The real significance of Harriett Tubman's image on the $20 bill

Commentary by Allen B. West

Source Washington Examiner

It's not often I can say that I'm pleased with news coming from the Obama administration and especially from Jacob Lew of the Treasury Department. But I must admit, there is truly a reason to celebrate. There had been much speculation about the Obama administration's desire to change the faces on the $10 and $20 bills. As you probably know by now, Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary War hero, coauthor of our Constitution, and first secretary of the Treasury, gets to stay. I am quite sure that the very successful and popular Broadway show had a little something to do with that decision.

But it was the news that Harriett Tubman was selected to be on the $20 bill that made me so very proud. There are many who viewed this as a particularly political decision to have a woman and a black American on U.S. currency. I must say, regardless of whether that was the intention, the selection is astounding and calls on us to examine the greater meaning. Harriett Tubman symbolizes and embodies the power of one to break the nefarious hold of tyranny on the lives of blacks. She took on slavery.

I'm stoked about this because Harriett Tubman was a gun-toting black female Republican and she gets to replace the recognized founder of the Democratic Party, former U.S. President Andrew Jackson. And when you consider the heroism, courage and conviction of Ms. Tubman, who better to be on the front of the $20 bill? Now, being a graduate of the University of Tennessee and a former military officer, I have an immense regard and respect for "Old Hickory." However, if there is to be someone replacing Andy Jackson, Harriett Tubman is about as fine a choice as one can make. Why?

Harriett Tubman is known for her exploits with the "Underground Railroad." It was her direct efforts that resulted in the freedom of countless blacks, enabling them to escape from slavery. Tubman played an instrumental part in undermining and challenging the Democratic Party and its support of the institution of slavery. She became an integral and vital symbol of a movement fully embraced by the Republican Party: The abolition of slavery, breaking the physical chains of bondage preventing individual freedom. Which, in turn, prevented the United States from living up to those seminal words of Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

Was the purpose, intention, and goal of the Obama administration to make a pandering gesture as part of its inane "social justice" progressive agenda? Probably so, but her placement on the currency is not just about being the first black and first woman in 100 years. Ms. Tubman symbolizes the fight that continues, still against the Democratic Party, the party of the fella she replaced on the bill.

Today, it's not slavery, but socialism that enslaves the individual economic freedom of black Americans. The new American Socialist Party, once known as the Democratic Party, has created the metaphysical chains of dependency to do even worse than what was done in the era of slavery.

They've destroyed the indomitable individual spirit in the black community, which now sits waiting for the crumbs of government subsistence — instead of reaching for the golden ring of the American dream. It was Democratic President Lyndon Johnson who, with his Great Society idea of government giving a check to women who have children out of wedlock as long as they do not have a man, (i.e. dad) in the home, that has exacerbated the epidemic rise of single parent households in the black community. Yes, 50 years ago, the two-parent household in the black community was about 77 percent. Today it is 24 percent.

Ms. Tubman represents the new age of black abolitionists, freedom fighters and black conservatives who've escaped via the modern "Underground Railroad" of educational and economic empowerment from the liberal progressive economic plantation of the welfare nanny-state.

And just as there was a bounty of some $40,000 on her head then, black conservatives have a defined bounty placed upon them now. They're the ones leading their black brothers and sisters to a newfound freedom. A freedom rooted in better education opportunities. A liberty established in the restoration of the black family. An independence that comes with economic empowerment via small business entrepreneurship and true earned home ownership— not progressive socialist policies such as the failed Community Reinvestment Act of Jimmy Carter. Those are the means by which the black community, and all Americans, can get on board the train traveling the railroad to individual economic sovereignty and true freedom.

Harriett Tubman is representative of our Founding Fathers and what America symbolizes — the power of one to break the nefarious hold of tyranny. She of course focused on the lives of blacks. She is a role model for all, just the type of role model that America needs right now. "All aboard" folks. This isn't Soul Train but rather the Liberty Line calling for you to get on the train that travels the tracks to the American dream — economic freedom and independence.

Congratulations, Harriett. As a black Republican, you, Frederick Douglass, and Booker T. Washington set the standard, one that I shall strive to honor.

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