With all the ongoing uproar over practically any-and-every thing reminiscent of the “Old South” and the Confederacy, plus longstanding concerns over potentially offending any of our fellow Americans who are of African ancestry, I find myself no longer able to remain uninvolved in the public discussion.

Unlike so many individuals presently so visible in print publications and on the airwaves of radio and television, I make no claim to being the smartest guy the Good Lord ever strung a gut through, but I also maintain the concept that I am not nearly as stupid as I sometimes get credit for being. For all practical purposes, I am basically just an ordinary average guy (to borrow a line from a Joe Walsh tune occasionally heard on the radio), albeit one who has grown weary of the ongoing efforts to remove practically everything which could be considered a reminder of the Confederacy and the institution of slavery in America.

Apparently, slavery in other parts of the world still taking place today is of little or no concern to those so bent on erasing any reminder that American history ever happened.

To be clear, I am not of African ancestry. I am also not a white supremacist. I admit to having grown up during the time when few people could have envisioned the level of “racial harmony” we presently experience. I also admit to not always having had the best possible attitude but I believe a lot of us have grown and matured since that time. I would wager that the majority of people (black or white) currently so disturbed over “racial inequality issues” have no real concept of what once was common. Many of them, with no other avenue for feeling “useful to Society,” likely have simply elected to support a “cause” which, I feel, is primarily perpetuated by a relative few so-called prominent “leaders” seeking to benefit, mostly financially, from keeping the argument alive.

I have occasionally wondered what might be the current “dividing force” had there never been the institution of slavery in America. There would no doubt be something for people to have a national argument about. I do not agree with the concept of enslaving another person. I cannot undeniably state that I would have held the same conviction had I lived a century or two earlier when times were different, but this brings me to a point that occurred to me several years ago.

I have never undertaken the task of tracing my ancestry, although I have been told that my first ancestors to come to America were from Scotland. I have no idea what kind of life they were leaving behind or, for that matter, what life was like trying to survive in a new land with little or no “benefits” beyond what a lot of hard work could provide. However, considering that I can’t play the bagpipes and don’t like the idea of wearing a dress (or whatever that thing is), I am happy that the decision was made and the hardships endured by the first of my family to come to America.

Some might wonder how that relates, in any way to slavery. I feel that it would be much more productive and beneficial for all of us to stop listening to all the professional complainers who continue to bring up the long defunct institution of slavery, mostly for their own personal exploitative benefit, and consider another outlook. Just as no one currently living ever owned a slave during the 19th century or before, no one currently living has ever been a slave under that same institution.

It occurs to me that, if not for those former slaves being brought to America, albeit it likely under different circumstances than my ancestor(s), the lives of millions of Americans (who happen to be of African ancestry) today likely would be very different. If not for the first of all our ancestors to arrive in America, regardless of how they got here, I contend that many of us, black and white, would be living in another country, if we were living at all.

For whatever it might be worth, I suggest we all take another look at history and be thankful that whatever was responsible for that first ancestor coming to America, something, no matter what it was, happened to set in motion the series of events that led to our being born in America rather than in whichever country our ancestors were originally from.

Even with all our problems, can anyone truly believe that there is a better place on Earth to be living right now?

Fred Pittman


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