At a Bartlett bowling alley, I joined a few dozen Tea Party supporters (all of whom were white) at a fundraiser for the local Tea Party and for Eighth Congressional District candidate Donn Janes, who is running as an independent.Hmm, as if she were expecting a lynching? Seriously, Ms. Thomas (who is black) came up with a decent zinger using the slavery analogy but as with most liberal zingers it's high on emotion and low on depth, insight and logic. Here's her capstone comment:
I was not taken into slavery when I arrived, and I found no indentured servants either.
What I did find is what I've always found when I engage in prolonged conversation with people whose politics are opposite of mine -- and that's civility and hospitality.
If you recall the three-fifths of a person part of the constitution, and how recently government restricted the rights of people of color and women, and can name a founding father who owned slaves, an invitation to return to 1776 isn't so, well, inviting.So the casual reader would be left to believe that in her view, there's really nothing much to celebrate about 1776 because the slaves weren't freed.
Granted, it's not hard to imagine how descendants of people described as 3/5ths of a human being might not have the same warm fuzzy about the whole revolution thing, but what of history without it?
For instance, where would Ms. Thomas be now had those racist white guys not signed the Declaration, gone to war, and written a Constitution, even without solving the slavery issue? How long would it have taken the British Crown to abolish slavery here? After all, they seemed fine with it before the split.
The Constitution, if nothing else, provided a controlling document and thereby a formal guilt to spur future masses towards improvement (the phrase "all men are created equal" is fairly unambiguous). Most historians agree that had the founders brought the slavery issue into the Constitutional process it could have scuttled the whole thing due to the agri-dependent economies of the south (and some of the north) at the time. Here's a collection of writings from prominent founders on the slavery issue, including a parody letter written by Ben Franklin hoisting slavery apologists on their own petards by substituting a north African Islamic Mufti slave owner for them (oh, the irony).
It's obvious Ms. Thomas doesn't like the Tea movement--she's no different than most mainstream reporters/commentators. She chose the racial angle to make her point because it's her perspective. But is she really comfortable dismissing the very building blocks that led to the recent improvements she's so clearly proud of? Seems a little blurry.