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George should be like Washington, not Custer

Fred Stewart

Dear Editor,

You’ve got to be tough to be an American. Anyone who touches her shores has truly found a “new world.” Mankind was given a chance to build a “New Eden.” Incidents run very deep and sinister in our history concerning the subversion of two peoples: the Indians and the Negroes. Both these groups threatened the sovereignty of the more numerous European immigrants.

In the case of the Indians, land was taken. In the case of Negroes, human rights were taken. Both were necessary for the emergence of America. Jealousy and Envy, two of the Deadly Sins, are responsible. Both traits are common among all races. As they apply to America, folly and prudence reign.

Negroes, as physical, sexual, mental, spiritual specimens equal or exceed any other race. If “bigger is better,” and the meaning is slurred, a pejorative word emerges that tries to deny the fact. Hanging and enslavement is the final ironic twist. The fact is, Negroes were treated as equals in the earliest colonial times. They held land and were part of the early force of American domesticity. The rest we know.

In the case of Indians, it’s obvious. Just by outside presence, someone else’s homeland is invaded. They were here first. It’s what came last in this case that is the most telling. The Black Hills sit on an ocean of prairie. This “island” of sacred ground was granted to Indians as a refuge, a reservation. Gold was found there and the Indians were driven off. Ticked off and contrary, it was these Indians that Custer wished to whip into shape. The rest we know.

Should we make reparations for human failing? What would be required to give back in value of labor to the Blacks would pale for what we would have to give back in value for land to the Indians. No, nothing should be given back, other than the rights of human beings. In our hearts, in our minds, in our souls. In our sacred honor. Priceless.

Are we giving “freedom and equality” lip service, and buying our freedom? We are, if we use the same arguments in the world as we used on our own peoples. So, what have we learned?

Notice we are one people? Notice, too, that somewhere the United States became singular? The United States “is,” rather than the United States “are.”

Consciousness that we have wider responsibilities seems trite. We do. It’s when we get into the real world that it’s difficult. The learning process has been paid in lives and blood. Unless this is taken to heart, nuclear weapons will trump human weakness. We won’t have time or indifference to learn as we did before. We need an administration in Washington whose leaders emulate George Washington rather than George Custer.

Fred Stewart

Glenwood Springs


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