History Doomed To Forget Itself
The Last Minute Desperation of a Losing President
A desperate President Trump after learning he was sliding among women voters attempted a last minute kiss up to that section of the population by slapping American History in the face on the Centennial of the 19th Amendment for Women’s Right to Vote when he granted a posthumous pardon to Womens’ Suffrage pioneer Susan B. Anthony for “illegally voting”. (photo: thecut.com)
Miss Anthony is such an integral part of how this great nation became a beacon of Democracy, your author wrote a 2 part series about the life of the Womens’ Rights leader to honor the 200th Anniversary of her birth listed below:
Susan B. Anthony – Mother of the Aquarian Age & Beyond, Part I: The Female Aquarian of American Representation
The Centennial marking the ratification of the 19th Amendment of the Constitution was also the second day of the Democratic Party’s National Convention in which former First Lady Michelle Obama delivered an admirable speech that was heartfelt, genuine, and written by her own hand (unlike her successor who in her speech given at the RNC plagiarized the Former First Lady’s own words four years ago at this time). In affirming Joe Biden as the 2020 Democratic nominee for President, Mrs. Obama stated that the highest position in all the land was a “hard job” requiring a person to possess noteworthy attributes as a bare minimum. The least of the attributes she listed is my biggest source of contention for the man currently in the White House – “a devotion to facts and History“.
Time and again, President Trump has revealed his tremendous deficiencies not just in foreign diplomacy and current events, the man has also consistently displayed an appalling lack of knowledge of American History as well.
Let’s take a historical topic that is well familiar by most, World War II. While recently comparing the current pandemic to the previous global health crisis that occurred in 1918, President Trump revealed his unfamiliarity with the historic event by mentioning the incorrect year of 1917 being when it took place. Even more shocking the man clearly displayed his historical illiteracy regarding the Second World War when he erroneously stated the 1918 influenza pandemic “probably ended the Second World War” which in actuality happened some 20 years later in 1945 and for reasons other than a global health crisis..
And I guess the President shouldn’t be faulted for not knowing which countries fought against each other during the Second World War given he was unaware of when it actually took place. This could justify the President believing Italy was on our side not just during the War but all the way back to ancient Roman times when he received Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella to the White House this past October of 2019 while stating the following:
“The United States and Italy are bound together by a shared cultural and political heritage dating back thousands of years to Ancient Rome.”
Too bad both countries have only been in existence for 250 years and less.
Regarding the current case of historical outrage, I would like to refer to the second part of my series of articles on the life of Susan B. Anthony where I explain when President Trump first revealed his woeful lack of knowledge involving anything related to the Womens’ Rights leader:
“2017 was a rough year for Susan B. Anthony and her closest colleagues. Both she and one of her contemporaries made recent news at that time with both civil rights pioneers emerging from the same source – the President. It appears the nation’s current leader isn’t too well versed in American History, given during Black History Month in February of 2017 he referred to the abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass in the present tense and also presumed he had White House security clearance. A little over a month later during Women’s History Month in March of 2017 at a women’s empowerment panel at the White House, the President asked the attending audience “Have you heard of Susan B. Anthony?” then replied directly into his microphone “I’m shocked you’ve heard of her.”
A number of things have happened under Trump’s watch since 2017 such as his displaying a total lack of leadership skills during a global pandemic crisis as well as trials being held for his impeachment. But even so it seems that our Leader and Chief has been recently given a crash course in the historical subject of Susan B. Anthony and Womens’ Right to Vote but woefully was given only a partial lesson that he erroneously learned for the purpose of his own gain.
Over the course of this calendar year, Trump’s approval ratings have been steady declining, most especially with that section of the American population that factored the most with him winning the Presidency in 2016 – white women. And within that subsection of the population, the President has been focusing on a subgroup of white women as of late by referring to them using descriptive terms that are antiquated and clearly classist in origin – “white suburban housewives”
As a last minute attempt to sycophantically gain the favor of the women’s vote, Trump became suddenly involved with the founder of Womens’ Suffrage but for all the wrong historical reasons. On the day of the centennial of the 19th Amendment’s ratification, the President who recently asked if anyone knew who Susan B.Anthony was betrayed his disingenuous interest in the Womens’ Rights Movement by posthumously forgiving Susan B. Anthony for illegally voting in the Presidential election of 1872. He did this by taking it upon himself to officially grant the civil rights activist a Presidential pardon for her criminal actions.
Trump announced the following on August 18th:
“Later today, I will be signing a full and complete pardon for Susan B. Anthony,” the president said during a White House event. “She was never pardoned. Did you know that? She was never pardoned.”
But in light of your extensive historical illiteracy, Mr. President, did YOU know that Ms. Anthony neither asked for a pardon nor would she have ever wanted one in the first place? And to issue a pardon on your own accord just to be seen in a better light by your female constituents is nothing short of blasphemous to everything Susan B. Anthony fought so hard to achieve.
The 19th Amendment of the U.S.Constitution was passed in 1920, fourteen years following Susan B. Anthony’s death in 1906. The illegal activity Trump refers to was her taking an active role as a U.S. citizen exercising one’s right to vote in the Presidential election of 1872 between Liberal nominee Horace Greeley and Republican incumbent, President Ulysses S. Grant with Grant winning the race overall. Anthony and 14 other women cast their vote on November 5th that year in a barber shop in Rochester, New York. On November 28th all 15 women were arrested and jailed along with the voting officials who accepted their ballots.
