Friday, January 20, 2012

Interspersing Truth with Half-Truths

In May 1787, a core group of British abolitionists (9 Quaker evangelicals and 3 evangelical Anglicans), led by the Reverend Granville Sharp, financed establishment of a new, free and self-governing, twenty square-mile project of black and white residents--mostly former black slaves. In time, the project failed, but the sponsors believed their efforts would prove the wrongness of slavery and the profitableness-and-productivity of black Africans and products produced by free people in a free market.

From Adam Hochschild, I quote:
“In honor of Sharp, the settlers named their collection of tents and gardens Granville Town. But the bedraggled settlement’s shoreline bordered the deep-water shipping channel in the Sierra Leone River used by slave ships sailing a dozen miles upstream to collect their cargoes at Bance Island. Its former owner, Richard Oswald, was dead, but two of his nephews had inherited control and operated their own slave vessels as well as selling slaves to others.

“Their agent in charge was outraged when an abolitionist Utopia run by a ‘very dangerous bad set of people’ suddenly appeared next door. The colonists, he declared, had ‘intermixed with the Natives and have by telling them a number of Falsehoods given them a great many bad Notions of White Men in general that has made them more saucy and troublesome than ever they were known before’” (Hochschild/Bury the Chains/Houghton-Mifflin/2005, emphasis added).

In 2012, political debates banter back and forth, reeking of similar-and- samo-samo arguments of truth twisted into half-truths - like Newt Gingrich defending his adulterous marriage by attacking the news media on national television.

America enjoys its reputation as the land of the free--the one global neighborhood where people enjoy social justice and liberty, yet Civil Rights and ethical behavior finds it difficult sledding in the American economic system. Just the Mexican emigrant, or the homeless man sleeping under the bridge. Look about and you see fraud on Wall Street, with white-collar criminals thriving in obscene wealth, protected by flags of legality, created by cronies and government bureaucrats who “set“ the rules of the financial game that allows them to bilk the public ever more.

Become a neighbor to evil and call for right political behavior and you hear the 21st century version repeating the earlier versions. Call for a reasonable health care for everybody, and listen to how certain monopolistic interests of private profiteers swap your argument and give you a wretched name, as your due for advocating for democratic and human rights. You are now a leftfield liberal, socialist, Communist, or something worse; you are an enemy of free enterprise because you challenged their libertarian right to unfettered greed (the lion's share).

Slavery did not end with the British Abolitionists and the American Civil Rights Act. We want to believe it, but we continue seeing new evidences daily, of human slavery and bondage of every sort in 2012. While our political system tries to hide under the cover of Democracy, the existing economic bondage increases as the disparity between the diminishing middle class and the increasingly wealthy 1% grows to alarming proportions .

Globally, sex slaves are everywhere. Pornography booms on Internet airlines, and sex slavers reach their tentacles into West Michigan, as well as Cambodia. All the while, the 3rd World lives in poverty and drinks polluted water.

You see why I find it so interesting that an enraged slaver of 1787 could belittle his new abolitionist neighbors, call them utopian, and very bad people that give slave traders a bad name, and make natives saucy and troublesome to control. According to the slavers, they benefited the slaves by Christianizing them, civilizing them, and providing them with a wholesome, healthy livelihood that was indeed pleasant and beneficial to all. Moreover, they were benefiting British life by stimulating the economy with sugar and various plantation products and producing jobs from which their whole culture benefited, so they claimed.No one believes such rubbish today!

In 2012, civil and human rights are accepted for everyone rather than the privileged, but in 1787 King George III was King and no man had any vote in the House of Lords.
*One male in ten could vote for the House of Commons.
*The only redress for citizens was the possibility of a petition. Quoting Hochschild, “The right of petition was recognized in the Magna Carta, the charter of liberties demanded from a resentful King John in 1215, restated forcefully in the Bill of Rights won by the Brits in 1689, and was considered important enough to be enshrined in the first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution” (Hochschild/138).

So in this land, where we can all cast our votes, let us more seriously exercise our right to vote, and let us under God make sure we vote in ways that protects the life and liberty of the oldest as well as the youngest, and everyone in between - as the Bible teaches us to do?

From Warner's World, don't allow your vote to twist a truth into a half-truth that hurts people ...

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