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Worst Person to be President Poll

Worst Person to be President Poll  

21 members have voted

  1. 1. Which of the following is the worst person to be president? I'll list one terrible thing about them.

    • Washington -- Extracted his own slaves's teeth for his dentures.
    • Jefferson -- Had sexual relations with his own underage slave and kept their children as some of his 200+ slaves
    • Jackson -- Large Slaveholder who initiated the Trail of Tears, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of Native Americans.
    • Madison -- Large Slaveholder who launched an avoidable war with UK, resulting in thousands of deaths.
    • Monroe -- Large Slaveholder
      0
    • Tyler - Large Slaveholder
      0
    • Polk - Large Slaveholder who launched an avoidable war with Mexico, resulting in thousands of deaths in two countries.
    • US Grant -- Inaugurated a War of Attrition, realizing he could sacrifice and replace his troops, while the South couldn't. Choose mathematics and victory over humanism
      0
    • McKinley -- Launched an avoidable war with Mexico, resulting in thousands of deaths in two countries.
    • Lincoln -- Opted for Unionism and abolitionism in exchange for half a million Civil War deaths
      0
    • T Roosevelt -- Sank the election chances of his own party and of his own friend (Taft) by running a 3rd party campaign.
      0
    • Wilson -- Rabid segregationist who segregated the executive branch and chased a black man out of the White House
    • Harding - Gambled and drank during prohibition, and gambled away the White House china.
    • Coolidge -- Refused to respond to the Great Mississippi Flood (the Katrina of its time)
    • FDR - Japanese internment camps
    • JFK - Arguably had the most affairs of any president to hold office
      0
    • LBJ - Philanderer who launched an avoidable war in Vietnam, resulting in thousands of deaths
    • Nixon - Anti-semite who was found culpable for Watergate
    • Reagan - Opted to do nothing during the AIDS epidemic.
    • Bush I - Me Too'd a bunch of women late in life
      0
    • Clinton -- Philanderer who lied to the US people on live TV
      0
    • Bush II -- Launched an avoidable war, which spawned several more military crises, resulting in thousands of deaths.
    • Obama -- Increased drone warfare and allowed the targeting of US citizens; albeit, extremely dangerous ones.
      0
    • Trump - Narcissistic, corrupt, philanderer, birther, and arguable White Nationalist apologist who has a catalogued history of corruption and cruelty.
  2. 2. Do any of the above actions or behaviors warrant a removal of statues or the prevention of creating statues for any of these presidents?

    • Yes, any of these actions are so appauling that a statue to any of them are a slap to the face for those that have suffered and for their descendants.
    • Some do; however, they should be weighed by the entirety of what they've done and not just on their behavior, especially in private life.
    • No, all presidents and great historical figures should have immunity to their failings.
      0
    • Other
      0


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13 minutes ago, admin_270 said:

I'm skeptical of anachronistic judgments of people.

Why so?

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Slaveholding was a common practice around the world pre-19th century. It was justified in different ways in different contexts. The only thing really unique from a global, historical perspective re the U.S. is that an incredibly destructive civil war was fought in significant part to end it.

In 150 years, you could imagine people coming to a very different consensus about various issues than we do. For example, veganism might win the day. Does that make virtually anyone living now a bad person? Seems silly to me.

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Worded the way you worded them, I had to choose Jefferson as the worst person to be President.  It's hard to get lower than having your own children serve as literal slaves.  I feel like I don't even have to preface that one with "As a dad, I feel..."

But to be clear, the worst actual President is still Donald Trump.

As for statues, I don't think we should tear down statues of actual US Presidents.  I do think we can add historical context to them -- for example, a statue of Andrew Jackson should include a bio on a plaque that mentions the Trail of Tears in addition to other historical aspects of his presidency.

I do fully support tearing down Confederacy statues because they were literally our self-identified enemies and they lost.  We don't put up statues in America of Benedict Arnold or the various Kings we've defeated in wars.

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2 minutes ago, admin_270 said:

Slaveholding was a common practice around the world pre-19th century. It was justified in different ways in different contexts. The only thing really unique from a global, historical perspective re the U.S. is that an incredibly destructive civil war was fought in significant part to end it.

In 150 years, you could imagine people coming to a very different consensus about various issues than we do. For example, veganism might win the day. Does that make virtually anyone living now a bad person? Seems silly to me.

I would say it would be silly to compate meat-eating with horrors of slavery---even by thinking 150 years in the future. I understand what you are trying to say, however. 

Many slaveholders, even in Washington's time, knew slavery was immoral; yet, they couldn't knock their addition to it because of economic and profit reasons. The American Colonization Society was an attempt to feel better about being slaveholders. 

Also what is your range of anachronism? How long must time pass for you to be skeptical about judging someone's behavior? What behaviors are universal flaws worthy of condemnation? 

The skepticism comes off as dismissive of behavior that was actually quite appauling for their own time--extracting teeth of living slaves to replaces your own teeth, in Washington's case. Sleeping with an underaged slave, who had no choice in the matter, and keeping their children enslaves, in Jefferson's case. How can that be dismissed? 

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3 minutes ago, Actinguy said:

As for statues, I don't think we should tear down statues of actual US Presidents.  I do think we can add historical context to them

Statues are usually for people who are revered in the culture.

What's happening here is an attempt at a cultural revolution on the order of the Bolshevik revolution which erased large parts of Russian history. This is not the beginning of the attempted revolution - it has been winding its way through various institutions - in particular universities - for a long time.

If it succeeds, the statues will come down.

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Just now, admin_270 said:

What's happening here is an attempt at a cultural revolution on the order of the Bolshevik revolution which erased large parts of Russian history. This is not the beginning of the attempted revolution - it has been winding its way through various institutions - in particular universities - for a long time.

It isn't about canceling history; it's about learning from history. It's an evolution, not a revolution. 

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1 minute ago, vcczar said:

Also what is your range of anachronism? How long must time pass for you to be skeptical about judging someone's behavior?

It isn't just about time. It's about culture in general. Have you immersed yourself in the culture? Understand it very well? At that point, I think it's fair to start making judgments about people living in that place or time.

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1 minute ago, vcczar said:

It isn't about canceling history

What else can you call pulling down statues, banning books, and so on?

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7 minutes ago, admin_270 said:

What else can you call pulling down statues, banning books, and so on?

Who is banning books?

"You could read a book" is usually the counterpoint to people who claim that tearing down statues means that people won't learn about history.

I'm not aware of any statues to Adolf Hitler, but I've sure heard and read about him.

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13 minutes ago, Actinguy said:

Who is banning books?

The ideological movement to pull down statues also leads to people wanting to remove certain books from schools, libraries, and so on.

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1 minute ago, admin_270 said:

The ideological movement to pull down statues also leads to people wanting to remove certain books from schools, libraries, and so on.

No, that's a straw man argument.  You're pretending that the people who want to tear down certain statues also want to ban books, because you can't win the statue argument but could maybe win the made up book argument.

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I view human sacrifice as a wrong. I think the Spaniards were rightly horrified by what they saw in the Aztec Empire when they arrived there. 

Yet, do I think we can't have any statues to Aztecs? No. The judgment of an individual is separate from the norms of the society in which they lived.

But ya, this is a battle about what things Americans value the most. There is a real cultural revolution that is and has been unfolding in the U.S., centred in the universities. Its primary narrative is an oppressor-oppressed one, which sees history through that lens and holds that is the most important lens through which to view history. If you buy into that, you probably should support tearing down statues to all past U.S. Presidents, and much more beyond that.

 

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3 minutes ago, Actinguy said:

You're pretending that the people who want to tear down certain statues also want to ban books

I remember being told on this site a couple years ago that this would stop at Robert E. Lee, and wouldn't lead to wanting to pull down Jefferson, Washington, and so on.

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4 minutes ago, admin_270 said:

 Its primary narrative is an oppressor-oppressed one, which sees history through that lens and holds that is the most important lens through which to view history. If you buy into that, you probably should support tearing down statues to all past U.S. Presidents, and much more beyond that.

Eh, maybe.  Frankly, it seems like most of the "modern era" of Presidents only have statues in their hometowns as a favorite son or at their museums/final resting places.  That seems fitting.  

But we don't put up statues of Thomas Jefferson to celebrate what a great slaveowner he was, or what great strides he made in restricting the rights of black people in the country.  Unlike Confederate soldiers, who we do put up statues to, to honor how great they were at killing American soldiers.

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Just now, Actinguy said:

But we don't put up statues of Thomas Jefferson to celebrate what a great slaveowner he was, or what great strides he made in restricting the rights of black people in the country

Exactly! You view other themes in history as *more important* than the fact Jefferson, like many elites of his time (and many people all over the world throughout history), was a slaveowner.

The cultural revolution denies that the other themes are more important, because oppressor-oppressed is the most important facet of history. Because Jefferson was an oppressor of slaves, his statue must come down. Regardless of what you think, in the minds of people trying to pull down his statues, *it has become* a symbol of oppression - that's what they care about first.

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Just now, admin_270 said:

Exactly! You view other themes in history as *more important* than the fact Jefferson, like many elites of his time (and many people all over the world throughout history), was a slaveowner.

The cultural revolution denies that the other themes are more important, because oppressor-oppressed is the most important facet of history. Because Jefferson was an oppressor of slaves, his statue must come down. Regardless of what you think, in the minds of people trying to pull down his statues, *it has become* a symbol of oppression - that's what they care about first.

I mean, for starters, you're talking about "The Cultural Revolution" like it's even a thing, much less a well defined one with a set of agreed upon goals and values.  It's not.  It's a whole lot of people who all have their own goals and values, and they're each presenting their viewpoints.  There will be extremes in either direction, but they do not represent the whole.

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1 hour ago, Actinguy said:

Who is banning books?

"You could read a book" is usually the counterpoint to people who claim that tearing down statues means that people won't learn about history.

I'm not aware of any statues to Adolf Hitler, but I've sure heard and read about him.

Minneapolis banned Harper Lee and Mark Twain.

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1 hour ago, admin_270 said:

What else can you call pulling down statues, banning books, and so on?

As stated, in regards to statues:  it's learning from history not canceling history. Books won't be banned, I'd opposed that. One has to seek a book. A statue is placed on public display and are generally created to venerate an individual. A book is often critical and many-sided. 

The Cultural Revolution is all in your head. Most Americans only want the Confederate statues down, including myself. I'm okay with Washington and Jefferson staying. However, I'm also okay with them being pulled if the communities want them out of there. 

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1 minute ago, SilentLiberty said:

Minneapolis banned Harper Lee and Mark Twain.

I don't know what this sentence means.

I tried googling Minneapolis & Harper Lee, and then Minneapolis & Mark Twain but couldn't find any relevant hits.

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1 minute ago, Actinguy said:

I don't know what this sentence means.

I tried googling Minneapolis & Harper Lee, and then Minneapolis & Mark Twain but couldn't find any relevant hits.

It actually happened in 2018. My bad for that. The tweet I had seen with the article made it appear as thought it was in response to recent events. Once again my bad. 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/12/harper-lee-mark-twain-banned-minnesota-schools/

Still though, book banning. 

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Just now, SilentLiberty said:

It actually happened in 2018. My bad for that. The tweet I had seen with the article made it appear as thought it was in response to recent events. Once again my bad. 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/12/harper-lee-mark-twain-banned-minnesota-schools/

Still though, book banning. 

That's schools, not a city.  Schools have always had the ability to decide which books are appropriate for assigned group reading.

I recall reading Huckleberry Finn as part of assigned reading in sixth grade.  I vaguely recall the teacher saying something at the beginning like "Now, this book does contain a bad word.  If anybody has a problem with that, please raise their hand."

First of all, it was sixth grade and we were all desperately trying to be cool.  Nobody was going to raise their hand about having a problem with a bad word.  We also weren't told what the "bad word" was, or even given a hint.  

It was also an extremely white school.  We had only two black kids in my grade, and zero black teachers.  It's not difficult to put yourself in their shoes and think about whether they'd really be comfortable raising their hand even if they had advanced knowledge of what the word was.

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