Nearly every woman was released from jail after each had paid a fine $500. Nearly every woman with the exception of Susan B. Anthony who refused to pay such an exorbitant amount for something she believed she had an inalienable right to freely do.
Anthony was released from jail after agreeing to be put on trial. She proceeded to then give public speeches in every town within Monroe County, New York, the district where her trial was to be held and jurors were to be selected. Her speech was entitled “Is it a Crime for a U.S. Citizen to Vote?”.
To quote my series on Susan B. Anthony:
“…. when it did commence in June of 1873, the federal trial of United States vs. Susan B. Anthony made national news.
The federal judge, Ward Hart had recently been appointed to the Supreme Court but had never served as a trial judge, making the case at hand of “illegal voting” his very first to preside over.
The case was technically a trial by jury, despite the jury being comprised entirely of men and they, in turn, all being directed by the judge before the trial to provide a guilty verdict.
Ms. Anthony was informed by Justice Hart that since her case was a criminal trial, she was not allowed to speak until the verdict had been delivered.
The trial lasted three days in all. After both sides had deliberated on the second day, the judge provided his opinion about the case which was lengthily written out by hand. With another day left to go, Justice Hart had given clear indication that not only was he delivering his final opinion before a verdict had been reached by the jury, but that he had already determined the trial before it had even concluded.
On the third and final day of the trial, Susan B. Anthony was found guilty of illegal voting and was imposed a fine of $100. The judge then asked the criminal found guilty if she had anything to say to the court.
As a matter of fact, she did.
Here it must be mentioned that if there was one thing Susan B. Anthony had become more than accustomed to were men trying to deter/interrupt/stop/overtalk her while she was in the midst of delivering a public speech. Between being cut off after barely starting a speech she had prepared for the New York State Teachers’ Association to being physically barred from taking the stage at a national Temperance convention, Anthony was a seasoned pro at giving public speeches, no matter how tense the atmosphere or difficult the circumstances. One could almost feel the slightest bit of pity for the Pandora’s Box the judge with not an ounce of trial experience had unknowingly opened.
Standing fully upright, Susan B. Anthony proceeded to speak in what’s been described by Women’s Movement historian Ann D. Gordon as “the most famous speech in the history of the agitation for women’s suffrage” by lambasting the court with her defiant fury. Referring to the trial as “this high-handed outrage upon my citizen’s rights” Anthony then turned to the jury stating “you have trampled under foot every vital principle of our government. My natural rights, my civil rights, my political rights, my judicial rights, are all alike ignored”. She then turned to Justice Hart saying he had denied her a trial by jury since those selected were not her peers given the fact that among its jurors not one woman could be found .
Judge Hart repeatedly tried to prevent Ms. Anthony from talking any further by demanding she be seated which only resulted in his protests becoming ever more hysterically shrill and falling on deaf ears as Susan Anthony’s words became louder and slower, with her impromptu speech becoming even more infused with impassioned resolve.
Speaking until she felt satisfied to stop, the closing words of the criminal found guilty ended with her openly stating before the court:
“I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty.”
To which she kept her sworn promise.
Despite the trial of “United States vs. Susan B. Anthony” bringing women’s suffrage into the collective consciousness of the United States, another 48 years would pass before American women would be given the right to vote.”
Susan B. Anthony knew that if Womens’ Suffrage was to ever be taken seriously in the United States, it would require an act of Civil Disobedience otherwise seen as breaking the law which would entail incarceration followed by God only knows what afterwards. She also knew the only person who could feasibly pull off this “breaking the law through civil disobedience” business was none other than her solitary self.
To pardon a person who bravely faced the consequences of what she had fearlessly done so the world could take notice of a situation that was monstrously unjust negates the immense courage of Miss Anthony’s convictions. Viewed another way, the President wouldn’t dare officially forgive the civil rights activist Rosa Parks for breaking the Jim Crow law which mandated that a person of color must give up their seat of public transportation so that it could be taken up by any given white person. Parks’ act of defiance in the face of knowing she would pay the price for committing it is what brought her fearless nature to national prominence, and rightfully so.
Pardoning Miss Anthony for breaking the law due to her attempting to take an active role in her country’s future as one of its citizens through the act of voting condones a world long passed where people of color and women at large were considered only from the perspective of being the owned property of white men.
The President’s pardon of Susan B. Anthony is not an act of solidarity with the female citizens of this country, it instead is an act of desperation by a man who knows his Presidential legacy is doomed to soon be forgotten. A President who is soon to be relieved of a job he was never qualified to do, least of which is possessing a working knowledge of his country’s history and the men and especially women who ceaselessly toiled to make the United States the global superpower of a democratic nation it is today.
*Brad Kronen has written numerous books on the role Astrology plays in 21st century living. Kronen has also written works about his other passion which unlike the President, he knows his fair share of knowledge about – History, most especially the History of the Second World War. One of Kronen’s latest discusses the vital influence the Royal Family had over the morale of the British people as England experienced some of its darkest days better known as “The Blitz”. Entitled “For King & Country: The Wartime Windsors” it is available for purchase on amazon.com. Just click on the stained glass window of the Royal Family to see that book as well as see a complete listing of all of Brad’s published work: