"Who controls the past, controls the future, who controls the present, controls the past – George Orwell, from "1984"
"Operation Warp Speed" is the code name for America’s scientific, technological industrial and logistical programs required to develop a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.
President Trump envisions the safe production of 300,000,000 vaccine doses, enough to protect as many as 90% of Americans.
The most "promising prediction" for the availability of an FDA-approved, and effective, COVID-19 vaccine is during the first half of 2021.
This is only a 12-18-month time span since the emergence of the virus in China.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has stated any potential coronavirus vaccine may not provide long-term immunity like the polio vaccine.
Moreover, scientists and doctors warn "science demands patience" in the development and distribution of any new FDA approved vaccine. In the last 25 years, the FDA has approved the safe use of vaccines for only seven diseases.
Following the tragic death of George Floyd and the nationwide revival of the Black Lives Movement against police brutality and racial injustice, protestors and demonstrators throughout America have demanded the immediate removal of monuments, statues and symbols honoring Confederate Generals, U.S. Presidents and other American statesmen and politicians who owned slaves or who expressed racial bigotry and hate throughout America’s history.
Is Mount Rushmore now tarnished as an American historic national treasure? And what do we do with these American icons who represent the best ideas and ideals of the 21st century?
"The purpose of the (Mount Rushmore) memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation and unification of the United States with the colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt" said Gutzon Borglum, the American sculptor of the monument.
Of the four U.S. presidents honored and memorialized in stone on Mount Rushmore, both George Washington, the first President of the United States and a founding father and Thomas Jefferson, America’s third president and primary drafter of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, were native Virginians whose heritage included owning hundreds of slaves. Washington owned 317, and Jefferson owned more than 617.
The other presidents immortalized on Mount Rushmore include Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. Some claim Lincoln (our 16th president) was too slow in freeing all of America’s Slaves during the Civil War and Theodore Roosevelt, America’s 26th President, was a disciple of American Imperialism and gun boat diplomacy in the early 20th century.
Knowledge of "American presidents who owned slaves" was not a common subject taught in any school, college or university nor known by most Americans. The facts are this: Four out of the first five American presidents owned slaves while serving in office.
In fact, the general rule of American presidential history is that 10 out of the first 12 American presidents owned slaves! An unbelievable and unknown historical fact to our 21st century minds is that in the early years of the American republic, American presidents during their lifetimes and/or during their presidencies owned Slaves during the period between 1787-1850.
Conclusion: Why does America, after 220 plus years after its Declaration of Independence ("…a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal…") still possess the indelible imprints and marks of racial inequality and injustice? In 2020, America is still on its unending journey to embrace its eternal promise of democratic equality for all. While America’s ongoing democratic experiment will never end in a "perfect union", America will continue to strive to become one nation under the rule of law with equal justice for all. If America is to keep its eternal promise proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, America must continue to resolve its greatest national dilemmas of racial injustice due to its original sin of slavery.
Richard Weintraub, Esq. is a guest columnist for the Pocono Record