by E.J. Manning
American politics has always had a difficult time dealing with slavery of all kinds, which descended from the roots of the founding of the nation. While Abraham Lincoln ultimately did his best to transcend the racism and abuse that has infected this nation. Lincoln commonly evidenced a soft spot for people when it was not popular. When Lincoln spoke out in public office (1856) against the continuation of national slavery, Illinois politicians accused him of “the most ultra abolitionism” in reaction to Lincoln’s verbage: “Your race are suffering, in my judgment, the greatest wrong inflicted on any people.” The media of day was hardly sympathetic either, evidenced by the Illinois State Register that proclaimed “his niggerism has as dark a hue as that of (William) Garrison or Fred Douglas.” Lincoln’s opposers, like unscrupulous Stephen Douglas, scoffed at Lincoln and the plight of slaves.
Yet, even Lincoln was hardly a favorite among abolitionists of the day. He was not a god. He wavered consistently, uncertain at to how to deal the plague of national sin. Such is the plight of national politics where human and civil rights are concerned, even today. After the election, Lincoln avidly supported the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, which gave full authority to apprehend slaves and to carry out slave-killing pledges by various parties of slavers. On the other hand, Lincoln was involved in colonization schemes of the day. Reacting to the racial fears of the time, Lincoln sought indirect opportunities for slave emancipation. Lincoln summoned a committee of free blacks (1862) from the District of Columbia to the White House. “You are cut off from many of the advantages which other race enjoy.” Lincoln told the members of the delegation that the black presence was to blame for the Civil War, lecturing them on their duty to persuade their people to emigrate to the coal mines of Central America. He urged them to go where they would be treated best.
The abolitionists were enraged by these comments and rampaged against Lincoln as missing the “spark of humanity.” Frederick Douglass called Lincoln a “genuine representative of American prejudice.” Douglass rightly attacked the “tardy, hesitating and vacillating policy of the President of the United States.” Lincoln defended himself by stressing the importance of timing and preparation, reasoning that the victims of racism were hated men. We don’t have a similar champion of human or civil rights in the United States today, despite notorious attacks on the civil freedoms of Americans across the board. Instead, this abuse is justified by carefully crafted manipulation by politicians and corporate powers that expect to benefit from money and authority behind the scenes to feather their nests.
In the corporate mind of fascist America, we still need slaves and serfs to serve the needs of the elite. They seek the restoration of the original Industrial America. In their minds, the American Experiment has failed them, and so, they have elected to subvert it entirely for another world order where a man is a dog. This greed and lack of respect for human beings is evidenced by the outsourcing of jobs wholesale from the nation that made so many corporations wealthy, in order to further pad their bottom lines. The same greed and lack of respect exists for those that fabricated and have continued to support the Bradley Amendment for Social Security, which advocates the use of Federal money to encourage the States to aggressively enforce child support by any means, using loopholes in civil law and promoting the using of debtor’s prison. In civil law, there is no professed innocence before guilt. That legal dogma only exists in criminal law.
As a result, the poorest of Americans are routinely oppressed without representation in a system that requires it to get anything approaching a “fair shake.” Slavery has returned to the nation through legal sanction, if it every really left to begin with. We still have the wisdom of ages that speaks against this abuse of power by the old writer of Lincoln’s Day, Horace Greeley: “Enslave a man and you destroy his ambition, his enterprise, his capacity. In the constitution of human nature, the desire of bettering one’s condition is mainspring of effort.” This observation is clearly more right than most American’s today care to acknowledge. The remnants of a middle class of Americans are distracted, grieved and fearful, carefully cultivated by the politics of 9/11. They are owned lock, stock and barrel by the company store, brainwashed by decades of corporate fascism, political favoritism and the lust for power.
The Battle Continues: Slavery and American Politics by E.J. Manning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
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