A kick in the pants to revisionist historians who rely on the public’s poor understanding of the past to try to score political points. And an equal kick to those in power who gobble up the misinformation and repeat it, regardless of whether or not they know they’re spreading falsehoods.
We’re not sure which camp state Sen. Dennis Linthicum, R-Klamath Falls, falls into, but he reminded us this week that some people are content to rearrange history to fit their particular narrative.
For instance, that the Three-Fifths Compromise was a power grab by northern states.
Linthicum, a former Klamath County commissioner and 2014 candidate for the 2nd Congressional District who ran on the platform that he was a “true Conservative,” made the preposterous claim during a Senate floor debate about changing the way Oregon directs its electoral votes in the presidential election.
The history books are written by the victors, as they say, and there’s room for interpretation about the motivations and outcomes of the past. But Linthicum’s assertion is ludicrous and dangerous.
The Three-Fifths Compromise was a response to Southern states’ intent to count African-American slaves as people when it came to adding representation in Congress, but as property when it came to everything else, including voting and constitutional rights. Meeting in the middle, they decided every five African-American slaves were to be counted as three people for the purpose of the census.
It’s appalling to our sense of justice 230 years later, and the ongoing dehumanization likely further stalled emancipation. But it was a compromise that gave Southern states — soon to become Confederate states — outsized power of representation without requiring just treatment of its citizens.
Linthicum’s theory is a piece of the pro-Confederate narrative, where slavery is a minor piece of the story rather than a defining evil that our country is still grappling with.
A kick in the pants to the tax scammers taking advantage of vulnerable Americans trying to do their civic duty.
Paying taxes is like casting a ballot or showing up for jury duty — it can be a chore, but it’s for the greater good of society. So as tax day (quickly) approaches, we’re especially angered by those who pose as the IRS or charitable organizations to bilk people out of their money.
It’s worth remembering all year long, but if you receive unsolicited contact from someone claiming to be from the IRS or other federal agency, be extremely wary. Don’t click on email links or give personal information over the phone. Contact a professional for guidance if you’re unsure.
Identity theft remains a rampant problem, and grifters look for any opportunity to gather personal information for nefarious use. Don’t fall for it.