Original post made
by Herbert Marshall, Parkside,
on Mar 20, 2008
I know that this will make some people angry, however I feel compelled to write it. I´m up to
my spleen with hate mongers like Jeremiah Wright, Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton, and others
who take the position that white Americans have never taken any positive actions to help our
fellow black citizens. They further claim that our nation was built on the backs of the black
Americans, forgetting the thousands of Poles, Hungarians, Germans, Chinese and others who
worked and sweated to create our unique nation. They need to look today to the outstanding
African-American role models that abound in our nation: Kenneth Chenault, J. Herman Russell,
Condoleezza Rice and others that are leading the way to our future.
My Grand Grandfather and two of his brothers enlisted and fought in the Civil War to help free
the slaves. They were born in Scotland and immigrated in 1852 to Michigan; the way the
British treated the Scots make them lifelong haters of the mistreatment of their fellow men.
Another G-Grandfather was a minister in Ypsilanti, MI; his home was a station on the
Underground Railroad before the war. After the war many former slaves returned from Canada
to that area. They established their own church. For nearly 40 years he and other ministers
would go to their community on Sundays, after church and teach: reading, writing and
arithmetic. When he died nearly 100 former slaves walked in his funeral procession to show
their respect and love. These men did not stand and take bows; they just did their duty to their
fellow men. My ancestors were not unique; hundreds of others have similar stories to tell.
In my own case I was the Treasurer of a group formed, in the 1950´s, to clean out and reform
the St Louis, MO. School Board and we were able to assist in the election of the first black man
to the board. I worked with and for many black Americans throughout my career and found that
people respect those who show respect for them.
There is no question that the period of slavery in our history is a smear on our history, but I
seriously doubt that very many white men went into the back country of Africa to capture
slaves. The odious 2/3rds rule in the Constitution was probably the only possible compromise,
at the time, which let this nation come into being and reach its greatness. It is so easy to use
today´s standards to judge the past.
We can´t rest on our laurels but we must not let today´s hate mongers hide the many great
Americans who went before us. There is nothing that we can do today to erase the actions of
our ancestors. It is about time that we all forget ancient history and look to the future that we all
Herbert H Marshall
3202 Clifford Circle
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Posted by Twombley
a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 23, 2008 at 2:53 am
I'm not really sure what makes "America" (really, the United States of America, since the USA shares the North American continent with Mexico and Canada) great.
Would that be the 500,000 Iraqis killed by US-enforced sanctions under President Clinton in the 1990s? Or the 600,000 Iraqis killed under the illegal US occupation of Iraq since 2003?
Yes, 1.1 million Iraqis are dead because of US government policy under both Democrats AND Republicans. That's the minimum number of deaths established by a 2006 study published in The Lancet, which is the United Kingdom's (and the world's) most respected medical journals (with statistics extrapolated forward through 2007).
During the five years of the US occupation of Iraq, 4,000 US soldiers have been killed in combat. Compare that to 600,000 Iraqis killed and approximately HALF the population of Iraq turned into external and internal refugees.
And let's not forget the worldwide network of torture chambers the United States has established around the world in the past 7 years. US government agents were arrested in Italy for kidnapping Italian residents and sending them off to be tortured, a clear violation of Italy's rights as a sovereign nation.
What's more, at a time when one-third of US citizens lack health insurance of any kind, and California is contemplating laying off one-third of its public school teachers, the occupation of Iraq is estimated to cost a total of $3 trillion. That's the second most-expensive war in history (after World War II) for the United States, and already is helping to ruin the once-mighty American economy.
Oh, and all three leading presidential candidates--Senators Obama, Clinton, and McCain--have threatened war with Iran, aka "World War III". The US misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan aren't enough; these mad hatters have to rattle sabres at Iran, too?
One in nine black Americans are in prison. The United States has a larger prison population than the rest of the world combined, including "repressive" China.
So what makes the United States "great", exactly? Its ability to ravage other countries? Its total disregard for human rights and human needs both within and outside its own borders? Its failure to provide universal medical care and education for a large portion of its citizenry? Its ability to ring up a $3 trillion debt in an illegal war that is decimating the population of Iraq and ruining its own military?
If Condoleeza Rice, George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld weren't powerful US officials (or former officials), they'd be clapped into irons and hauled before the World Court in The Hague to face charges on genocide and other war crimes. That's who ought to be sent out of the country: those people, and those who back them, because they are traitors, not patriots.
The United States is supposed to stand for the rule of law, and a republic is not supposed to be an empire that wages wars of imperial aggression. The United States has become a nation that slaughters people in Third World nations who thoughtlessly build their countries on top of "American" oil, a nation that disregards its traditional allies, a nation that ignores the pressing needs of its own citizens, and a nation that has spectacularly mismanaged its own economy to the brink of bankruptcy.
I agree with Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior, who said in his speech opposing the US war against Vietnam (4 April 1967, exactly one year to the day before he was murered): 'And don't let anyone make you think God chose America as his divine messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world. God has a way of standing before the nations with judgment and it seems that I can hear God saying to America, "You're too arrogant. If you don't change your ways, I will rise up and break the backbone of your power, and I will place it in the hands of a nation that doesn't even know my name. Be still and know that I am God."'
Prophetic words. But a prophet has no honor in his own country, and forty-one years later, the words are becoming true. Americans have strangled the goose that laid the golden egg, ruining their own diplomatic, military, and economic power. And for what?