A Personal Plea, Part 9
CC image courtesy of Flickr, duffyemma92
Edited by Wende Benner, HA Editorial Staff
Editorial note: The following is reprinted with permission from Kit’s blog, Dauntless in Denver. Kit is a homeschool and ATI survivor. It was originally published on November 27, 2016. Not every part of the series explicitly mentions homeschool, but each part ties to her homeschool experience. The political opinions in this article do not necessarily reflect the political stance of Homeschoolers Anonymous or HARO.
Without fully intending to, I found myself specializing in African American history as an undergrad history major. That’s just how things worked out, because that’s where my personal interests led me. Growing up in Cincinnati, I had always been keenly aware of the fact that the Underground Railroad had been especially active there. But when I began to actually study it, I discovered it was far more than “active,” in Cincinnati. In fact, Cincinnati was THE central hub of the Underground Railroad in the American West. As I wrote in my Master’s Thesis, not only was Cincinnati the western center of the UGRR, but it was also a microcosm of the abolition movement, in general. Everything the movement had throughout the entire country, Cincinnati had. These were all things I was incredibly proud of.
But as I continued my research, I discovered that there was another side to Cincinnati, and Ohio, in general. An ugly side. A dark side. In fact, the majority of Cincinnati was either ambivalent toward the issue of slavery, or straight up pro-slavery. In the pre-Civil War years, there were a few mass exoduses of African Americans from Cincinnati, usually to Canada. It wasn’t a safe place to be, unless the color of your skin was white. There was an active and vocal minority, working against the hate, but most either actively or passively participated in it, much like in Nazi Germany.
As the years progressed, I continued to study American history, and African American history. In many ways, a historian is someone who witnesses history, more than the average person.
And I began to realize, the United States is not, nor was it ever, what I was taught it was.
Were our Founding Fathers brave? Absolutely. They were brave enough to go against the greatest empire on earth, fight a foolish war, and declare their own independence. But they were not brave enough to do it without slavery. Many of the Founding Fathers were abjectly opposed to slavery. Others, such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry, knew it was morally reprehensible, and yet they were not willing to be inconvenienced to the degree they would be if they both freed their slaves and outlawed slavery. Most other nations, on the American continents, abolished slavery as they gained their independence from their colonial powers. Many African Americans at the time of the Revolution believed this was going to happen here, as well. But it didn’t. The Founding Fathers caved to the convenient and the comfortable. Willing to do what was necessary to throw off their own oppressors, but unwilling to make sure ALL in the new United States were likewise free.
I read about the Whiskey Rebellion, and how Washington sent thousands of troops to Western Pennsylvania to subdue a few dozen angry farmers, suspended all due process, and threw them all in jail without a trial. Yes, he cooled off and pardoned them, but still without a trial. So all the jailed farmers received pardons for crimes for which they were never properly tried. Yes, this was George Washington, grossly overstepping his Constitutional rights. Jefferson grossly overstepped his Constitutional rights as well, when he bought all of the Louisiana territory on his own, without Congressional approval. Polk straight up manipulated facts and lied to Congress to get approval to declare war on Mexico, and gain most of what is now the American Southwest, including part of my own new state, Colorado.
I grew up in the years of the “Moral Majority.” The “New Right,” as it is often termed. I heard my parents and many, many others within the Conservative Republican faction of society, praise the America of yore. They mourned how much modern presidents overstepped Constitutional bounds, praised how past presidents and politicians were “statesmen,” and not “politicians.” How partisanship was such a new thing. How our Founding Fathers all worked together to do what was right. How 19th century America was so incredibly Godly and noble and respectful to all. How America was so much better in the 1940s and 50s, when God and family were respected. But the more I studied, the more I found out just how much the history I was taught wasn’t real. I heard about liberals changing history. I heard about the “revisionist” history the liberal agenda was pushing.
But the more I studied, the more I realized, the conservatives amongst whom I was raised were just as guilty of revisionist history as were the fringe liberals I was taught about.
Exactly how Godly can a nation be, which kills and forcibly removes millions of Native Americans, just so they can have access to Southern lands to continue cotton cultivation? Cotton cultivation, which, almost exclusively relied upon the enslavement of four million African Americans? How Godly can a nation be, which enslaves millions of a race, rules that they are not people, which does not allow any protection against rape, torture, or even murder? How Godly can a nation be, which places economic and political stability over the well-being of the “least of these”? How Godly can a nation be, which even after emancipating its slaves, lynches innocent men and women, for nothing more than asking for the paycheck they earned? How Godly can a nation be, which doesn’t allow for any legal recognition of the rape of a black female by a white man?
I could go on and on. But my point is, America never was any greater than it is now. Yes, you could argue that abortion is this nation’s great stain now. But at the very least, the United States has done no worse than exchanging one evil for another. Until November 8th, minorities, women, people of other religions, immigrants, the disabled, those who are LGBTQ, etc., had never, in the history of this nation, been any safer than they were right then.
I was fed the lies, throughout my entire life, and I dismantled them myself.
Please bear with me through my 10th and final post in this series. I will tie everything together from the last 9 parts. All I want, is understanding. All I want is those I know and love to understand my struggle now, and the struggle that will likely remain through the next several months and years. For those of you who have made it this far, thank you. Please, hang in there for one more post.