My point is that we remember figures from history in ways that forget the significant things about them or try to separate their accomplishments from their person. Harriet Tubman is a curious hero to the liberals in the ivy league schools and feminist movement. She was, as one writer put it, a black, Republican, gun-toting, veterans’ activist, with ninja-like spy skills and strong Christian beliefs. She has too many black marks on her to be a modern day liberal. She was, after all, a Republican and no liberal with his or her salt can possibly be a Republican. Even Obama raised concerns about the credentials of Abraham Lincoln so how could he unequivocally endorse Tubman? She was a gun toting woman in an age in which so many live in the fantasy that people do not kill people, guns kill people. She was an activist for veterans in an age when so many wish the military would disappear or morph into a social experiment. She was a spy in an age when cyber spying is considered a terrible problem (at least for those who do it against us) and we are uncertain of the right morality - personal privacy not to unlock a cell phone or to abandon the pretense of privacy and get all we can from it. Finally, perhaps her greatest offense, she was a Christian -- a militant, activist of a Christian woman intent upon bringing the Gospel to every person. Living in an age in which freedom of religion is being reshaped into mere freedom for private worship, how can we revere a woman who would argue with the liberal platform of any political party that would deny her the right to speak as a Christian and for Christianity in the public square?
Underneath all of this is that we pick and choose our heroes from the past but we sanitize the memory and either conveniently forget their foibles or use them to disqualify those whom we do not like. This may work to pick and choose whose images adorn our currency but this is not real history and it gives us as much a slanted view of ourselves as it does the people of our past. Harriet Tubman is a fine choice for our currency if we want to add new faces but in choosing her we must embrace the whole of who she was or her image is as fake as the images of others we revere but do not really know.