Like many, I occasionally re-visit the great reads of my past. At present I’m reading, Robert Remini’s trilogy on Andrew Jackson, the latter surely one of the most important, complex yet cartoonish, revolutionary, alternately heroic and repugnant characters in American History. There are things I’m learning anew about Jackson that have application to today’s FoxNews driven falsehoods. For example, Jackson and virtually all political leaders of pre-statehood Tennessee were more than willing to contemplate becoming Spanish if it helped them kill as many Native Americans as possible since the Washington Administration was reluctant to do so.
It is that most repugnant topic, Jackson’s facilitation of crimes against Native Americans (he had lots of support on the issue sadly), that comes to mind now. Specifically his refusal to enforce the decision of the Supreme Court in Worcester v. Georgia, holding that the Cherokee Nation in Georgia was entitled to Federal Protection from the State’s efforts to remove them from their land. Not only did Jackson not enforce the law, he encouraged the flouting of the decision and the removal of the Cherokees (and other tribes) from their land. One of the most flagrant violations of the Constitution in American History, though certainly not the only one.
Now here we are, 178 years later, and a Federal Judge, Virginia Phillips, has ruled DADT violates the Constitution and it should be banned. Under the circumstances of the case, did she go beyond what was necessary? Perhaps.
But here’s the thing, it may not be how the Obama Administration would have liked to have had DADT overturned, but it is a way that it can be overturned nonetheless. It is the right thing, and unlike with the Jackson Administration, it is perfectly legal to do sit on your hands and let the policy you say you oppose die.
It may be too late for the Cherokees, Mr. President, but here’s a chance to at least somewhat balance out history. At this point, it doesn’t appear you’ll do so.
It is time to end this ‘Trail of Tears’, don’t appeal.