Slavery Sucks. All Forms Of Slavery, That Is — Including The “Subtle” Ones…

Slavery has been a thing homo sapiens do (we don’t know if any other human species did it) since we figured out we could force someone else to work for free. Slavery, in its essence, is stolen labor.

Yes, it’s a stolen life. But, from the point of view of the enslaver, the goal is to steal the labor above all. You can’t steal too much food or sleep — the slave will die. The only other cost basis for a slave is output — work. Take away the raw costs of feeding, clothing and housing the slave, the profit derived from another human (other than their raw materials) is their work. Slavery wants THAT for free.

But there are other forms of slavery where, in essence, a free person gives away their “work” to the person (or organization) who will absolutely enslave them. Employers do it with the contracts they force employees to sign. Credit card companies do it — so do time share companies and gyms. America does it with the way we handle health care (how many people stay in jobs they hate just because they need the employer-provided health care?) Religions do it especially. If you want to belong, you have to surrender your reason and free thinking. Those will only “un-enslave” you from the slaver’s point of view.

About ten seconds of listening to any Trumpanista or republican defend the indefensible tells you — this person is a slave. They have surrendered all freedom of thought to a “thing”. To a person. They are as shackled to their ignorance as any slave ever was.

Except the real slave yearns to be free.

And that’s the difference — between people who’ve been enslaved and people who actually WANT to be slaves.

Ignorance is slavery.

Blind faith is slavery.

Personality of Cult is slavery.

Political indoctrination is slavery.

Trumpism is slavery.

I’ll toss in one more — for the Media’s sake — “Both Sides Do It” is slavery (okay — a lesser variety — but it IS a distinct sub-set of Ignorance). Both Sides Do It is lazy thinking that false equivalences things that do not in fact equal each other (like climate science and climate science denial — two points of view, not at all the same in their truthfullness). “Both Sides Do It” is soft slavery for the Media but hard slavery for the American Public — who continue to be enslaved by the RESULTS of the larger ignorance.

I trust I don’t have to explain all that to free people.

Advertisements

America Is Still Dealing With Its ‘Original Sin’: We Screwed Up On Slavery

If you really think about it — and you don’t have to think too hard — an awful lot of our current debate about racism in this country is as old as the Republic itself.  When the Founders of this Republic sat down to hash out what this country was and what it wasn’t, what they wanted it to be — and not be — they got bamboozled by the pro-slavery faction.

The fact that the Founders of this country couldn’t/wouldn’t outlaw slavery within our borders was a staggering mistake.  We fought a whole Civil War over it.  We’re battling over it still.

Either ‘All Men Are Created Equal’ or they aren’t.  There can’t be ‘Some Men Are Created MORE Equal’.  Well — there can — but that isn’t this country.

Except it is.  Because we screwed up at the start and allowed slavery to not only ‘be’ but — and here’s where slavery STILL haunts us — to guarantee slavery’s survival, we reverse-engineered how OUR version of democracy would ‘work’.  We empowered the slavers.  We empowered A MINORITY.

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that that minority is WHITE, CHRISTIAN & MALE.

Historically, White-Christian-Male Culture has hated and feared any culture that wasn’t IT.  It’s used the Law to punish ‘the other’ and their culture.  Quick ‘for instance’ – marijuana prohibition never had anything to do with marijuana being a health risk (it isn’t — not compared to thousands of OTHER things we do or imbibe LEGALLY) – it was about the fact that marijuana (unknown to White Christian Male Culture) was enjoyed by MEXICANS who brought it with them when they migrated (many after the Mexican Revolution started in 1910).

Those same White Christian Males hated marijuana even more when Jazz Musicians — code for Black Men – took to it enthusiastically.

If you look at the arguments we’re having today — and it’s heavy with racism — you can’t miss slavery’s echos all over the place.  What is VOTER SUPPRESSION if not white people trying to keep black people from voting?  That’s not occurring in a vacuum.  It’s White People resisting the fact that Black People (‘slaves’ to the republican mindset) are free, are citizens, and can vote.

Republicans despise the fact that Black People or Brown People or Asian People or ANY PEOPLE that aren’t them can vote.  They’ve seen for eons where this would lead — to the demise of White Christian Male Culture as the ‘dominant culture’ in America.  To the End of Slavery, really.

