What anxiety and conflict we have when our government engages in regime change or empire building. Vietnam nearly tore us apart and Iraq is certainly no laughing matter all the while we are saber rattling at Iran. What we must understand is that this bellicose manner coming from our leaders is part of the American Heritage. They taught us in grade school that America is the land of the free and that God has blessed us because we are pure at heart. God doesn't like ugly and I seriously doubt that he would bless the slavery, genocide, empire building that we have done. Oh, it has made us great but I seriously doubt it was a cause for blessing.
Almost instantly as soon as the European invaders landed on what is now the United States, we began genocide and organized land theft. The indigenous people, later to be incorrectly called Indians, were minding their own business. The murder and annihilation of their population was immediate and thorough. At the same time, the most egregious act upon mankind got into full swing. The ugly business of human slavery began from Brazil to North America.
Millions died along the slave routes and those who made it had very short lives to live. Lives resembling Hell on earth is what waited for them in the New World. America got off to a great start – free land and free labor. You can't lose with that hand!
After we ran the British out and became an independent nation, we started looking for more. Foolishly, we tested the British one more time by trying to seize Canada from them. The War of 1812 gave us a bitter lesson. They taught us in school that we never lost a war. Well, we lost the War of 1812 (our first war as an independent nation). The British weren't giving up Canada.
That lesson didn't last long. We stole Florida from the Spanish. We bought the Louisiana Purchase (800,000 square miles) in a "fire sale" from the French who were nearly bankrupt from fighting wars in Haiti and the majority of Europe. We seized more land from the indigenous people like Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi and so forth. That wasn't enough, so we then inspired the master theft of Texas from Mexico.
Within two decades we started the Mexican-American War and seized New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and California. You know, the same land we say needs big border protection from the invading Mexican immigrants.
Lewis and Clark were commissioned to explore the land acquired from the Louisiana Purchase. Their biggest mission was to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the indigenous people living on the land. Their assessment was that the Buffalo was the economic factor of life in this territory.
It was the food, shelter and common money exchange amongst the people. Soon after their report was submitted this nation sent hunters in to wipe out the buffalo and bring economic anarchy to the people.
Land rushes were encouraged. Human charges such as the "Boomer Sooners" in Oklahoma and the "49ers" in California led crazy land grabs.
The wagon trains became constant with the U.S. Cavalry leading a trail of blood along the way. This nation even had freed slaves conduct some of the genocide through their participation in the Calvary. Forty percent of the western cavalry was made up of Buffalo Soldiers.
We went through other trumped-up wars such as the Spanish American War and fire sales to acquire Puerto Rico, Philippines, Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, Alaska and other territories. There was an historical amount of bloodshed and civilization destruction — such as giving blankets laced with small pox to Indian reservations; the Tuskegee Experiment and much more. After slavery came a very thorough form of Jim Crow apartheid. It was so thorough that the South African government modeled its apartheid after that of the United States.
The free land and massive infusion of free and later cheap labor made it quite easy for the United States to be ready and take advantage of the Industrial Revolution. We were well prepared and prospered from it. It made us a military and industrial might during the 20th century.
We are economically great from less-than-holy experiences. Instead of touting that we are blessed and great because of our love of freedom, perhaps we should pray for forgiveness and asked to be blessed with kindness and a truly religious way of life for ourselves and others in the future.
Harry Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc.