Is America Still Blighted?
America has a blighted history. America is no different from others; it has a long history of enlisting the poor and downtrodden to protect its purposes of triumphing in greatness. The scary yet true fact is that many of our presidents believed in the slavery of African Americans. President George Washington owned 216 slaves.
He was born into a world where slavery was considered a normal part of life. At the age of 11, he inherited 10 slaves from his father. He expanded his landholdings and acquired more slaves over the years to improve his productivity of his farms. He was in the tobacco business and owned over 100 slaves. His wife also owned over 100 slaves, which she inherited from her first husband. Historians say he wanted to free them and he even tried but failed, even after his death. They say he wanted to emancipate slavery but he knew it was not the time, that it was not financially feasible for America, and that it would indeed trigger a civil war. I guess he was right. It did trigger a civil war and America did emancipate the slaves when it was financial feasible for the rich. I wonder though, why couldn’t the President Commanding Officer of the United States of America figure out how to successfully free his own slaves, if that’s really what he wanted to do?
Thomas Jefferson owned 650 slaves. Presidents Andrew Jackson, James Madison, James Monroe and Ulysses Grant also owned slaves. President Abraham Lincoln, the president known for signing the Emancipation Proclamation also owned slaves. There were 14 presidents between President Washington and President Lincoln. They condoned, upheld, and supported slavery. On January 1, 1863 Lincoln signed the final Emancipation Proclamation. Some historians say Lincoln did care about the slavery issue but played both sides of the issue well enough to gather political support and votes. It seems to me that the signing of the Emancipation of Proclamation was not out of concern for the group of people enslaved and remaining ignorant of their origins and uneducated regarding their potential; but because of economics. Though Blacks had been cruelly severed from Africa generations before, he considered sending the slaves back to Africa, to Liberia. His decision to sign the proclamation was the best move for the economy of the nation as a whole. Thus, it was all about the money. Though there were those who spoke out against slavery, was it more economic than moral? How many years were Blacks enslaved and brutalized before they decided to stop it? How did it expand uncontrollably? How was it allowed to be entrenched in America's history in the firs place? Where were all the moral people when the hundreds of slave ships docked on America's shores with human captives? Does America have a blighted history?
There were 18 presidents before the Civil Rights Act initiated by President John F. Kennedy in 1963 was signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1964. Rumor has it; Eisenhower would have committed political suicide had he not signed the Act. Let’s backtrack a bit. So, there were 18 of our great presidents who supported, promoted, or condoned by silence the inequality of Jim Crow and segregation. Then we elected Richard Nixon, who buried funds to minorities with creative entrepreneurial concepts under mountains of red tape.
It took the next president, Gerald Ford only 1 week after being sworn in to invite the Democratic Representative Shirley Chisholm and The Congressional Black Caucus to the White House to discuss the issues that plagued Blacks nationwide. It took Nixon 14 months to host such a get together. At this meeting they disguised poverty, unemployment, drugs in urban areas, rising crime, the military budget, voting rights, and the economic development, and the status of Black women. The Black Caucus presented President Ford with position papers on the issues. I was young but I remember reading about that meeting in the newspaper for a History class. Along with other African Americans living in urban areas, we waited for change. And we waited, and waited, and waited. We had thoughts back then. What was really in those position papers? Did anyone ask “the black people” suffering from these plagues what we felt, what we needed, what we wanted.
Before we knew it, it was time to elect a new president. In 1976, the people decided upon Jimmy Carter for relief. They called him “the peanut farmer” but he had a firm understanding of both complex legislation and administration. This was my first year voting. I was 18 and my mother proudly walked with me to the polls to cast my vote. One democratic leader stated at the time, “We could run an aardvark this year and win.” One thing I do remember is that Carter appointed more Blacks and women to his cabinet than any of his forerunners. According to the number of Blacks who still suffered from societal plagues, this simply wasn’t enough.
Next in the line up of our presidents is Ronald Reagan who was mocked in our songs, television dramas, social events, and even our writing because of his illegal activity. Imagine, the President of the United States, the Commander in Chief, the leader of one of the greatest countries in the world caught of illicit political activity. Being a sloppy leader, he resembled Nixon who was impeached, in his leadership style. America has a blighted history.
Coming from a long line of politicians, George H. W. Bush was next to be president and unless you dig into newspapers written during his leadership, who even remembers what he did or did not do for the people of America. His accomplishments are a vague memory. We do remember our young men being sent to nosy around in the business of Panama, Kuwait, and operation Desert Storm in the Gulf War. We also remember him leaving citizens at home discontent because of a wishy-washy economy; rising violence in inner cities and an unrelenting excessive deficit in somebody’s spending.
Running an entire nation of people has to be a difficult job It was time for Bill Clinton to try his hand at it. It is commonly spoken that He stole the title of first African American president from current President Obama. Because he smoked a blunt, defrauded his marriage, and plays a Saxophone. I am ashamed that these are the comparisons. Others say he was the first president who listened to the needs of African American, though what he could do to improve the poverty plight was limited. During her campaign president, Hillary Clinton aimed to remind African American people about “the good times” when her husband was president. I often wonder why some please those were “good times”. The times seemed the same to me, not much different from any other. These “good times” are erroneously deemed an economic boom. I am not sure who boomed, but from where I sat the disparity did not change much. I saw the same social ills when I looked out my window. The students with whom I worked suffered the same ills and disparity that The Congressional Black Caucus wrote in their position papers to President Ford, for presidents before. The welfare reform debauchery, the growth of blacks in prisons, and the public abandonment of progressive African Americans are a few of Clinton’s most memorable disappointments. So, should we celebrate President Bill Clinton? Nobody is perfect. Right?
America has a blighted history. There are so many Black conspiracy theorist that involve our illustrious past president George W. Bush. Though he was not impeached like President Nixon, when his name is mentioned you either get two responses from others. People frown at the sound of his name or laugh because of his polices and antics. It was during his presidency that airborne terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the attack against the White House of Capital was spoiled on September 11, 2011 that killed close to 3,000 Americans. CNN says that America lives under the shadow of war and debt left from the Bush administration. Was he a blighted president? You decide.
According to some, genetically speaking President Barak Obama isn't the first black president because genetically he is half Caucasian and half African blood. Others say his he acted like a gangster as he pushed his Health Care Bill. Princeton University Professor Cornell West compares President Obama to scarred Presidents Bush and Nixon. During the last State of the Union address Obama proposed a new score card for colleges. He says it gives a level of transparency to the real cost of college and provides students with a tool for a good comparison. Critics say the financial data on the site is outdated and needs to be updated. They say while tuitions has risen, financial aid packages offered by colleges have gone down. I don’t really see these as criticism of the Score Card though. They seem to be trying to offer excuses for the rise in tuition costs, which appears to be a school choice. The critics are the college administrators who appear to making excuses about why students are spending more money.
Speaking of money. I want to talk to Mr. President about the extra missing from my paycheck. I do not like it at all and I need to be reminded of the reason. He is proposing a plan for quality headstart programs for all America’s little people. I personally think that is awesome! Now how will we get the trifling parents to get the heck up and out to get these babies to school? Do you know that absenteeism is a hugh reason why Lil Johnnie still can not read? Obama also says that minimum wage will be increased to $9 per hour? I say, cool but is there an act for shiftless employers trying to save a buck that will make it illegal to decrease the hours worked so employees can actually see the increase? Is there an Act for that, Mr. President? A Violence Against Women Act. I like that too, and I do appreciate it. Can we have an Act that requires men not ignore their children? Since it is abuse, can we also make that illegal? That's abuse too you know? If an Act were passed that prevented anyone over 50 from paying student loans and bogus red light tickets I'd figure out how to do flips.
My employer said I get the day off. An extra day extending the weekend is always good for whatever the celebration. I wish it were with pay though. I wonder will a future president address the issues of the Adjunct faculty at all these colleges on the Federal Score Card. We work as hard as full time faculty and have earned the same degrees. I think this issue is Act or Bill worthy. While they are at it can they change the name Adjunct to Contingent? I hate Adjunct. I realize it means assistant or helper but we do a whole lot more than help and assist.
My point is, someone will have a criticism for everything. However, with the new acts being implemented by our current president, do you think America’s blighted past is finally being shadowed with a few respectable issues for which all people can benefit. Happy President’s Day!