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Letter to the Editor by Gary Swing
On Groundhog Day, every Republican US Representative (and most Democrats) voted in unison to proclaim: “We Are All Individuals!” They marched in lockstep to publicly denounce the “Horrors of Socialism,” failing to see the shadow that slavery cast over their hypocrisy. While there is an element of truth behind House Concurrent Resolution 9, the resolution itself was absurd for several reasons.
1) False equivalence: By denouncing “socialism in all its forms,” House Concurrent Resolution 9 falsely equates the brutal totalitarian communist regimes of Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot with the democratic socialism of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. This nonsensical extreme right wing posturing equates social welfare programs with mass murder. For this reason alone, a sane person could only vote NO on the resolution. Yet the US House of Representatives passed it on a vote of 328 to 86. There is not one sane individual Republican member of Congress today
2) Hypocrisy: Yes, communist regimes in the former Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, and North Korea and communist revolutionary movements have been responsible for the deaths of at least tens of millions of people. Estimates of the death toll from the “Red Holocaust” vary from 60 million to 120 million or more. However, the US Congress has no moral standing to condemn the brutality of totalitarian communism while extolling the virtues of American “individualism.” US military imperialism since the end of World War Two has been responsible for the deaths of an estimated 20 to 30 million people in dozens of victim nations. The United States was built on a foundation of genocide, slavery, colonialism, and white supremacy. Republicans are fond of the slogan “America First,” which was popularized by the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party. When they denounce crimes against humanity, they should start with the atrocities committed by America first.
3) Slavery: House Concurrent Resolution 9 falsely proclaims that “the United States of America was founded on the belief in the sanctity of the individual.” The resolution quotes slaveholders Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to spout this rubbish. The United States declared its independence as a “Slave Nation” four years after the King’s Court found that there was no legal basis to allow for the existence of slavery in England. Seventy-three percent of the rich white men who signed the Declaration of Independence were slaveholders. Ten of the first twelve US Presidents were slaveholders. When the US Constitution defined a slave as three fifths of a person, eighteen percent of the US population was enslaved. James Madison, the Founding Slaver known as the “Father of the Constitution,” argued that government should “protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.”
The US Constitution was designed in secret by a handful of rich white men, predominantly slaveholders, to preserve their own wealth and power. A nation founded on slavery and genocide is not a nation founded on a “belief in the sanctity of the individual.”