Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Seriously? Over 760,000 Coloradans Still Want to Preserve Slavery - What Gives?

Image result for Colorado slavery cartoon images

As I wrote in  the post on the Dem blue wave midterm  success, a majority of voters supported the ballot measure,  Amendment A,   to ban slavery in the state.    The bad news, 35 percent of Colorado voters did not. The question considered in this post:  Why the hell not?  The.formal ballot question as it appeared on our ballot was:

"Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado Constitution  that prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime and thereby prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude in all circumstances."

At first blush the question admittedly appeared preposterous, given as The Denver Post Voter's Guide put it  (in the case against):  "Slavery and involuntary servitude are already illegal so the change would be merely symbolic"   

Most people - not just Colorado citizens-  still believe the question was settled after the Civil War.  And despite the Post's  "meh" take, enormous loopholes remained in the language - enough to drive a metaphorical Mack Truck through.  While the 13th amendment of the U.S. Constitution  abolished most forms of slavery when ratified in 1865, it still left loopholes - namely for involuntary servitude.

 This was in the form of punishment as integrated into forced labor programs in the nation's penal institutions. It especially became useful as many private corporations realized they could save big bucks on labor by getting prison labor, i.e. slave labor for little or no pay. Or if you prefer, "indentured servitude".

Thus, such servitude was fully allowed provided "it serve as punishment for a crime, where the party shall have been duly convicted."  In other words, break the law and you could end up in a prison where you're either breaking rocks for eight to ten hours a day as a slave, or working for a corporation making mittens for 10 cents a day. Slave labor. Indentured servitude. 

Incredibly, with the final tally in, the results showed 766, 218  voters in our state still wanted slavery, vs.  1, 452, 806 who voted to abolish it by changing the language in the Constitution.    

Jumoke Emery, director of the campaign for ProgressNow, and creator of the 'Abolish Slavery'  Colorado campaign told the WSJ  4 weeks ago that most people are shocked when informed that the 13th amendment didn't outlaw slavery in every circumstance. He noted that:

"the language in both the state and U.S. constitutions are a remnant of a more painful time in the country's past."

According to Nathan Woodliff-Stanley, director of the ACLU of Colorado. the Amendment had broad bipartisan support, an hence the 65-35  "big win".    However, that still leaves us to account for the 35 percent of knuckle draggers and throwbacks in the state.

According to The Colorado Independent, many observers were "dismayed" but not surprised.  Just like other purple states, or ones that have recently swung blue, there are plenty of yahoos mainly in the less developed areas (which happens to be 26 counties where the voters wanted to keep the Amendment unchanged) . They insisted: "If ya do the crime, ya do the time". Time here meaning not only incarceration but working 12 hours a day for nothing,  or a pittance.

According to The Independent, quoting activist Hassan Latif:

I think it says what a lot of the political landscape is echoing across the country.  And that is that some people are very comfortable with the way things are and not so much how they should be. … It’s part of people’s ignorance just reflected in their votes against (Amendment A), and it’s very unfortunate that we’re still dealing with the question in 2018.”

This is, again, nothing short of incredible given this is 2018, not 1918.  On the other hand, a primary reason the proposition passed this time as opposed to 2 years ago is likely because of many more Millennial voters who've moved to our state ('Exit Right, Please', Denver Post, Nov. 11. p. 1D)  which also helped set up the statewide "blue tsunami" that "showed scores of Republicans the door".   And may again, in 2020 if they keep banging the drum for Dotard.

Far more generous than many of us - who tend to write off the 'keep slavery' folk as uneducated yokels and mean spirited rednecks,  Jumoke Emery offers three theories:

1) Voters were confused about the language, unsure if it included community service and work release,

2) Genuine hard - assed knuckle draggers who just like punitive forms of indentured servitude and slavery,  or

3)  Those who desire to continue the institutionalization of slavery in any form 

Well,  could have fooled me. I thought the end vote would be at least 90-10 to change the language.   I also still believe there is no "language misunderstanding"  and the racist maggots that voted not to change the language are no better than KKK vermin who - during Obama's tenure-  put up images of Michelle Obama being a whipped slave, e.g.
Image result for obama lynched images

So I put these backward CO voters in the same category, and also likely dedicated, semi-educated Trumpies.  (Trump in 2016: "I like the poorly educated!")  Hell, probably the vindictive oldsters I overhead at the BK the other morning were among this sorry lot.  Besides, the bastards actually acted out to terrify Mr. Emery. As reported in The Independent:

"On Monday afternoon, Election Day eve, he got a call from his wife, telling him to hurry home from work. Someone or some group, had set a bunch of pro-Amendment A brochures on fire on the front porch of the Emery home in Denver’s Hilltop neighborhood. It was still smoldering when his wife discovered it.Emery, who is black, likened the incident to a cross-burning.

“This brand of racialized terrorism, and the legacy of slavery and the fear campaigns that were run for decades and continue to be run, haven’t ended,” Emery said. “And it’s important that the nation sees that and understands that in the context of where we are in 2018.”

Police say they’re investigating the incident, though Emery claims the cops only seemed to take interest in the burnt brochures once local media started reporting on it."
This is the sad state the country is in right now, and it won't change until we fumigate it, starting with Trump.  As the blue wave continues to roll in, finding wins in states that Trump took two years ago (the latest being Jeff Flake's AZ state - now won by Kyrsten Sinema-  there is high hope that 2020 will be a banner year to return this nation to normal.

At that point, one can only hope the Trump Nationalist Interregnum was purely an aberration, and no further mutations will arise from its dust and ashes. 

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