There are no Civil Rights without a guarantee of basic freedoms

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Re: Civil Rights without Rights? (Score:5, Insightful)

by evought (709897) <> on Tuesday February 05, @10:57PM (#22317050)

It’s likely because he’d dismantle, if he had any ability to, the civil rights framework that has been in place for five decades. I’m sure all those White Supremacists, looking forward to the FBI getting off their cases and being replaced by local law enforcement (many of which are probably on their side to begin with), are just praying that Ron Paul gets elected.

Has it escaped your attention that most of the oversight processes Dr. Paul wants to restore (e.g FISA warrants) were instituted in the first place because the FBI and CIA, illegal wiretaps, warrant-less searches, and so forth were used against people like Martin Luther King Jr.? How do you have “civil rights” if you don’t have “rights”? If you can protect basic rights to assembly, protest, security in person, papers, and possessions, trial, then you have the beginnings of a chance to express dissent and push for change. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how many laws they pass to make people “equal” if anyone can be “equally” grabbed off the street and grilled before a military tribunal. Cart, meet horse.

Re: Civil Rights without Rights? (Score:5, Insightful)

by evought (709897) <> on Thursday February 07, @01:42AM (#22330644)
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But how do descendents of slaves, who suffered a white-supremacy system for hundreds of years, get any sort of restitution? There can’t just be a seperation of a group of people from any sort of freedom for hundreds of years and then, after giving them the freedom back, expect them to be to fare as well as the rest of the population which wasn’t hobbled. Where does Ron Paul make room for restitution for slavery? I don’t think he does, so I don’t see how he gives black people in America a fair deal. The other candidates, at least, don’t turn their back on the programs which at least offer some help (affirmative action, money for various groups, etc) which Ron Paul calls “unconstitutional.” Sure, they’re “unconstitutional” in Paul interpretation which is a fine one as it concords with the facts, but what does Ron Paul plan to replace them with? Nothing it would seem, and so Paul’s platform doesn’t seem to concord with justice.

I am not black, so take this all with a grain of salt. I have, however, given the subject a lot of very careful thought, and have a lot of “interesting” experience to base it on, the kind you generally don’t want to have, so it isn’t just pulled out of my rear. But you asked a good question and I wanted to give a serious answer.

I happen to be white. However, a major chunk of my ancestry got here from Hungary post 1900 and had to claw its way up the ladder against prejudice, primarily Italians that had control of those sections of New York at the time. Do I owe restitution for that? Of my ancestry that was here pre-1900, a good chunk of that was Native American, from two different lines. “My” people were the victims of genocide, our land was stolen, and our culture was destroyed. There are very few people left who can even teach me what those things were anymore, though I have spent a good deal of effort trying. Where is my restitution? What about blacks that came here post 1900? Do they get restitution? What about descendants of people who died to free those slaves?

The time for restitution was in 1863-1880. The slaves should not have been freed without a plan for making sure that the freedom meant something and committing to protecting that. It’s disturbing that the Russians freed their slave populations at about the same time we did with no war and with land reform that made the new freedman able to join the economy and build a new life. “Backwards” Russia could accomplish that, but we could not. It is a little known fact that a good number of prominent Confederates were solidly against slavery, particularly the upland Virginians who had never used or profited from them, who had been politically marginalized by the lowland plantation owners. (Civil War politics was a lot more messed up than most people realize.) As an example, the famous Stonewall Jackson was anti-slavery and had operated charity schools to teach slaves to read and write before the War. His belief, shared by many people, was that free or slave, blacks needed education to be able to stand up for themselves. It does no good (and did no good) to set someone “free” in a world they cannot participate in. Robert E. Lee himself never owned slaves. When his wife inherited a pair he immediately emancipated them. For many people outside of the plantations, the debate was not over whether to end slavery, but how. The plantations held political power out of line with their population and the US economy, North and South, depended on their production (as the depression of the 1880’s demonstrated).

