Jewish World Review
April 12, 2006
/ 14 Nissan, 5766
Selling our souls for cheap labor
155 years ago we had an "immigrant" problem.
It didn't happen in one or two days, but over four centuries.
Foreigners, mainly Africans, captured like animals in native countries, chained and stacked to the bowels of large ships, then sold off as oxen for the free work they and their children could provide plantation owners and businesses for infinity.
They were bred like cattle, kept uneducated, and, at times, used for the sexual pleasure of their "owners".
Their humanity was confiscated, subordinated, and subjugated to a degree that there are ramifications in their family life, sense of culture, security in their citizenship, and acceptance more than 145 years after their emancipation. Assimilation has progressed but the wounds are still evident, as aired by Oscar winner, "Crash".
Slavery is as old as man, not exclusive to any one race, or religion (Jews spent 400 years doing the bidding, suffering and dying by the scepters of many Pharaohs, something we'll be commemorating this week.) and still exists as I write this.
SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN TO GET A LEG UP
Specific to America, it wasn't that everyone was hunky dory with the situation. The 1850's saw a rise in the Abolitionists movement, started in 1775, 85years before the Civil War. It culminated in the election of Abe Lincoln as president. He demanded an end to the South's threats of succession, based on their slave-owning tradition.
Maybe Lincoln wasn't the most sympathetic about releasing slaves, but saw it as something that in and of itself, could destroy what he called the "Grand Experiment".
He refused to compromise, even under the advice of some of his closest friends and cabinet members.
When the South forced the surrender of Fort Sumter and enticed four more slave states to secede, Abe stood firm in his demands that the South withdraw and dismantle the Confederacy.
We lost 600,000 Americans during that war, the highest in all of the USA's wars to date.
The result was a saved Union, freed slaves, and one dead but beloved president.
THE HIGHEST PERCH HAS THE STEEPEST FALL
When broken down, slavery is about an economic model of cheap labor by people that exploit weaker groups.
Slave owners put themselves on the moral pedestal by rationalizing that the slaves were inferior savages, unable to care for themselves, and better off in chains than the freedom they are obviously incapable of living in.
Slave owners wasted a whole generation of young Americans for their false pride. What should have been evident in the first place came as a result of stubborn arrogance, greed, and evil tradition.
It was all about the cheap labor.
It still is.
REALITY IS SO WONDERFUL THE USA MAY SOON TRY IT
Today the issue isn't slavery. Mexican immigrants have poured over the border because they yearn for better opportunities. Their mother government encourages the daily runs to America because $$ come flowing back, boosting Mexico's lax economy.
But, we have laws!
True but a government forfeits the right to execute a law that was ignored for the last 50 years.
America needs to decide a new immigration policy fairly and soon.
Fence the border where it can be, then arm it with troops where you can't.
I haven't even mentioned the terrorists we've probably let in or the risks of the Mexican Aztlans.
(We don't need another war. But we won't last as a country if we don't enforce our laws.)
Then decriminalize the Mexican Illegals that are here. Utilize guest worker programs; put them thru all the hoops to make them legal. (But do send back the criminals and security risks.) Make 'em pay taxes to America. Let them pledge allegiance to America. Let them fight for America. Put them in the back of the line to those hopefuls that applied legally. Let the Ameriwannabes know that US citizenship doesn't come cheap.
At least Immigrants and released slaves share one thing in common.
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JWR contributor Dave Weinbaum, originally from Chicago, is a businessman, writer and part-time stand-up comic. He resides in a Midwest red state. Comment by clicking here.
© 2005, Dave Weinbaum