Made possible by Europe’s advantages in military and social technology, the slavery started by Europeans in the fifteenth century was different, because it became the enslavement of one race by another.
(Excerpt from Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your High School History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen)
White supremacy and racism were the causes, rather than the symptoms, of slavery in our country. The enslavement of Africans was justified, in part, because of the presumed superiority of whiteness. In short, without racism, we have no slavery or defense of its existence. In the past ten days, we’ve had memes and discussions of our racist history popping up everywhere, and all too often, they’re either incomplete, distorted by bias, or inaccurate. Today I’m going to let some of these historical figures speak for themselves. This post is subject to my own bias by virtue of which figures and quotes I choose to highlight, but I will try to include a representative sampling.
By slowking4 (Own work) [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
Inspired by a comment made by bfitzinAR and the encouragement of WYGalinCA, today’s post is all about Maxine Waters (CA-43), one of the leaders of the ReSisterhood. She’s 79 today, and as a self-described “strong black woman,” she’s been controversial, contentious, courageous, and a clarion of truth.
“My fellow Democrats and I are painfully aware that America – the land of opportunity – has morphed into a country that has turned its back on too many of our families: our rural families, our blue collar families, our minority families, and especially those families working hard to escape poverty. […]
“My fellow Democrats and I are fighting non-stop to change the deal that America has with her citizens. Instead of the current raw deal, we want to deliver A Better Deal. A deal that means if you work hard and play by the rules, you and your family will have endless opportunities.
“This time of year, I know that too many families are sitting around the table experiencing great anxiety. Parents are wondering how to pay for school clothes, school supplies or tuition. How to pay for your child to go to that college that they busted their tail to get into, because you don’t want to let them down. Not to mention how to pay for childcare or care for an elderly parent. These are the real life issues facing us.
“Now, I’ll be as plain, straightforward and honest as possible. You deserve better.
I have fought hard for Wisconsin workers by advancing Buy America legislation because I strongly believe American workers should build our infrastructure with American products, and taxpayers’ money should not be spent on Chinese iron and steel. Last year, I succeeded in including a provision requiring water infrastructure to be American-made in legislation that passed the Senate 95–3. However, Speaker Ryan and House Republicans removed this Buy America reform from the Water Infrastructure Improvements Act at the 11th hour, and there has not been a peep, or tweet, from President Trump.
“Wisconsin manufacturers and workers, like the men and women who work at Neenah Foundry, help build our nation’s water infrastructure and they deserve a solid commitment from Washington on a strong Buy America standard that rewards their hard work. This legislation provides that standard and its past time to get the job done because workers cannot afford to have government spending taxpayer dollars on foreign products. We must rebuild our country’s infrastructure with American labor and American products,” said Senator Baldwin. “The choice for the Republican establishment in Washington is clear: Do you stand with American manufacturers and workers or do you support spending taxpayer dollars on Chinese and Russian steel for American water infrastructure projects?”
“No matter where you live – a big city, the suburbs, a rural community, or a tribal nation – you know that our families, students, seniors, and small business owners are facing real challenges.
“For too many people, wages are not growing fast enough to keep up with the cost of living.
“Many businesses can’t find workers with the required skills. Too often workers can’t afford the education and training they need to secure better-paying jobs.
“Drug companies are gouging us with skyrocketing prescription drug prices.
“And, across the country, our economy is being held back by outdated infrastructure and a widening digital divide.
“President Trump and Republicans have no solutions to address these problems.” […]
“House and Senate Democrats came together this week to announce A Better Deal for America’s families.
“Democrats in Congress are taking on the real challenges facing America and finding solutions that are responsible, compassionate, and effective.” […]
“This week, Members of Congress begin going home for the August recess.
“This is a chance for citizens to hold their Senators and Representatives accountable by asking tough questions: What are you doing to help working families get ahead? What are you doing to protect my family’s healthcare?
“You deserve answers. And you deserve a better deal than the one you are getting now.
“That’s exactly what Democrats are working for: better jobs, better wages, and a better future for every American.
Nobody knows what this week will bring just yet. But we do know that President Trump and Republican Leader McConnell are doing everything they can to jam their mean bill through Congress. They don’t care about the fact that families’ premiums would skyrocket. They don’t care about the tens of millions of people who would be kicked off of coverage. They are simply desperate for a hollow, political win—no matter what price patients and families would have to pay. […]
We believe health care is a right — not a privilege—and we are ready to keep working to make that goal a reality. And now, it’s time for Republicans to step up and join us, so that we can get to work on policies that help make people healthier and more financially secure. That’s what patients and families expect and that’s what I hope Republicans will finally work with us to deliver.
“Congress must act and act immediately. We must get the truth about Russia’s meddling and the full extent of the Trump Campaign complicity. But we must also take action to protect our elections and our election infrastructure next time.
“That is why House Democrats launched the Congressional Task Force on Election Security, which I am proud to co-chair with Congressman Brady from Pennsylvania.
“This task force’s central mission is to focus on how to bolster the cyber and physical security of our election system ahead of the 2018 election. […]
“While elections are the exclusive responsibilities of the states, the Federal government has a responsibility to step up and help, where needed, to support states as they work to prevent the Russians or other bad actors from disrupting and interfering with our elections.
“Protecting the integrity of our election system should not be a partisan concern. We hope House Republicans will join us.
The weekly Fighting Back post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.
Found on the Internets …
The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senate Democrats:
(During the July 4th work period, Senate Democrats have been holding dozens of events back home listening to their constituents about how the Senate Republican healthcare bill would threaten their access to affordable, quality care. For the Weekly Democratic Address, Senate Democrats released a new video highlighting how they have long been sounding the alarm against the “mean” Senate Republican healthcare bill, which would be devastating to millions of Americans.)
Nine Senate Democrats are celebrating progressive activists holding lawmakers’ feet to the fire over their Republican counterparts’ plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“We know that the Senate Majority is still focused on passing a bill that will raise costs for all Americans, that will lower the health care coverage and medical care for many, many, many tens of millions of people, and the great insult of this whole debate is that the savings being used will be giving a tax cut for wealthiest few Americans, which does not represent real American values, certainly in my judgment,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said in a statement delivered in the party’s weekly address.
The group of Democratic lawmakers applauded constituents for keeping local town hall events scheduled during the Fourth of July recess focused on healthcare, questioning Republicans about their plans for Obamacare.[…]
Sens. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin were among those applauding their party’s efforts in blocking the bill.
The video featured Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. also.