The Fallacy of “Good” Slave Owners

America is a great country and therefore needed a great history, the one that existed just wouldn’t do. Christopher Columbus didn’t discover America, it was quite inhabited when he landed. Not only had the Indians been there long enough to have been considered Native Americans. Africans had visited American shores multiple times as indicated by Christopher Columbus and others.

Before Columbus: How Africans Brought Civilization to America

The biggest stain on the legacy of America is its original sin… slavery. Of the early Presidents of the United States, twelve owned slaves during their lifetime, eight while they served as President. Thomas Jefferson famously wrote that “all men were created equal” while having owned over 600 slaves over his lifetime and taking one for his long-term mistress at the age of 14. Even if you consider that a girl of that era might be considered a woman and not a child, someone you own cannot give consent. The potential penalty for saying no is too high; being sold away or even death. There is only one word to describe a master taking a slave for a sexual relationship which is rape.

Most of the revered “Founding Fathers” were slaveowners. John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Paine, and a few others were not. Fourteen of the twenty-one white men generally considered as the Founding Fathers owned slaves including; Ben Franklin, John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and George Washington. Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death,” while he simultaneously deprived slaves of theirs. He couldn’t even justify his own position which he admitted in a letter to John Alsop of the Society of Friends (Quakers). He shrugged off his ownership of slaves as a matter of convenience.

“Would any one believe that I am master of slaves by my own purchase? I am drawn along by the general inconvenience of living without them. I will not — I cannot justify it, however culpable my conduct.”

Given the fact that almost all of our early leaders held slaves captive, also bought and sold them. The men who the country needed to build up as heroes, had their flaws minimized or erased. The whole institution of slavery and the way it was practiced in America was literally “whitewashed,” made to seem not as bad as it was. Along with diminishing the heinous nature of slavery, the myth of the good slave owner was created and deemed applicable to almost all who owned them. That myth was born of necessity as the truth would not do.

One of the criteria that made one a good slave owner was whether they freed their slaves after death. Jefferson freed only two, one of whom paid him $200. George Washington freed his slaves after death (the only President that did) although his death did not free Martha’s slaves. She freed hers within a year as each slave had a great incentive to see her dead which would result in their freedom. George was therefore considered a good master. He happened to have notoriously bad teeth. His dentures were not made of wood as most stories say but of human teeth taken from his slaves we’re to believe he loved so much. Surely an important man like himself had greater need of those teeth than his slaves?

Thomas Jefferson may have done more to promote cruel practices related to slavery than any other American. He negotiated and fought for inclusion in the Constitution that the import of slaves from Africa wouldn’t end for at least twenty years, (Article One: Section Nine). People have spun this as an attempt to begin the process of ending slavery. In truth, it was a protectionist measure to increase the value of domestic slaves in areas with an abundance like his native Virginia and Maryland to the detriment of states like South Carolina who imported the bulk of their slaves. Jefferson’s policies promoted the forced breeding of slaves with the systemic rape of females whose children were ultimately sold to stock Southern plantations. The actual end of slavery didn’t take place for fifty years after the act by President Jefferson ended the International Slave Trade. That act enriched him far more relatively than any current violations of the Emoluments Clause.

Before Columbus: How Africans Brought Civilization to America

The best case for a good slaveowner among the founders would be John Jay. Jay’s father, Peter, was one of the largest slaveowners in New York. As early as 1777, John Jay proposed the abolition of slavery there. He helped establish the New York African Free School which he supported financially during his lifetime. When Governor of New York, he signed a bill that established that children of slaves would be born free in 1799. Yet he profited from the slaves he owned, and as well as he may or may not have treated them, they lacked freedom. His slaves could earn their freedom through good works and of course, providing a sufficient return on their investment. He might not have been the worst slaveowner, may have been one of the best. But does that make him good?

“I purchase slaves and manumit them at proper ages and when their faithful services have afforded a reasonable retribution.”

The truth is that the curve on which slave ownership is measured goes only from bad to worse. No slave, under the best of circumstances was exempt from the possibility of being sold away, separated from their families, at the whim of their master. They were subject to having their mates selected for them to breed the best slaves for sale or forced to submit to their master’s desires. They could legally be beaten, or killed, and had to live each day of their life carrying that weight. America typically only scratches the surface of the history of it becoming a great nation. It was slavery that made much of that possible yet slavery is a painful sore whose scab dare not be ripped off. There never was such a thing as a good slave owner, only some not as bad as the rest.

The Myth That Donald Trump Is The Exception And Not The Rule

Former President George H. W. Bush passed away last night at the age of 94. While listening to pundits describe his legacy, what they omit is just as important as what they describe. Some of them inevitably make comparisons to the current occupant of the White House, Donald J. Trump. They talk about the late President’s grace and empathy, placing him in stark contrast with Trump who possesses neither. Yet Bush helped lay the foundation that allowed a President Trump to be. It was the same roadmap that every recent Republican President followed to get to the Oval Office. The Southern Strategy.

For all the negative things that can be said about Donald Trump, in some ways he’s little different than those who came before. Before Muslim bans, Mexican rapists, and black thugs… there were Ronald Reagan’s welfare queens and Bush’s Willie Horton. Trump gets credit for expanding fear of black and brown men to the midwest. He didn’t invent the strategy.

Donald Trump is every bit the racist, xenophobic, homophobic bigot he’s made out to be. Let’s not pretend though, that the party that has institutionalized voter suppression and utilized fear of minorities as a means to hope to win elections with a dwindling percentage of the populace, isn’t complicit with his values. 49 Republican Senators were ready to give a lifetime appointment to the Federal bench to Thomas Farr, who wrote voter suppression laws designed with “surgical precision” to restrict black votes. Only because of Jeff Flake for reasons of his own and the lone black Republican Senator, Tim Scott drew a line he would not cross, did Farr not yet get his appointment. In January when the Republican Senate majority grows by two, Farr may be nominated again and breeze through. This is who they are.

Donald Trump is a vile creature, yet he did not evolve in a vacuum. He frankly isn’t bright enough to have developed these policies on his own. Making healthcare and housing less affordable, favoring corporations over people, giving tax breaks to the rich. Trump didn’t invent those, he’s just doing what they’ve always done.

There are good things that can be said about George H.W. Bush, all the networks are spending all day reminding us. We can remember those without forgetting his other legacy. The fear of a black man that Republicans since have honed to an art form.

Trump Word For The Day: Subpoena

The New York Times reports that Special Counsel Bob Mueller has officially subpoenaed records from Donald Trump involving his businesses, some involving Russia. Despite Trump’s claims during the campaign that he had no business interests in Russia and was has, “no dealings with Russia.” It came out last year that his lawyer, Michael Cohen, had pursued on his behalf a “Trump Tower Moscow” and was negotiating with a sanctioned Russian Bank.

What this means to Trump is that the investigation will not be over for months as it will take time for Trump to comply with the request and more time for the Special Counsel to review them. It means that despite Trump’s warning that his finances were outside the purview of the investigation. They are looking very closely at his dealings and not only how much Trump is invested in Russia, but how much Russia is invested in him including money laundering and bribes.

In the “Word For The Day,” we’ve gotten away from the Urban Translation but management feels it’s time for a return.

Urban Translation: Mueller is coming for Trump’s ass. He’s turning over every rock, looking in sewers, and going everywhere he might expect to find a snake. He’s following the money and the little bitch that wouldn’t release his taxes is wishing right about now he’d never run for President. He and his sons have made statements over the years about his access to Russian money and the chickens are about to come home to roost!


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