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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527: I’m Toast

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I am embarking on a new phase of life. At age fifty-mumble, mumble, I have determined that I will marry. A man I met online. Whom I have yet to meet face-to-face. Stop screaming. Yes, I know. I really, really do know. I do hear what my friends and family have had to say and their concerns are valid. They are valid. I am taking my time, and being careful – as is he.

I have learned in a year and a half of living alone for the first time since I ….for the first time ever, that I do just fine living alone. I have hobbies. I go to the gym, I cook decent meals. I read books and see movies. I chat with friends, and socialize with them, too, on occasion. I have discovered I rather like myself, and we have become such good friends that I like being with just me rather a lot. So, why marry at all?

Toast is the metaphor for me to help explain this choice (to you and to my friends and family). I like toasted bread. I prefer toast that is like my single life: dry whole wheat. Nutritious, healthful, low-calorie, calm, plain. Not boring plain, tasty plain. When it is plain, I can add jam, honey, or syrup, peanut butter or Nutella now and then, if I choose – just like my single life and its occasional, special treats. Otherwise, I prefer the plain, dry whole wheat toast. I like it.  Often, while I am reading, I will toast a slice and consume it without even hardly noticing it, except for the satisfying crunch.

Toast with butter, however, is different. It is rich, complex, full of flavor. Buttered toast is unable to be consumed absently while otherwise engaged in reading my latest fiction selection. It demands my whole attention, that toast, because if you don’t pay close attention to it, it will drip melted butter down your fingers all the way to your elbow, sometimes messily dripping off to stain my tidy slacks or my nice, clean dress. Toast with butter is married life. It can be messy and untidy, but the experience of having it makes dry whole wheat pale in comparison. Yes, it demands your attention and effort in ways that single living does not. But the richness of married life, with an honest, loyal, and committed partner, is what I’d rather have, thanks just the same. And I can still add the occasional toppings when I like to buttered toast – it isn’t just butter only forever and ever. Occasionally, just for fun (for a day) or when necessary, I can even have it plain again. 

The process of creating a secure, stable married relationship begins with communication, and that can and does happen online in many of the identical ways that it happens face-to-face. Yes, there are people who misrepresent themselves online (which admittedly facilitates that deception somewhat), but the same thing happens all too often in the face-to-face situation as well. We have had months of conversation, and will have months more, before we meet. In a public place. 🙂 After all, he does not know 100% if I have represented myself honestly and accurately, either.

I have also given much thought lately to the centuries-old tradition, still extant today, of arranged marriages, where the families decide and often bride and groom meet face-to-face only after the vows are spoken and the papers are signed. Many of those marriages actually do work. There isn’t necessarily a lot of evidence that our modern notions of how things are supposed to be done is the better way. Commitment is commitment.

Either way, I’m toast.

504: Wedding Cake

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I am sorry, but I absolutely do not believe the hoopla surrounding bakeries making wedding cakes, or ANY private business of any sort doing anything they would rather not do. Can we say common sense? I have been voting with my feet over shoddy service at businesses large and small for DECADES now, and have never once required the services of a lawyer to do it.

If you are a business employee, and have religious convictions that interfere with providing services that the company routinely offers – get another job. I should be able to purchase services the company offers, even if you are the employee filling my prescription, or ringing up my pork chops, regardless of your personal convictions as an employee.

If it is your private business, however, that’s different.

Personally, I would bake a cake for a gay person, because I am called to love people. I am not called to love or support their behavior or beliefs. I have baked cakes for Muslims, because I respected them as people. I won’t bake a cake that celebrates ISIS, or Islam, for that matter. Same thing for a same-sex marriage. I don’t support that, either – not that a marriage is in the same category of “belief no-nos” as ISIS is. But for you as a human being: gay, Muslim, black, white, Jewish, special needs, green and purple polka-dotted?? No problem. If you take my cake and serve it during Eid, or at your wedding to your same-sex partner, that is your choice.

This cannot be the most important issue of modern life. In fact, it is my considered opinion that it isn’t an issue at all.

Anyway, are you seriously considering serving a cake to your friends and family that you FORCED someone to bake for you? Are you NUTZ? EEEEUUUWWWWwwwwww………………