First Place On-Air Editorial Award 1996, New York State

Associated Press

Gary Earl Ross

WBFO-FM Commentary

Time Required 2:30

First Broadcast: June 4, 1996

Pinkham Ross was my great-great grandfather, a slave who

became a South Carolina land owner. Thanks to a recent speech

written by Republican state senator Charles Davidson of Alabama,

I learned how misplaced my pride was in old Pinkham. I now know

that slavery was a kinder, gentler institution than history would

have us believe.

"Nowhere on Earth were servants better treated or better

loved than they were in the Old South by slave owners," Davidson

writes. If slavery is such a venerable heritage sanctioned by

God, as Davidson tells us, why not reinstitute it to address

modern social concerns?

Servitude could replace the three percent of the federal

budget that forms the so-called safety net. Instead of signing

up for assistance, the poor, unemployed, and otherwise dependent

would sell themselves into bondage. There'd be no need for

welfare, affirmative action, or a minimum wage. The proprietor

of the Burger Box would staff his franchise with his slaves, as

would other small business owners. Corporate profits would soar

and downsizing disappear if companies had no wages to pay. Crime

would vanish in the absence of a cash flow. Illegal aliens might

think twice about sneaking into a country that forced them into

labor without pay when they could actually make a dollar back


Standardized testing in public schools could be used to

track appropriate students into servitude preparation programs.

Thus, anyone could be a slave. Descendants of slaves could own

descendants of slave masters. Nor would modern slaveholding be

the province of the gentry. Garages all over America could be

converted into space-heated cabins large enough to accommodate

six. Divorce would decline, since husbands would be less apt to

work late, except perhaps in the garage.

It's hard to imagine any profession that would fail to

benefit. Employment agencies could convert to Slaves R Us

auction barns. Talented slaves could be put to use in legal,

medical, and business offices. Of course, legislators would have

to draft a new Fugitive Slave Law and threaten Canada and Mexico

with sanctions for harboring our runaways. But mental health

practices would flourish as more doctors treated drapetomania, a

mental disorder first identified in the 19th Century and applied

exclusively to slaves crazy enough to seek freedom.

Sadly, Charles Davidson has given up his run for the U.S.

House of Representatives. Too bad. There is probably a place

for him in a Congress determined to restore America to the glory

it enjoyed before the liberals took over. A return to the Good

Old Days of the Antebellum South should make everybody happy.

Right, Pinkham? Right.

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