Sunday, February 19, 2017

Frederick Douglass

Create Your Own Path
Frederick Douglass
Vastly Higher Ground
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            As the pen of red Angus calves flowed down the alley toward us, I couldn’t suppress the pride in what I was witnessing. Those calves represented much more than just the sum total of their numbers. They started as a concept and a goal many, many years ago.
            In truth, their existence was the culmination of what started as early boyhood dreams and wound their way toward reality through a hurricane of barriers and impossible obstacles that offered little to no chance of success. I not only liked what I saw I was struck by the notion that two or three inspirational role models of my past would have approved as well. They would have heralded a personal, “laudable pursuit” of six decades.
            I got to spend another hour with those bright red calves before the sorted heifers were loaded and on their way to Texas as herd replacements and the steers were headed to Iowa to be grown on summer grass before going into a farmer/feeder operation for finishing. The bigger heifer calves were left in the feedlot to grow before they come home to become our own 2017 replacement heifers.
They will serve as the next step toward something very important … our future.
Frederick Douglass
I’m not alone in believing our American experiment is not just remarkable it is “pure, natural, and noble”.
That quoted subphrase came from a man who grew to love America for its principles and its promise. His birth provided every reason to take an opposite stand and fight to overturn and denigrate his homeland, but he didn’t allow spite to rule his life. Rather, by reflection and conscientious study, Frederick Douglass, set a different course.
           We know Douglass was a slave by birth, but he escaped those bonds to become a great American thinker and true emancipator. In the crosswinds of our youth and educational processes, few of us grasped the importance of this man, but reassessment has a way of altering initial impressions and lessons dimmed by time and teachers as uninformed as we were. Douglass is a model that deserves to be heralded.
What makes his life more remarkable is the fact he was influenced by mentors who rejected the Constitution as a proslavery “covenant with death”. They called for free states to secede from the Union and go their own way. At that time in his life, he was constantly under that tutelage. In the end, Douglass rejected those radical, progressive teachings and became a messenger of a different promise for America.
               Douglas trumpeted America in a Fourth of July speech he gave in 1852. In it, he praised the Constitution as a “glorious liberty document”. In his mind, the Founders were great men who put their lives on a course toward oblivion if their bet and their resolve failed. Theirs was a “glorious example” of what separates the American model from all the rest.
            From that realization, Douglas found his own distinctive promise in his America, but, from there, the lesson deepens.
            Certainly slavery was a contradiction of any premise of constitutional equality, but its resolution was sealed through the blood of 750,000 Americans in the Civil War. Beyond that blight on our history, Douglass came to assign the prevailing interpretation of inequity toward his surroundings as the natural failure of men and their imposed translation obf the document and not the Constitution itself. Racial uplift, reconciliation, and integration were matters that transcended slavery but the fixes certainly didn’t get resolved with the collective graves of est those Americans. The true doctrine was to be found in the simple premise that barriers were treated by casting out all racial identities rather than elevating them into federal policy importance.
            Douglass agreed wholeheartedly with the Lincoln suggestion that the best way to elevate the condition of men was to set in motion universal freedoms to “clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all”.
            “The true doctrine,” Douglass wrote, “is one nation, one country, one citizenship, and one law for ALL the people.”
            Just before he died, he warned what he had to say would “be more useful than palatable” but it needed saying.
 “We hear, since emancipation, much said in commendation of race pride, race love, race effort, race superiority, race men, and the like,” he counseled. “(but, we) make a great mistake in saying so much of race and color.”
“I would place myself, and I would place you … upon grounds vastly higher and broader than any founded upon race or color … not (various races as we are addressed), but as men,” were his words. “God and nature speak to our manhood, and to our manhood alone.”
Consider the immensity of those words and align them in juxtaposition to how our federal government and our society have treated race and classification of citizenry. Since the Civil War, and, continued relentlessly today, the opposite has taken place. Since the ‘60s, it has become an entire industry, but all the racial uplift and equality has actually created differential states of citizenry and emancipation. It has not solved problems. It has promoted sectionalism and fundamental divide.
We are where Douglass warned us not to go.
Vastly Higher Ground
 Where does the “vastly higher grounds” of Douglass’ vision exist today?
The truth of the matter is much easier arrayed where such conditions don’t exist. The hellholes of urban centers where radical, racially divisive leadership prevails and triumphs like Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, St. Louis and Los Angeles are diametrically opposed examples of the Douglass model. It is there the race industries have set up shop and spread their tentacles of oppression and hate, but those centers aren’t the only battlegrounds.
From Victor Davis Hanson’s Private Papers, we can begin to realize entire states and, indeed, entire regions are on the cusp of the same dire dilemma. California is on center stage. Hanson notes that in “eery irony” California is in a headlong descent toward the catastrophe of the Old South in the days leading up to the Civil War. All of a sudden that liberal leadership is promoting the ideas of “states rights” it has so blatantly disregarded and promoted on a general basis. What it projects as “cool” is actually the epitome of a permanent society of haves and have nots. “King Cotton” of the old South is alive and well in Silicon Valley where trillion dollar companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, and others are a world unto their own. Huge estates surrounded by impoverished shacks of servants are duplicated by mostly poor communities like Pixley or Redwood City living in squalor next to places like Atherton and Woodside. The state has become a reactionary two tiered state of masters and serfs no different from the antebellum South.
The emergence of full view self-righteous preening, though, has existed across the West in full view for nearly two centuries. Indian Reservations are institutional locker plants of suppression whereby proper rights to human beings much less American citizens don’t even exist. They are differential states akin to zoos where emancipation never came and racial degradation and disintegration are permanent. Those people may as well wear T shirts proclaiming “We are Stupid and We Can’t be Trusted with Private Property Rights!” The fact is they are not trusted by federal policy and they are heaped into a permanent state of despair and underachievement.
The story doesn’t end there.
The illumination of a permanent class of exclusions who are being effectively condemned to a covenant with death is growing. They are a collection of men who are not judged on their respective merits, but with regards to their antecedents in direct contradiction to the Constitution.
It is little wonder that there is a growing rejection of the suggestion of “one nation, one country, one citizenship, and one law for one people”. These Americans have either been uninvited to the party or they are being excluded in starts and stops by artificial regulatory weights added to their shoulders. In all cases, the two tiered system has continued its diabolical advance. Its governing doctrine of permanence does not align itself with the vision of Douglass. It is not a Lincolnesque “laudable pursuit for all”. Rather, it is defined inequality that pits one element of America against another. The management philosophy is now arrayed by classification.  Navajo, Miner, Apache, Lumberman, Cheyenne, Rancher, Black, White, Comanche, Farmer, Mexican American, illegal Alien, Urban, Rural, and the continuing myriad of racial and societal demarcations that divide us rather than what God and nature speak to … our manhood alone.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “I will guarantee you that if Indian Reservations were offered to homesteading by their resident internees their support for national monuments and other environmental “Wunderlands” would be dramatically altered. There would be subsequent starts and stops, but eventually American flags would be flying where they never have.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As Steve says we should all simply be labeled as Americans. The politicians have profited by dividing us into groups and pitting groups against each other. For instance, politicians love to tell certain groups that they are going to "give" them special benefits and then make the "rich" pay for it. Class envy and hatred is destroying the USA.