There’s a trend in political hyperbole that is getting tiring. I call it slave-baiting, where one compares a policy or law to slavery. It reminds me of slut- or cray-shaming, except with more brown people involved. I heard it used by a few lawmakers during the new gun control debates, after the Sandy Hook tragedy. Apparently their arguments were effective, since no new national gun policies were passed, and we had the opportunity to have at least four more school shootings and plenty more people dead from gun violence. Good job, guys. Thanks for keeping our kids safe. -_-
Throughout the government shutdown, I heard a lot of slave-baiting in House GOPs and pundits’ arguments against the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, to those who forgot that it’s really the brain child of a conservative think tank and Mitt Romney. The one that points out the most was Dr. Ben Carson, surgeon from Johns Hopkins, who said that the ACA is the worst thing to happen since slavery.
So…The worst thing to happen since slavery is this law that basically makes healthcare mandatory and affordable? Does that mean that Jim Crow laws, sharecropping, exploitation of Chinese immigrants to build a transcontinental railroad, anti-Chinese immigration laws, the formation of the Ku Klux Klan, the 9-11 WTC tragedy, Sandy Hook, women’s inability to vote until the 20th Century, WWII Japanese internment camps, the Birmngham church bombing, The Great Depression, the LA Riots, child kidnappings, Plessy v. Ferguson verdict, and the fact that SLAVERY STILL EXISTS IN THIS COUNTRY are all walks in the park compared to this law?
In the time of slavery, a runaway slave would lose a limb if he was “lucky”. He would more likely be killed, and there are many ways to die, from simply getting shot or hanged to being eaten alive by dogs or burned alive or slowly being cut open until he bled out. If someone violates the ACA, you pay $100. That’s so terrible. A whole C-note. Oooooh. A free black man in America was at risk at all times of being captured and enslaved, even if he lived in the North following all laws of his state and had papers proving his freedom. Under the ACA, if you live in a state with a government that is emphatically against the law, you still get health care. A black man who could read may have his tongue cut out or be executed. If your county refuses to give you information about the Affordable Care Act, you can go online…theoretically…
People who compare anything to slavery are about as insensitive as people who make light of rape. I would expect this of most of the talk show pundits and congresspeople who regularly play the victim blame game. It is a little more hurtful that Ben Carson, a man to whom I looked up most of my young life as proof that I could get out of my dire straits, would make such a statement. I lost respect for him when he stated he didn’t believe in evolution. I lost even more when he compared gay people to paedophiles and practitioners of bestiality. This comparison of a law that was passed by two houses of Congress, signed by the President, and then validated by the Supreme Court to slavery shows how much of a complete moron an educated person can be. Forget the fact that as a black man, he should not be oblivious to the ghosts of slavery in this country that can still be sensed every once in a while. As a human being, how can one compare a rule that requires one to essentially stay healthy for the benefit of everyone with being owned by another human being, literally working oneself to death for the benefit of one person? Slavery was a slow genocide. Millions died just in transit to the West. It’s estimated that nearly 10,000 people die in this country a year due to lack of good health care. That is something to which you can compare slavery. At least the Affordable Care Act attempts to remedy a problem, as flawed as it is. Slavery only planted seeds of hate that still flourish with every trivialisation of the system that is fuelled by the blood of de-humanised people who built an economic superpower where it is now OK for Benjamin Carson to say whatever dumb s*** he can.
I would say that people who trivialise such an institution should read some slave narratives, or perhaps research the human trafficking that goes on today. Don’t think it’s just in Southeast Asia or Eastern Europe. We have slaves in this country as well, used for cheap labour, sex, or both. Unfortunately, I highly doubt that anyone who would make such a claim would understand what he is reading. Carson needs to stick to being retired.