After the war, Grant, aided by Sherman, and, of all people, the Confederate General Longstreet, tried to push real land reform (Longstreet and Sherman granted groups of freed slaves their own land taken by force from Confederates, including the creation of an offshore freedman colony in NC). They tried to put down the KKK, guarantee free elections in the South (several state governments were literally held hostage after freedman affected elections in directions that the KKK did not like), and generally keep the fragile peace from coming apart. Lee and Longstreet worked tirelessly after the War to make sure that the conflict did not go guerrilla after Appomattox. What broke it all apart was the Congress controlled by the northern Democrats. They basically felt that the Civil War was over, the slaves were free (“What the hell are they grumbling about?”), and the mess had cost enough. They wanted people in the South to get back to work so that the war debt could be paid off and the northern factories could keep running. Beyond that, they had lost interest in Reconstruction. The land grants to freedmen were mostly nullified, funding for the army to keep the peace and monitor elections down south was mostly pulled, and basically everything went to hell. After the first depression was going full steam, the last holdouts working for the freedmen lost interest. You might notice that the last of the Native Americans were pretty much wiped out about the same time.

Anyway, the point of this whole diatribe is that the real chance to sort all of this out was right after it happened. At that point, it was pretty clear who deserved what and where it had to come from. Much of the work was, in fact, already being done before the plug got pulled on it. After this much time and this much confusion, there is just no way to sort it out (that way). What happened was sickening and is one of the darkest marks on our history. But the problem has to be solved another way. There is no “justice” to be had anymore because people at the time dropped the ball.

If the problem is that most blacks are poor and most of the poor are blacks (I am not sure that’s the core of the problem, but bear with me), then there is an easy solution: assist the poor. If the poor are given equal assistance, the blacks will get disproportionate amounts of it. This would also help disadvantaged Native Americans, the children of Japanese interned in World War II, refugees from Iraq that are suffering because they helped our forces, and what have you without another stroke of the pen. The biggest advantage to this is that it doesn’t rile anyone up. “Affirmative action” or “restitution” (read “retribution”) is about the quickest possible way to build resentment bar shooting someone’s kid. It always affects the wrong people and even if it only does that some of the time, then you have yet another disadvantaged, pissed-off minority and the cycle just continues. That is utterly counter-productive to getting back to being a functional nation again.

I don’t happen to think that blacks being poor (or the poor being blacks) is the problem. From what I can see, society has done a bang up job of breaking black-folks spirit and convincing them that they’re no good. A lot of black-folk seem to be doing themselves in now because they’ve been trained to. A lot of this seemed to really tip over after the 1930’s and after a lot of assistance programs started kicking in. I don’t have personal experience being black, but I do have personal experience being beat up for being different, I do have experience being poor, and I do know a lot, first and second hand, about the degradation and humiliation that comes with government “help.” The fact that this “help” seems to have lead blacks en masse to drinking, drugs, and violence is hardly surprising. I know a lot of white people that ended up there too.

Post-Civil War, the black communities that did the best were the ones that decided “to hell with Whitey” and took care of themselves. They got their own preachers, found every person who had a skill among them and started schools, supported their own local business, stood their own neighborhood watches, and ran their own politicians. Over time, they started training lawyers to fight the system on its own turf and connecting up with others communities. Some of these communities survived the 1800’s, some didn’t, but that is where a lot of the black families that got out of the trap came from. Incidentally, that’s exactly the same way that poor immigrant families get out of the hellhole in New York City. Or used to. Blacks need to stand up for themselves, pull together, and realize that they are strong. Their helplessness is just an illusion that was foisted on them. But, they have to ditch the drugs, ditch the boos, stop feeding at the government teat, start keeping families together, and stand up against the violence, just like we need to do with the white trash around here. Communities help each other. The help is not going to come from the government. Whether blacks need it or not, they shouldn’t want it.

We’ve done a good job of trashing this country for everyone. We’re all going to have to pitch in to rebuild it. Pointing fingers right now and looking for justice (as much as there are a lot of people I want to throttle) is just going to sink us faster. MLK’s dream was that people would be judged by their character rather than their skin color. As Americans, we have to have character before that can work, and in the culture of personality, nihilism, and quick fixes, character, white or black, is in short supply.

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