Letter-Disliked analogyI am responding to a Feb. 16 letter in the Star-Observer from Gerry Lancette, titled “Parallel with Slavery.”
By: Lyndsay Anderson, Hudson, Hudson Star-Observer
I am responding to a Feb. 16 letter in the Star-Observer from Gerry Lancette, titled “Parallel with Slavery.” While I do not necessarily agree with Lancette politically, my issue has to do with the attempt to liken slavery to the current relationship between our government and the people. This analogy is insulting and tenuous at best.
The economic “bondage” that Lancette claims to endure at the hand of the government is altogether different from the one suffered by an American slave at the hands of his or her master. Let’s remember that slavery came about in this country as a result of Europeans conquering indigenous people, taking over their land, and then forcing others into labor upon that land. Often, those laborers were kidnapped from their homes, sold as chattels, shipped to the U.S. under harrowing conditions, and then sold into slavery.
These slaves never enjoyed the basic rights and liberties we take for granted and were subject to cruelty and even death. The legacy of slavery continued well into the 20th century as governments and private institutions used race as a means to create separate and unequal facilities and deny former slaves and their ancestors the right to vote. The scourges of slavery and racism continue to today, although usually in more subtle ways. I’m sure our current president knows a little something about that.
Can anyone honestly believe that having to pay a portion of your income (or to use Lancette’s words, “extort what others have earned”) to the government in the form of taxes is the same as slavery? Having read the writings of Frederick Douglass, I can assure you that this is not the slavery Douglass spoke of or fought against. It’s one thing to argue that the government should take a lesser share of your paycheck; it’s quite another to liken it to human bondage. To equate the two is an insult to the memory of those who endured slavery, those who had no rights under the Constitution (which, at one time, counted them as three fifths of a person) and whose entire economic contribution lined the pockets of his master.
While I respect the right of all people to share their viewpoints through the newspaper, I hope that in the future, particularly in light of Black History Month, people in this great community will continue to focus on promoting understanding and working together for the greater good rather than division and extremism bolstered by fallacy.
Lyndsay Anderson, Hudson