And Republicans desperately don’t want THAT to happen…

Never Mind ‘Winning The War’ If You End Up ‘Losing The Peace’ That Follows

History is littered with the lamentable stories of Cultures that ‘won wars’ but lost the subsequent peace that should have been the spoil of their victory.  Case in point: The Union (The United States of America) v The Confederate States of America.

Grant accepted Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.  The Civil War ending was the Union’s high water mark.  Turns out, it was all downhill from there.  From Lincoln’s assassination to Johnson’s presidency (and his impeachment) to the terribly botched Reconstruction to the rise of the Ku Klux Klan to Separate But Equal to & through every awful instance of America’s deep-seated racism — all born of a terrible, terrible mistake:  the refusal to deny SLAVERY at America’s inception — and IN America’s Constitution.

A lot of terrible things have flowed from the Civil War into our Timeline.  But the most damning and damaging comes via the Confederacy’s Ghost:  Having lost the War, it seemingly ‘rose from the dead’ and WON THE PEACE.  How’d it do that?

Usually, it’s the Victors who get to write the History.  But, perversely, that didn’t happen here.  Southern writers — or writers influenced by Southern sympathies — started using the term ‘States Rights’ to describe the Confederacy’s motives for attempting to destroy the Republic. Suddenly the rebels went from trying to destroy the country to being the ones ‘dedicated’ to making us ‘A more perfect Union’.

It’s utter bullshit, of course.  If you go back and read every Confederate State’s exit statement — not a one of them mentions (their supposed core principle) State’s Rights.  On the flip side — the Northern states do talk about State’s Rights — what they are and what they aren’t.  The NORTH cared about States Rights while events were happening, not the South.

And yet — the South latched on to States Rights as its means to re-write History — to paint themselves more favorably — and less honestly.  And damn if they didn’t get away with it.  We actually still debate, in this country, what caused the Civil War — as if, when the simple facts are presented, it wasn’t as obvious as a sledgehammer landing on your foot.  The word we’re all looking for is: “Slavery’.  That’s what caused the Civil War.  But Slavery was such an egregious error on our part that even ENDING IT did not end our problem with it — because we enslaved people UNLIKE us — and never made that fact up to them.  We never ‘owned’ our racism — and apologized for it — and made the people we enslaved ‘whole’ again.

We — the enslavers — did not do that.  Slavery remains an open issue on our books.  That happened because the Union, exhausted by its war win, left the storytelling part of the exercise to the war’s ‘losers’.  They LIED about their story.  They pitched a completely FALSE NARRATIVE.  We bought it…

And, today, an empowered, racist South holds outsized power over the country’s future direction.  Mind you ‘The South’ doesn’t just live ‘in the south’.  it’s spirit lives all over the country in small enclaves of tiny-minded, racist-and-misogynist thinking.  Their horse shit was allowed to thrive and prosper because it wasn’t cut down at its inception.

And every time the news media wonders aloud why White People are so angry, they’re adding to the South’s (and Conservatives’)  narrative that their rage is justified.  If we had just paid a little more attention at the start — when the first Southerner/Conservative spewed the words ‘States Rights’.

If we had just slapped them down — with our words — we wouldn’t be having ‘this’ problem now.

 

 

How About If, Today, We Declare Independence From BULLSHIT!

It seems a natural thing to want to be INDEPENDENT from — BULLSHIT.

Yet, look around you and ‘witness’ all those who are SLAVES to BULLSHIT — especially their own.

Turns out we all carry around our own bullshit like it was a box of LPs from College that we know we should get rid of but don’t.  Fer Pete’s sake — we don’t even own a record player any more!

Our Nation is deep in the throes of a Bullshit Addiction.  It came upon us so suddenly we didn’t even realize we’d become addicted.  Hell — we didn’t even know the stuff we were eating WAS Bullshit — and that it was so addictive.  I bet that was because it was our Bullshit.

