604: Slavery in modern times

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Not all Civil War monuments celebrate slavery – many memorialize the Americans who served and died, whose relatives raised the money to erect a memorial in their honor, as a remembrance of lives lost in armed conflict. There is nothing stopping others (whose views and memories are different) from raising the funds and erecting new memorials that reflect their differing views. There is room to coexist.

I come from that part of the USA that has a unique history. We are the only American citizens to suffer defeat in armed combat – if you don’t count the recent military “actions” that were never rightfully called a war, even though Americans also fought and died there in armed conflict, too.

Georgia (and her Confederate sisters) was defeated. Yankees still to this day call what we did in those times as “treason,” although no Southerner calls what we did (honorably seceding from the federal union), treason. Many southerners fought that war for state’s rights, since many (most) southerners were not wealthy enough to even own slaves – what we are continually told (lectured) was the sole cause of that conflict. If the North thought the South committed treason when they seceded, perhaps freeing the slaves was not the sole reason they fought, either. Especially considering that when they freed the slaves, they did not promote them to equal status even in their own self-righteous northern homelands. Even into the 1960’s, a white boarding house owner in Green Bay, Wisconsin (among other northern states) was not allowed, by law, to rent a room to a colored man, even if he *was* a team member of the Green Bay Packers that they were all ostensibly so proud of.

My Wisconsin-born husband tells me gleefully about when the other sports fans disdainfully referred to his Green Bay Packer fans as “cheeseheads,” and how they  took that slur and made it a point of pride for the Packer nation. And he completely and willfully ignores how the term “Rebel” came to be a point of pride for oppressed Southerners during the very long years of Reconstruction that the entire region suffered under the hands of rapacious Yankees and the low-life Southern-born who sucked up to them, and who should have been raised better. Blacks like to claim that the repercussions of slavery still resonate today – and that, to a large extent, is still true for Southern people of whatever skin color.

LEGAL slavery ended in the USA as a result of the defeat of the Confederacy – and states’ rights died there, too. Slavery in modern times is primarily economic (overlooking the recent horrific actions of the Islamic State). Modern slaves are those people who, through economic need, are forced to submit to providing their labor for less than a living wage. I’ve been hearing a lot (from liberals, primarily) about how illegal aliens are beneficial to the USA economy and their illegal status should be overlooked and forgiven because they take the jobs no American citizen will take.

Well, DUH.

What do you think the South’s primary reason for importing forced labor (slaves) into the cotton and tobacco fields (labor-intensive cash crops) was, idjits? They were imported to perform necessary work that few free Americans would take, because the work was not worth the wages. That legal slavery wasn’t a whole lot different from the sharecropping that white and black Americans did, and it wasn’t much different from laying those railroad tracks across the West that the Asians did, and it wasn’t much different from the coal mining that the Irish immigrants and poor whites did. It was economic slavery. And now, in your enlightened liberal minds (ha!), you want to PROMOTE economic slavery for a whole new crop of human beings who happen to be primarily Hispanic.

Yeah right – we can be SOOOOOO proud of our self-righteous humanitarian progress in the USA, can’t we?

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577: Maturing with Age

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I hope everyone is aware that growing bigger and older does not equate with becoming a mature person. Achieving the age of majority and being considered a legal adult has absolutely nothing to do with making wise decisions, or living your life in a mature, healthy manner.

Maturity is coming to grips with yourself, all of yourself, the good, strong parts that you like and celebrate, and the shameful weaknesses that you have struggled to overcome, and that you may still struggle to overcome – but at least you have named them, and in so doing, you have robbed them of their power in your determination to rid them from your character and life. You can look back at your personal history and come to some sort of peace with it, knowing and accepting that you were not perfect, and that you are no longer that person, thank God.

Part of that maturing is understanding that even if you could go back and change things, that you would not do so. This is because you made the decisions you made thinking they were the best ones you could make. Looking back with the 20/20 vision of hindsight, I can see that decisions I once made for the greater good (not only for me, but for those I was responsible for) didn’t work out as I had hoped that they would. I could not have known that looking forward -no one could have known that. Thus, I would not change them. They helped me grow and mature into the person I have become, who is not the person who others knew years ago.

My conscience is clear. I made my apologies to those I  wounded along the journey (both deliberately and unintentionally). What they do with my sincere regret is not in my hands. They will have their own maturing to do, as they come to terms with their own flaws. All humans have them.

I am responsible for me. I always have been, even when I blamed others in my youth, arrogance, and ignorance.

Maturity is a hard-won badge of honor. Not everyone gets there.

406: The Good About Islam…sort of

I am compelled to speak up on behalf of all of the Muslims I know, following the post I just made describing the scriptures of the Koran. I don’t know any radical Muslims. Every single one I have met (hundreds upon untold hundreds), so far as I know and have experienced, is a kind, decent, family-oriented person who has basic respect for other humans, regardless of their differing faiths. These are the majority of Muslims world-wide.

I want to share some American history with you. In the mid-to-late 1700’s the vast majority of Americans were content living under the rule of the British king. A small minority of radical terrorists (freedom fighters??) are responsible for the American Revolution that established the United States of America. That is FACT. Therefore, taking that and other examples from history, it is entirely irrelevant that the majority of Muslims are peace-loving, when they will not, themselves, muzzle the rabid dogs amongst themselves, and declare once and for all that Mohammad’s teachings that call for the death of all non-Muslims are outdated and are hereby, once and for all, abolished.

What boggles my own mind is how can someone peaceful belong to a religion whose scriptures so clearly call for war (violent, killing jihad) with the rest of the entire world? Not to CONVERT the world by persuading others that Islam is the superior religion, but by brutal, outright murder. I could respect conversion. That is an individual’s choice. That is NOT how Islam is going to take over the world, by persuasion. That is not how they are doing it this very minute in countless countries they already rule. There, they are systematically exterminating all who are not Muslim, in much the same way that Jews, gypsies, Catholics, homosexuals, and those considered “mentally deficient” were exterminated in the mid 1940’s.

WWII was supposed to be “never again.” What is the truth is that it “never ended.”

311: Dividing Up a Life

When my husband and I left the United States three years ago to accept a teaching position in the lovely country of Morocco, in northern Africa, we sold all our belongings that were salable, and packed up in totes the items that we did not donate or give away. This included things like family pictures, mementos and other clothes that would not fit in the two 50 pound suitcases we were each allowed by the airlines just three short years ago. NOW they allow you ONE – maybe…some even charge for the one.

Today I stopped off at my dad’s to sort through those crates once again. This is because I am on my way to Panama for a two-year contract, and this is the first time I’ve been home in that whole three years, for a short ten days, before I depart again.

Wow. It hurts. I am sorting through a lifetime of memories, and all of it fit into about twelve tote boxes. After I ruthlessly sorted again, it all fit into just four. I also set aside, as I was sorting and throwing out, bags or boxes of mementos for each of our (combined) six children – his four and my two. Things like their old school report cards, vacation photos, certificates, awards, letters, cards and pictures they had drawn or painted. Their bronzed baby shoes.  There were also their baby clothes, and their father’s baby clothes – the things their biological dad, now passed away, wore as a baby. Priceless things – irreplaceable things, and things that just won’t go in my luggage. *sniff*

There are our Renaissance Festival costumes (what memories!), and ticket stubs to various special events we attended together, like the Atlanta Flames one and only National Hockey League play-off game. They have since abandoned Atlanta for colder climes, so there genuinely won’t be another one – ever.

My whole life – in four tote boxes. In January, I will visit again with empty suitcases so I can take with me the last of the last.

118: Family Stories

Some years ago, I sat in a living room and howled with laughter as one of my cousins related story after story about her parents, my great-uncle and great-aunt. Some months afterwards, she was killed in an automobile accident. All those wonderful stories, told in her special, humorous, actually hilarious style, are lost forever – except in my memories. I so very much wish I had been able to video-record those stories she told, both to remember her and my uncle and aunt.

On another occasion, my grandfather told some stories when we were gathered for Christmas. It was the last Christmas he spent with us, and again, those stories are lost forever, except in my memories. Same for my grandmother, and my great-grandfather and great grandmother on my father’s side, plus the grandparents on my mothers side, too. I never committed those stories to paper – or videoptape, and I should have done so.

My goal is to visit my mother and my father and record their recollections of these people, before I have lost them and all of their memories, too. I hope my children will value them as much as I will!