*I write with the presupposition that by discussing one topic it does not render another less valid. My motive for writing is not to offend but rather to be a voice for those unable to speak.
Humans tend to seek the path of least resistance so we often tune out what we don’t want to hear or think about, and injustice continues. In the midst of the chaos and confusion swirling through our streets, our friendships, and our newsfeeds, I see the value in the spotlight being shone on crimes committed against humanity both historically and currently. We can ignore them no longer.
Let’s take a closer look at the scar of slavery on the heart of our nation. Clearly, it is not a distant memory. It is a scar that continues to ache; it is a scar that should prompt us to examine our current actions. What was it about that slavery that made it such a travesty? It wasn’t only the cruelty; it was the stripping of humanity by human beings from human beings. Slavery declared, “you do not exist unless I say you exist” and this mindset gave slave traders, buyers and owners the green light to commit whatever atrocity they desired to.
Slavery did not begin in pre- Civil War America. It is a curse that has haunted civilization from ancient history and has passed from one generation to the next. Tragically, young America did not escape this curse. In spite of being transported in grievous conditions, examined from head to toe, bought and sold, kept in chains and driven by whips and prods like beasts, animals were treated with more care and dignity than human slaves were. Researching the methods used to maintain control of slaves is enough to cause the staunchest heart to shudder.
With debate swirling around monuments of the Confederacy and their impact on our society today, it is time that we examine current methods of dehumanizing that are occurring and consider our role in bringing them to an end. While these crimes against humanity are international, we Americans can at least begin to put an end to them in our own neighborhoods, towns and country. Consider sex-trafficking, for example.
“This is not only a dominant issue, it’s an epidemic issue,” Cindy McCain, who chairs the McCain Institute’s Human Trafficking Advisory Council said. “It’s also something that is hiding in plain sight. It’s everywhere—it’s absolutely everywhere.” Globally, human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry and a form of modern day slavery. Human beings are bought and sold and forced to perform at the whims and fancies of other people. Women and children are drugged, tortured and kept in miserable conditions in order to strip them of their dignity.
“But the best way to end sex trafficking, activists say, is preventing it. Making sure our prosecutors, judges, schools, doctors, first responders, are trained on what to look for and what to do when they see human trafficking, is the most important piece of combatting it, said McCain—but that can be harder than it sounds.” In order to bring down this criminal Goliath, we all need to get involved.
We cannot move forward in our investigation of human cruelty and tragedy without pausing to consider the slaughter of unborn children. Abolitionists sought to educate the populace about the humanity of slaves, something we consider with wonder today. Wasn’t it obvious that the men, women and children in chains were men, women and children in chains? As Shylock in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice questioned, “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh?” Life in a person seems obvious, until it is inconvenient for another. Just as acknowledging the rights of the slave on the buyer’s block would cut into the profits of the seller, so would legitimizing the life of the unborn child affect the abortion industry. With approximately 125,000 abortions occurring per day in the United States, with the price of an abortion being as high as $1,000, there is little wonder why the abortion industry is a multimillion dollar one, and this doesn’t even include the profit from the sales of fetal tissue.
Arguments in favor of abortion declare the new life as nothing more than “a blob of tissue,” in spite of the fact that the tiny heart is beating a mere four weeks after conception. Other arguments concede that the fetus is a human life but that the mother’s life is of more value, and then they proceed to pull apart the tiny body, label and count arms and legs, and identify tiny organs. It is argued that the abortion industry is all in the best interest of women, that women have the right to determine what happens to their bodies while baby body parts are sold to the highest bidder and clients are left with the physical and emotional scars of their choice.
If separate DNA, a beating heart, a developed nervous system, and tiny fingernails and fingerprints aren’t proof of life, what about a tiny body desperately trying to squirm away from the suction tube and forceps that will pull it apart? If we can harden our hearts to these actions, and live contentedly with these actions being committed in our communities, then tell me how we are different from those who denied the humanity of the slave woman having her child wrenched from her breast two centuries ago?
As we decry the grim darkness of the past, let us determine to speak where our forefathers were silent; to move when our past leaders stood still; to act when previous generations did nothing; and to live in such a way that our descendants will not look back upon us with shame.