Last spring, during the apogee of the Obama Era, The United States Treasury decided to replace the portrait of Andrew Jackson on the twenty-dollar bill with one of Harriet Tubman.
The decision was just one of many actions designed to supplant traditional American public iconography and install in its place new, non-patriarchal, multicultural, inclusive imagery. Back then it seemed to be the wave of the future — we were to expect more of the same during the reign of President Obama’s anointed successor.
Well, it didn’t work out that way, thank the Lord. But we only dodged that bullet by a hair’s breadth — it was a VERY narrow escape.
It seems appropriate to honor our seventh president by replacing his image on the virtual twenty with a picture of our forty-fifth president. I don’t know whether the Harriet Tubman twenty is going to proceed as planned — the Treasury may well have already created the printing plates for it, but I haven’t seen any of the new bills in circulation so far. However, the Trump scythe has been cutting a wide swath through the PC undergrowth, so it may well be that the Tubman twenty will become an instant collector’s item, assuming it ever sees the light of day.
Donald Trump is aware that he is being widely compared with Andrew Jackson, to the point that the new president has hung a portrait of the seventh president in the Oval Office. It’s not that their policies are all that similar — although both men emphasized the importance of decentralizing the functions of the federal government — but each came to power riding the crest of a wave of populist fervor. Both presidents were bitterly opposed by the entrenched political establishments of their respective eras, yet managed to get elected anyway by championing the common people against the elite.
The modern presidency is a vastly different institution today from what it was 180 years ago. Back then the federal government was a microscopic organism compared with the continent-swallowing behemoth it has become. For the last hundred years the establishment Progressives of the permanent government (a.k.a. the Deep State) have been methodically removing power from the legislative branch and concentrating it in the hands of the executive. Each Democrat president ratcheted up the power of his office a little further — Obama more than a little — until Congress became all but vestigial, an elaborate theatrical production with no meaningful political power. Republican presidents, beholden to the same Progressive establishment as the Democrats, could never manage more than a brief holding action against the despotism that the presidency had become.
And in 2017 Mr. Obama’s notorious “pen and phone” were all set to be handed over to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who no doubt would have strengthened the presidential despotism even further.
Enter Donald Trump.
When Mr. Trump took the oath of office a week ago, he was given access to all the levers of power installed by a century of Progressivism. And he immediately began pulling them vigorously, exercising his power to do exactly what he had promised during his campaign: deconstruct the federal monstrosity and return the governance of America to the people.
What is happening right now was supposed to be impossible. The permanent government had designed the system so that only a selection of its designated favorites — whether Democrat or Republican — would have a chance to reach for the brass ring of the presidency. With full control of the media and a firm hand on the money spigot, popular preferences could be molded and voters manipulated into choosing their leaders from a list of pre-selected candidates — one from Column A or one from Column B, every four years.
A man like Donald Trump wasn’t allowed to make it onto the presidential ballot as a candidate for one of the two major parties. It was forbidden! Nevertheless, using his intelligence, shrewdness, and skills acquired from decades in business, Mr. Trump managed to do a broken-field run through the political minefields and achieve the unthinkable.
And now we are afforded the delicious irony of seeing him use the powers of the Imperial Presidency — so lovingly enhanced by Barack Hussein Obama — to dismantle the entire Progressive enterprise. President Trump is not permitted to do what he does, but he is doing it anyway. And will no doubt continue to do so for the rest of his term, or until the Deep State has him droned.
I’ve never seen anything like what is happening right now in the USA. There hasn’t been a Jacksonian moment like this since — well, since Andrew Jackson.
Donald Trump is not a conservative; he is a populist and a nationalist. But he is in tune with the average American, and the average American is conservative in his opinions. Thus the new president is acting more conservatively than one would expect from even purportedly conservative Republicans. Ronald Reagan could only dream of doing some of the things that President Trump is doing now. And Mr. Trump has enacted more of the conservative agenda in a single week than George W. Bush managed to do in eight years.
Regardless of how long all of this continues, the political and cultural landscape has been permanently changed. There will be no return to pre-2016 conditions. By doubling down in their attempt to stop Donald Trump, the mainstream media have exposed themselves as shameless liars and propagandists. They will never regain the trust of the people, not in their present form. The alternative media have stepped in to provide new channels through which information can flow. The reach and influence of the MSM will continue to decline.
And for the first time since World War Two, the average American has been given a taste of what it’s like to have a president who carries out policies he approves of. Just think — a president who is willing to throw “climate change” into the dumpster of history! And stick it to the UN! And build a wall on the southern border! How refreshing!
These were policies that voters always wanted, but never got from any president of either party. These actions always could have been done, but never were. People have felt the winds of real change blowing across the land, and are unlikely to forget the sensation anytime soon.
So savor this Jacksonian moment while it lasts. It’s a rare privilege to live in a time of such immense changes.
Dymphna is the resident expert on Andrew Jackson in our household (at least compared with me), so she may chip in later with more details on the parallels between 1829 and 2017.
However, there’s one thing everyone should remember: If Donald Trump is truly a Jacksonian president, he will abolish the Federal Reserve.
Now there’s something to look forward to!