolution.

Let’s pause a moment to see if Team Kaepernick has any logic (or history) on its side.

First, the Betsy Ross flag and any other American flags from an era when slavery was legal – before 1863 – are not about slavery. Many other symbols were also common, like the cross – which has been historically misused by the Ku Klux Klan. Should the cross also be banned? Several Presidents from both the North and South, who are on our coins and paper money, like Washington, Jefferson and even union general Ulysses Grant, once owned slaves.  Are we to remove all the Presidents from before the Civil War from our currency and other products?

Second, Kaepernick reportedly advised Nike that the Betsy Ross flag had been appropriated by white nationalist groups. While a few examples since 2013 were described in Michigan, Georgia and Washington by the New York Times, this behavior is not widespread. A statement by Americus Reed, a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (quoted by the Times), “For lots of people, it’s quite similar to…the confederate flag,” is simply not true.

What seems to be true, however, is what Herman Cain said, “Nothing can happen in America if Colin Kaepernick doesn’t like it.” Another African-American spokesman, Larry Elder, agreed with what Jewish radio talk-show host, Michael Medved, who said, that “Betsy Ross came from a devout Quaker family and Quakers led the anti-slavery activism in America.” Betsy’s home colony of Pennsylvania was the first to abolish slavery in 1780, seven years before the Constitution was drafted. In fact, Lisa Moulder, director of the Betsy Ross Home in Philadelphia said that she has never heard of the Betsy Ross flag ever being used as a hate symbol.

Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., added, “I am not sure brother Kaepernick even totally understands who Betsy Ross is.” She lost two husbands in the Revolutionary War, one to a munitions depot explosion, the other to imprisonment in a British jail. She was also an independent business woman who owned her own upholstery business from age 25 to age 75.

The Anti-Defamation League does not list The Betsy Ross flag in its database of hate symbols. Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow for the ADL’s Center on Extremism, said that extremist groups have used it, but the flag is most commonly used for patriotic purposes.  He added “We view it as an innocuous historical flag.  It’s not a ‘thing’ in the white supremacist movement.”

I am on the board of Crime Stoppers of Southeast Texas and teach continuing education classes for law enforcement. I have personally contacted many police chiefs and retired FBI agents in Texas and Louisiana.  They emphatically told me that they had not seen this flag ever used in inappropriate manners and never in conjunction with the Confederate flag, ever.  They also had not seen it for sale in the few places that still sell the Confederate flag.

So, Betsy Ross does not reflect the dark past of slavery, but of America’s fight for independence.  Yes, our country’s history includes its share of ugly parts, like slavery, but we learn and grow from our past flaws and successes.  We should also look at our checkered history in proper and total context, like Thomas Jefferson trying unsuccessfully to abolish slavery in the Constitution, even though he owned slaves.  Again, to take Kaepernick’s logic forward, many symbols and leaders’ images prior to the Civil War would need to be virtually eradicated from public display.

Moral arbiters at the New York Times, Newsweek, and crusaders like Colin Kaepernick and Americus Reed should not exaggerate the improper use of this flag to justify its removal.  They also should perform better research and get out of their big city bubble!  Small town newspapers understand and listen to the people while big-city news media seem to follow “mob” politics.

This problem led many in the mainstream media astray in the 2016 election, as Chuck Todd, moderator, of Meet the Press, acknowledged to me when we shared a private coffee together.

Respect for the flag was once universal. When I was in high school and college in the 1970s, marching bands and those in attendance at football games and parades always stood when the anthem was played, or the flag passed by.  I have spoken with many veterans, one who went to West Point. They were present when the flag was draped over the casket over their colleagues, then folded carefully and given to the widow or heirs. Disrespect for the flag saddens veterans who saw their fellow soldiers die in defense of America. My Air Force veteran father had a U.S. flag draped over his coffin, and that flag was ceremonially folded and presented to my mother. 

Aided by exposure in some of the mainstream media, small groups of extremists, including Colin Kaepernick, can vilify or usurp righteous symbols, but those who fought and died for that flag deserve our proper support.  Even the seal of the Department of Veterans Affairs includes the Betsy Ross flag.  The next time you hear another symbol of America being disrespected, do some research. Pay attention to what is being omitted in the discussion as well as what is being said.  Context and completeness are still important to some journalists in this cynical world.

It is sad to see Democratic Presidential candidates like Julian Castro or Beto O’Rourke join Team Kaepernick in favor of banning an honorable American symbol of freedom and personal sacrifice. Beto O’Rourke said “I think it is really important to take into account the impression that kind of symbol would have for many of our fellow Americans” and “respect the decision Nike made.” Julian Castro went further, saying he was “glad to see” the removal of the Betsy Ross flag from Nike’s shoes and ignorantly compared the Betsy Ross flag to “the Confederate flag that still flies in some places and is used as a symbol.”

At least the official National Motto, “In God We Trust,” may be safe for now from Kaepernick and some media shills. James Pollock, Director of the U.S. Mint during the Civil War, suggested and implemented this motto, first on the two-cent piece in 1864. He was anti-slavery and once roomed with Abraham Lincoln when they first served in Congress in the 1840s.

In conclusion, the critics should remember the story of the little boy crying “wolf” too often. We should not let the haters redefine America’s great symbols. Neither should we react to every one of their accusations and glaring headlines and bold assertions without historical verification. 

Mike Fuljenz is a member of the Newsmax Finance Brain Trust. He is also the editor of the NLG award winning Michael Fuljenz Metals Market Weekly Report. Discover more by Clicking Here Now.

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Are we to remove all the Presidents from before the Civil War from our currency
presidents, civil, war, currency
Friday, 02 August 2019 09:25 AM
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