Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/2/2020, Part I: It’s “Know Your American History Day”! [Corrected!]

Good Morning, America!

The Ethics Alarms countdown to the Fourth—you know, that racist holiday celebrating white supremacy?—begins today, one of the truly epic dates in our history. Of course, those who find history upsetting because it makes them feel”unsafe” don’t know any of this stuff, making them pretty much useless citizens with their ability to understand current events stuck at an infantile level.

  • On July 2,  1776, The Second Continental Congress, assembled in Philadelphia, formally adopted Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee’s resolution for independence from Great Britain. The vote was unanimous, with only New York abstaining. Of course,  Richard Henry Lee was Robert E. Lee’uncle and a slave-holder, so we really shouldn’t remember him or his significance to our nation’s independence.

Never mind.

  • On July 2, 1839, enslaved Africans on the Cuban schooner Amistad mutinied, killing two crew members and seizing control of the ship, which had been transporting them to be slaves on a sugar plantation. This set in motion a series of events that ended with  the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, with only one dissent, that the Africans had been illegally enslaved and had  exercised a natural right to fight for their freedom.  Massachusetts Congressman  John Quincy Adams,  the sixth president of the United States from 1825 to 1829 who, like his father, was a passionate foe of slavery, served on the Africans’ defense team. With  financial assistance of abolitionists , the Amistad Africans were returned to their homes in West Africa.

They never teach this story in schools, but your kids can read about it here. Continue reading

Should Jimmy Carter Annoint Himself As The Best Former President Ever?

Last week, former President Jimmy Carter told NBC’s Brian Williams:

“I feel that my role as a former president is probably superior to that of other presidents’. Primarily because of the activism and the — and the injection of working at the Carter Center and in international affairs, and to some degree, domestic affairs, on energy conservation, on — on environment, and things of that kind. We’re right in the midst of the — of the constant daily debate.  And  the Carter Center has decided, under my leadership, to fill vacuums in the world. When — when the United States won’t deal with troubled areas, we go there, and we meet with leaders who can bring an end to a conflict, or an end to a human rights abuse, and so forth. So I — I feel that I have an advantage over many other former presidents in being involved in daily affairs that have shaped the policies of our nation and the world.”

Many commentators felt that Carter’s self-annointment as the best post White House POTUS was unseemly at best, immodest and ungracious at worst. Continue reading