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Monday, July 26, 2010

An Op-Ed: Freedom


by Junius Smith

It seems that many have forgotten their history of the United States. Many of us want European style government. Remember how it was in the 1600’s? Our ancestors could not worship God as they wished. So ... they braved all sorts of adversity just to get here. Many died, but half of them starved to death after arrival in the first year trying to emulate European common store house methods. The next year they went to the old fashion free enterprise way of growing your own and eating it yourself. None starved in the second year.

As time went on, others came to the new land, many as indentured servants. The price of the trip was at least seven years of servitude in which they were the “slaves” of the people who paid their way. Most thought this was a small price to pay for freedom and the experiences that they had faced in Europe.

By and by the first negroes came to America. They for the most part after they had been captured by Muslim Arabs, European ship owners, or the local tribe chieftains who sold them to slave ship owners like John Newton who wrote “Amazing Grace” before he was saved by the Holy Spirit After arriving in America, many went to the potato farms in the Colony of Maine, where for one reason or another, they did not work out and were sold to farmers in the south.

Southerners made a large investment in slaves, which was declared a legal investment by the United States Supreme Court headed by John Jay as Chief Justice. The South, especially in the coastal areas, began to make huge investment in human labor . First it was in rice, then in Cotton. Many families entire wealth was in the land and the slaves. In fact one of the largest slave owners in Charleston, South Carolina was an African American.

Contrary to what many have said, The War for Southern Independence was not fought solely over slavery, although that was definitely a factor. As my old professor of Economic History, Jack Williams, later to become the President of Texas A&M said the first day of class, “the wrong side lost.” The wharfs in New Orleans, Charleston, and along the Mississippi river were stacked with bales of cotton that the Northern States had slapped a tax on before shipping to New York. The North had a strangle hold on the South who could not meet the payments for their plantings and the money owed to the North for the slaves. War of the worst kind followed.

For four long years and over 680,000 dead and severely wounded; the two sections of this nation struggled in a death grip. The South ... with its bravery. The North with its industrial complex and bigger populous. In the end, Abraham Lincoln set all the slaves free in the South, and the entire South was in ruins. He is given credit for freeing all the slaves, but he did not. It was not until the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on December 6, 1865, as there were many slaves in the Northern states. Some do not remember, but the State of New York flirted with secession because of their ties with the South.

There was no freedom for the war participants in the South. Carpetbaggers and scalawags stole farms, land, and other properties for the taxes that people couldn’t pay. Unqualified slaves were put in office by them. Corruption and ugly incidents rained supreme. Folks would not go out on the streets after dark. The North did not help with rebuilding, they just feasted over what was left.

Time passed and the South slowly began to recover. Yet, for the most part, southerners and African Americans managed to get along in their misery. It was not without problems, and God knows both races struggled with schools, rest rooms, buses, water fountains, and equal opportunity. Slowly but surely, progress began to be made, but not without some agony. My own uncle, Brian Butler, can be found in Springwood Cemetery in Columbia; shot in the back of the head by an African American as he departed from a bus to the arms of his waiting wife after he had participated in World War I.

Incidents like this have happened from time to time and forgiveness has been accomplished by many, but there are those on both sides,especially black leaders that feast on the black population for money. Only through some real soul searching and good old fashioned love of God can these attitudes change.

Here are some ideas that I have. The African American population has had more opportunity for advancement than any other race at any other time in history the past 50 years. I do not think everyone will agree to this because there are some that profit from not believing it. But just look at a few facts. One of the wealthiest women in the world, Oprah Winfrey is black, so is Barrack Obama, so is Condi Rice, Judge Thomas, the basketball player Lebron James and 88% of the NBA, 80% of the of the NFL, millions in management positions, thousands in political arena, millions that have their own businesses. There is no place in the world where blacks have more authority and income. It is not even close. Americans should remember that their ancestors came to this country to worship God, and He has made nearly all of us rich.

If we do not follow God and the free enterprise system that has been so kind to us, obey the Constitution, and follow the Golden Rule, we will do just as the other 23 cultures that have vanished before us. The Government will spend more than we can produce. All we are owed by this country is opportunity and we should work hard to maximize our efforts.

This planet has been in the process of change ever since God created it. Nothing is sustainable forever. There have been floods, earthquakes, tidal waves, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and many more natural disasters. There will be more. Sun spots can change our climate at the speed of light. One tilt of the axis and the earth will go back to prehistoric days. Man should be good stewards of the planet, but the nature of man is to be selfish. Pray for a quick return of Jesus the Christ, but even then it will be for only a thousand years ...

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