Thursday, November 15, 2012

Reaping What Was Sown

I read a blog post earlier today that inspired me to finally write something about the recent re-election of Barack Obama.

The post has, in my view, a general theme of the United States reaping what it has sown. It got me thinking of what I now called the New Majority. Rather than the oxymoronical term minority/majority, the demographics of the majority in the U.S. has changed. The majority is no longer white.

The name of my blog is America's Birth Defect - Racism. Oddly to some, the name came from something Condolezza Rice said in an interview. Racism founded this country, made this country rich and for the most part did it with the free labor of slaves, indigenous peoples and poor whites. The white and wealthy elite have reaped the benefits of this stolen labor for centuries. Indeed, the major reason for the break from England that resulted in the Revolutionary War and the subsequent birth of the new nation was England's burgeoning abolitionist movement. Slavery was profitable and necessary for the new country. The Founding Fathers (most of them slaveholders) were willing to fight rather than give up the free labor necessary to build their new country.

African slaves and their descendants did not take the envisioned eternal stripping of their freedom lying down. From the onset, resistance, uprisings and other challenges were constant. Blood was shed, lives were lost, but the resistance continued. Freedom, and the longing for it, is something innate in a man, regardless his color.

As the centuries passed and the country grew, others of color joined the slaves and indigenous peoples in the building of the country. In later years, immigrants both legal and illegal, came to the U.S. in hopes of a better life for themselves and their families. Most were treated as second-class citizens, but still they came and their numbers grew. Initially, many if not most of these immigrants were so happy to be in the country they psychically shrugged off their second-class status and treatment. But, these people watched, learned and waited - patiently - as did the descendants of the formerly enslaved.

Meanwhile, the majority was busy reaping the earnings of the system they had created. Perhaps the thought, the wish, was that the second-class citizens though finally deemed 100% man rather than three-fifths were too ignorant to watch and learn. Please let me digress here by discussing, briefly, what came to be known as the Three Fifths Compromise.

As the new country grew and developed structures for the distribution of taxes and the apportionment of members of the new House of Representatives, the slave population also grew, especially in the south. This meant the slave population in a state determined not only the wealth of the state, but also its tax obligations. The northern states objected to this because it would mean the southern states were wealthier, while the southern states, of course, objected because of the larger tax burden to be placed on them. Thus, began what was actually a series of compromises, one in 1783 and another in 1787 that determined that slaves were only three-fifths of a white man.

And the disenfranchised, second-class citizens continued to labor, watch and most importantly, learn. Added to this rapidly growing group was the LBGT community, also a rapidly growing and politically significant part of the population. Yet, despite its wealth, education and other legacies, the majority group didn't pay attention, occasionally throwing tidbits of political crumbs at the minority group. Busily counting and continuing to amass their wealth, they failed to notice the growing size of the disenfranchised group and probably didn't even consider that the latter group might be also learning.

However, the minority group never stopped watching and learning, until 2008, when the black face of an African-American man named Barack Obama emerged as a serious threat to their complacency. By then, it was too late, and we all know the result. By 2012, the minority, disenfranchised group was no longer the minority. They asserted their political and re-elected Barack Obama. In their egocentric, arrogant complacency, the former majority group was so confident that their candidate would win they were celebrating before the final returns were counted. In fact, their candidate, Mitt Romney, wrote only an acceptance speech. (A fact that to this day truly stuns me!)

I have no sympathy for the former majority group. They are reaping EXACTLY what they sowed.



No comments: