In case anyone has not noticed, we are in the midst of a Nietzschean transvaluation of all values epoch. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court raised the roof on marriage to accommodate gays, striking down with one bold stroke state laws governing marriage that the justices and the editorial board of the New York Times thought primitive and unnecessary.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, WFSB reported, “called the decision historic and had a LGBT pride flag flying at the Governor's Residence in Hartford on Friday. ‘This is a historic moment, and we should recognize and celebrate its significance. Equality, freedom, justice and liberty – all recognized by the Supreme Court in this ruling that moves our nation forward,’ Mr. Malloy said.” His administration, Mr. Malloy has said previously, is the gayest in state history and has been full of historic moments.
“Well, Scott Walker, if you believe the next president’s job is to encourage bigotry and to treat some families better than others, then I believe it’s our job to make sure you aren’t president. That’s just a taste of the ugly picture of Republican leadership,” said progressive flamethrower U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, during the Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson, Jackson, Bailey dinner at the Connecticut Convention Center.
Ms. Warren disappointed progressives when she refused to enter the primaries as an alternative candidate to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Some progressives, Connecticut’s own Bill Curry among them, think that Mrs. Clinton is a middle-of-the-road Democrat of no strong principles who, once in office, will surrender to the blandishments of non-progressive Democrats.
In addition, she seems pox-marked with various scandals she may not be able to overcome. The loss of the bully pulpit after eight years of autocratic rule by progressive President Obama would amount to a revision of values that would put a serious dent in the good humor of progressives as displayed by Ms. Warren in what might have been a thumping presidential stump speech. Scott Walker, she says twice elected governor of Wisconsin, is a bigot; Jeb Bush wants to privatize Social Security; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz wants to repeal Obamacare and provide tax breaks for Big Business; and former President Reagan’s trickle-down economics was “nothing more than political cover for helping the rich and helping the rich become more powerful.”
That sort of bumper-sticker thought went smoothly down the throats of the 1,300 Democrats in attendance who purchased tickets beginning at the non-proletarian price of $185 to hear Ms. Warren spank the behinds of Republican presidential candidates. Not a serious candidate for president herself, Ms. Warren is under no compunction to lay out a domestic and foreign policy program that might garner a sufficient number of votes to propel her into the White House; this is the unhappy lot of Mrs. Clinton, whose candidacy Mrs. Warren has not yet fulsomely endorsed. However, progressive Friends Of Warren (FOWs) here in Connecticut, among them uber-progressive Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, have thrown in their lot with Mrs. Clinton and her scallywag but loveable husband.
Ms. Warren’s appearance at Connecticut’s Jefferson, Jackson, Bailey fundraising dinner was rich in irony. The event itself is named after two slavers and an Indian killer; Andrew Jackson, the founder of the modern Democratic Party, was both a slaver and an Indian killer. John Bailey, the last Democratic Party boss in Connecticut, was innocent of these crimes against humanity, and he was an upstanding Democrat too, though politically he was not as ferocious a progressive as Ms. Warren.
On slavery, Jefferson was somewhat torn. Unlike George Washington, he did not liberate his slaves in his will; he thought blacks were primitive and therefore unworthy of full manumission. Both Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Jackson breeded slaves for private gain. Of the two, Mr. Jackson was less conscience-stricken by what the founders called our “peculiar institution.”
Not only did Mr. Jackson own hundreds of slaves, he vigorously prohibited abolitionists from distributing tracts condemning slavery, tabled abolitionist activity in Congress and was himself a slave trader, according to a piece in Salon.
But it was as an Indian killer That Mr. Jackson excelled. T.D. Allman argues in “Finding Florida: The True History of the Sunshine State” that brutality was a habit of mind for Mr. Jackson long before he prepared the ground as President for the Trail of Tears, the forced death march that killed 4,000 Cherokees in 1838-39.
Slaving and Indian resettlement were not unrelated in that brutal mind. As early as 1816, then-U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson displaced Spanish-speaking black and Choctaw Indian in Florida because he feared that a free black community nearby might serve as a magnet for runaway slaves. Mr. Jackson convinced his subordinates that the blacks and Indians, free under Spanish rule, were bent on “rapine and plunder,” when in fact they were small farmers raising crops.
The news that there is a move underfoot across the nation to re-title all Jefferson Jackson dinners trickled down late to Connecticut. Blue Virginia may already have gone Jacksonless by the time this column appears in print. As a progressive, Ms. Warren’s conscience is exquisitely tender, which is why she called the inoffensive Mr. Walker a bigot. How a woman of such refined feelings could bring herself to participate in a function that honors both herself and Mr. Jackson, a slaver and Indian killer, is a deep puzzlement. Following Ms. Warren’s appearance, The Democratic Party in Connecticut belatedly scrubbed the names of both Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Jackson from their annual fund appeal dinner.
Don Pesci is a Vernon, Conn.-based political writer.