This weekend, on Jefferson Jackson Day, I called on Iowa Democrats to remove the name of former President Andrew Jackson from its premiere fundraiser the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner.
The ideals of Andrew Jackson no longer match the ideals of the Iowa Democratic Party. The Indian Removal Act, signed in 1830, was the most significant case of ethnic cleansing in the history of the United States. It lead directly to the "Trail of Tears" in which as many as 6,000 peaceful Indians died.
Jackson advocated for the Indian Removal Act, signed it, and saw it administered. His act of ethnic cleansing was not accidental, and reversed the compassionate policies of Washington and Jefferson that had been in effect for many years.
When we highlight a person such as Jackson as a proud part of our history, we conveniently forget that both parties can swing to the dark side. Yes, Jackson was a populist, but some of his populism was the worst kind of populism when it encouraged something like this to happen. As we criticize the Republicans for what we see as harsh policies towards minorities, we must insure that we never, ever return to the dark path of Andrew Jackson.