Social Media Platforms should be places of discussion leading to an informed electorate. Usually however they are poo flinging arenas, places where we set aside our humanity and become a ravenous howler monkeys bent on destroying one another from our little terminals of judgement and misunderstanding. Enter a post with President Obama and a meme stating that he will go down in history as the most divisive and racist President in history:
Normally I just chuckle, but not this day. This family member is a smart and articulate human being with an advanced degree and the ability to determine fact from fiction.... normally. So I jumped in. Here is my response:
No way that Obama is the worst president in history. Sorry. Andrew Jackson was a way worse President. Richard Nixon, worse. Grant worse. Hoover worse. One could even argue that Bush Jr's Weapons of Mass Destruction catapulted him into a worse position than Obama. The worst President in my opinion:
William Henry Harrison Sr. Died 31 days into his presidency from Pneumonia he contracted because he wanted to show everyone in Washington what a badass war hero he was? He gave the longest Inaugural Address outside in the rain without a hat or coat, then proceeded to party (3 different inaugural balls.) long into the night, at great expense.
He ran on a platform to undue the "spoils" system of executive patronage, upon election he then not only failed to remove the system but then adopted it himself.
Then before he could finish his work, he died. This all happened before it was official that the Vice-President would assume the duties of the President for the remainder of the term. So Harrison's death caught everyone off guard; no one was sure what to do. This in-turn sparked off a huge debate, in congress whether they were to have emergency elections or if they would simply make the VP the new president. Before a decision could formally be made by the supreme court; several members of congress acted and swore in John Tyler, who then days later renounced the party that helped win him the election, and swear him in. Tyler switched sides to the opposition party. Harrison, a President who's reckless choices lead to his own death squandering the votes cast for him. A president who's own commitment to fulfilling his campaign promises was only stronger then his VP choice lead to a power seizure and an amendment to the constitution.
And as for the most racist.... well that's actually quantifiable. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison actually owned slaves. In my estimation the most racist President is probably a three way tie.
1. Thomas Jefferson owned more than 500 slaves and allegedly fathered multiple children that he did not claim. Also wrote the Declaration of Independence that states all "men are created equally......" it was just a given that he meant people other than women, Indians, and blacks. That is casually racist on a level that is difficult to process.
2. Andrew Jackson was actually a noted slave trader, not just an owner, but he used to sell them for profit. So many presidents inherited slaves with their estates and many freed their slaves with their wills. Jackson chose to go a different path, one of human trafficking. When you combine that with his history as a war criminal you get the picture why he was the President that coined the term, "to the victor go the spoils," regarding his own election!!!!!!!
3. James Madison actually is the asshole that penned the 3/5ths compromise which counted slaves as 3/5's human.... for tax purposes only. They didn't get 3/5ths of a vote, or any other right it was just so that slave owners could be properly taxed for their ownership... How much is a human life worth to this guy? 2/5's more than a slave's, that's how much!!!!
For me its hard to call the winner here but clearly Obama cannot be the most racist President. He might have some racist opinions but what did he do that actually competes with any of the three listed above? Nothing.
Divisive.... no that honor goes to one particular president alone. Abraham Lincoln. I'm a fan of Abe but he crushes all competition for Divisiveness. Just his election was enough to trigger the Secession. Lincoln ran a campaign of malice toward slave owners and on a platform of Abolishment with such fervor 7 states said, "fuck it I'm out." Instead of calling for those states to meet and discuss terms and possibly deal with the issue diplomatically His first executive action was to order volunteers for an army for the capture Ft. Sumter, which then drove another 5 states to the Confederacy.
How many states elected rebellion when Obama was elected? none.
Now if the graphic said, "killed more American Citizens with drones, while ignoring any semblence of a trial by a jury of their peers." I would agree. If the graphic said, "willingly oversaw the expansion of the worlds largest spying apparatus and made active efforts with executive action to undermine privacy as a basic human right," I would agree. If it pointed out his presidency had the largest number of journalists prosecuted regarding whistle-blowing (more than Richard Nixon even) I would back that.
So the above graphic is laughably wrong. In fact the only way one could believe that it is true would be to ignore the majority of American History.
My family member's friends were pretty much galvanized in their opinions already, so they were kind enough that no evidence I could offer would change their minds. This was when I decided to stop with the history lesson and back slowly away from the people with pitchforks. There is a dangerous lesson here, we are as a country only be as smart as our weakest link. I wish I could say this is an isolated incident, but it is not, and it happens on both sides of every argument. People have forgotten that its acceptable to change their minds after new perspectives are considered.