It goes to show just how overworked I am that I’m only now getting to something I saw a week ago in a post at No More Mister Nice Blog, How Your Right-Wing Uncle Is Going to React to Harriet Tubman on the $20 Bill. The point of the article is that Republicans will use Tubman differently how ever it works for them. So she will either be a terrible communist or a great gun loving Republican. It’s this latter conception of her that I find interesting and incredibly annoying.
The truth is that Harriet Tubman was a gun loving Republican. But the problem with that is that you can’t really compare someone who was born almost 200 years ago to someone today. Let’s start with the most obvious and silly thing. Of course Tubman was a Republican! The Republican Party was the anti-slavery party. I assure you that if chattel slavery were an open issue today, it would be the Republican Party that would be on television reading passages from the Bible to justify it. In the 1960s, the Democrats and Republicans crossed paths on this issue. This is the main reason why the south went from solidly Democratic to solidly Republican.
My message to Republicans: after decades of using racial dog whistles to win elections, it is time to embrace the fact that you are a racist party. The group of people who ended slavery in this country might have called themselves Republicans, but they don’t represent who you are today.
Who’d’ve Thought Harriet Tubman Was Like That?!
The issue of guns is a little more subtle but far more interesting. You see, in the early days of the union, the Constitution really did protect gun rights in a most feeble way. It was only after the Civil War that gun rights started to be expanded because the southern states were trying to disarm former slaves. So of course Harriet Tubman would be pro-gun — both before and after the Civil War.
Compare this to what I’ve found in my life to be the typical gun owner: someone who owns a dozen or more guns and is waiting for the revolution that keeps not coming. You know: Ammon Bundy. These are people who live in a fantasy land where every Democratic president is a despot just waiting to storm their home. Its particularly funny when you consider that our military now has drones. So when Bundy and his fellow idiots occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, it really didn’t matter how many guns they had. The government could have just blown them all up using a drone.
On the other hand, guns actually did provide former slaves some degree of protection against state governments that really were trying to kill them. So it not only makes perfect sense that Harriet Tubman would be a gun loving Republican, it was entirely predictable. Yet we get absolutely fatuous statements from conservatives like this:
So we are supposed to be surprised. Why? Because Republicans think we are as stupid and ignorant as they are.