But it’s not ‘The Nation” as a whole that has this problem — it’s a segment — the one that’s White, Christian and Male.  They’re the ones who’ve become so intent on shoving THEIR Bullshit down the rest of the country’s throat. They believe that their culture — White, Christian & Male — is such a superior culture that it transcends even REALITY.  They believe that their extreme, Jesus-hating brand of Christianity — IS Christianity.  And they believe it is their purpose to impose that abomination on a country (ironically) founded on principles that specifically opposed what these Christians are doing.

America — conceptually — is a product of The French Enlightenment — of a period of explosive intellectual thought, all of it reveling in the idea that Man is, in fact, not bound by some Man Creature In The Sky.  The Founders of our country saw the promise (and peril) in giving the citizens of this new nation previously unimaginable freedoms — just for being ‘who’ they are:  Americans.

Part of the process of becoming a Great Nation is ‘mythologizing’ your origins and your original players to the point where they become abstractions that shorthand who you are as a nation.  George Washington is equal parts real human and abstraction.  The abstraction has become our Foundation Myth.

While White, Christian, Males of English Descent held the reins of power at the Nation’s founding, they did not represent the makeup of the population.  The idea that America is ‘A White, Christian Male Nation’ run by White Christian Males was never the Truth. It started as bullshit and caused us to undermine the Greatness of our own Concept:  We instilled SLAVERY in our Constitution.  One of the greatest human documents ever produced was compromised by a BULLSHIT belief that some humans are, in fact, NOT equal.

That, of course, is BULLSHIT.

Time has come to call it what it is — to call ALL OF OUR BULLSHIT out for ‘being’ BULLSHIT — and vow, as a Nation — to do everything in our power to see it for what it is.

On this Independence Day — I hope you’ll all join me (the Americans anyway) to vow to remove BULLSHIT from our diet.  To refuse to allow it at our tables.  To ‘conveniently forget’ to invite them to pool parties.

Let’s put a moratorium on Bullshit and promise each other to refuse, going forward, to get suckered in by ANYTHING that comes flying in from that homicidal, hopped up on hatred folks who call themselves ‘Right’ Wing.

Never has a word been more painfully ironic…

 

 

America: ‘Died Of A Theory’?

I’m a History Geek.  Among the History topics that Geek me out most is The Civil War — you know, that ‘thing’ we fought for ‘States Rights’ according to Revisionist (Southern) History but really fought cos SLAVERY.

Ken Burns’ ‘Civil War’ series is Nirvana.  The first time I heard David McCoullough’s exquisite baritone caressing the letter home by Union soldier Sullivan Ballou the day before he died at the first Battle of Bull Run, I wept openly.  Mr Ballou was an ordinary man from New England — well educated lawyer and politician with a bright future.  His eloquence in the face of his own Mortality is… it’s enough to make you weep.

Here’s the text and a clip…

July 14, 1861
Camp Clark, Washington

My very dear Sarah: The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days — perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more …

I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution. And I am willing — perfectly willing — to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt …

Sarah my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me unresistibly on with all these chains to the battle field.

The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them for so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood, around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me — perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar, that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name. Forgive my many faults and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often times been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness …

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights … always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again …

 

Anyway — One of the Interview subjects whose views on the subject forms a kind of ‘backbone’ for the whole series is Shelby Foote.  Mr Foote references in one of the episodes an explanation by a Civil War contemporary of ‘what  happened’ to America — what caused this ‘disagreement’ that resulted in a split between nationalist factions?  I can’t recall the name of the person Mr Foote referenced (and I ain’t digging for it right this second…) but the way this person put it was perfect; he said that America — as a country in pursuit of an ideal instead of a bloodline — had ‘…Died of a theory.’

‘Died of a theory’.  Is that not us in an actual ‘nutshell’?

Great concept, America — self-government seems to work for the most part.  Too bad about the morons and dunderheads who can’t handle self-government cos they’re too GREEDY & CORRUPT & STUPID.

When the freedom to choose what we say, how we vote, how we govern ourselves gets undermined — by people who hate it — it’s incumbent on US to step up and Do The Right Thing.  To preserve what people all around the world have seen as a literal Beacon of Hope.

This Is Not A Drill, America.

Don’t wait for the shit to get deeper.  After this, it’s ‘Man The Lifeboats!’