I spent most of yesterday afternoon watching the history channel, and for once they were actually showing history! I know I was shocked too. Anyway – I watched shows about American history from the fight for independence, through the civil war, and on to industrialization and I noticed something…
Considering the state of our country and government right now, I can only say that those who fought in the early days of our country, and the framers of our Constitution and Deceleration of Independence, well they would be down right bothered with what we have become. I mean, I am bothered by it, and I didn’t risk my life and wealth to create this place. I am also betting that if they saw what has become of us, that they would have rethought their idea to give so much power to congress. I mean I understand why they did it – they figured two heads are better than one – and so the majority of power in our government belongs to a group rather then the one guy at the top. In theory it is a great idea, and it should have worked. Too bad they couldn’t foresee just how corrupt that entire group could become.
Another thing I realized as I was watching a show about Gettysburg and the civil war was that even after all the change we have been through – we are still divided over the same things. It is industry and business – against humanists. Think about it. The parallels between what is happening now, and what happened then aren’t really that different. People say the civil war was all about slavery – and in a sense it was, but looking deeper, it is about the rich having to pay their workers a decent wage. When slavery was abolished it decimated businesses because all of a sudden their free labor was no longer free. They had to cut into their profits in order to keep slaves as paid workers and the business owners refused to believe that these were people. Sounds kind of like a 18th century Wal-Mart.
So we had those fighting for human rights, and those fighting for business. America was built on the backs of slaves. Having all that free labor allowed us to move from hemp crops, to tobacco, and then to cotton. The money that built this nation came from agriculture, and slavery was the most efficient way to grow and harvest more – which led to more money. So I don’t think the civil war was about slavery by itself – it was about the money that slavery produced. It was about businesses having to pay workers a living wage. One of the very same issues that divides our country today. Not much has changed in the last 200 years really. Instead of cotton crops, it is mega stores and fast food chains all complaining that if they pay a decent wage they will go under. The working poor are the modern day slaves really – and I am in the camp that is going to take another civil war – or at least a nationwide effective protest, in order to force change back to the people and out of the hands of the wealthy.
They say that if you don’t remember the past, you are doomed to repeat it, and I believe our nation is on the verge of something big. This issue IS going to boil over again and while I don’t think the fight will be as bloody as our Civil War, I do think it is going to take something quite drastic to take our country back from those who profit from the dehumanization of the working and middle class.
I don’t know – I am not a huge history buff and I don’t know all the ins and outs and all of the politics involved – I just formed this opinion from a T.V. show. I do know that freeing the slaves, while it took some adjustment – our country didn’t suffer economic failure from giving all people the right to be free. The fears of the people are the same – if we extend rights to slaves, our country will fail. Now it is if we extend rights to women, gays, working poor etc. we will fail. We should know by now that extending rights does not in fact ruin our nation, it makes it stronger. However, it is always those at the top who fail to see that because it will change how they do business, and that change does have short term financial implications for those who hold the wealth.
So while I usually spend Independence Day remembering the sacrifices that were made in order to build this nation – I realize it is on the back of all the people, not just Service Members who put their lives on the line to protect our freedom and interests, but it also takes all the people, from the bottom to the top to make this country work. I think we have lost sight of that, and it is going to take a new fight in order to bring our country back to those ideals. I just hope that it isn’t a bloody battle like our Civil War. I sincerely hope that we can learn to come together as Americans and realize that we are more than money – we are the People.
I love my country and I hate seeing it torn apart again. I wonder what T.V. shows in 200 years will say about this period in history. Will you be proud or will you roll in your grave watching how we managed to divide our country to a standstill. Time will tell I guess.
So, I hope you all enjoy this holiday – I also hope you take some time to think about our nation, where it started, how far we have come, and how far we have yet to go. Stay safe, don’t drink and drive, and enjoy the holiday!