For one of my final papers I have been given this fascinating scenario to consider:
Aliens come to earth. They make America an offer for a trade. They will offer us amazing technology that will allow the nation to wipe out its national debt, clean up the environment (until its restored to its original pristine condition), and develop a source of cheap, clean, inexhaustible energy (that, presumably, would secure America’s position as a world economic, military, social, and cultural powerhouse for decades well into the future). The only thing they ask is for America to give them all of its citizens of African descent.
The offer from the aliens is compelling, and it’s debated. There are pros and cons for trading all of America’s black people for such great technology and the sure promise of a bright and prosperous future. A national referendum whereby people vote via telephone in the privacy of their own homes leads America to make a decision.
Do we make the trade or not?
We were given the question to consider on the 1st day of class knowing this would be our final project. On the first day, I said “yes, absolutely, America would trade us away in a hot second…even the Christians.” As the class moved on I got hopeful. Seeing how deplorable life was for slaves and then seeing hope and change made me reconsider that perhaps the majority of this place could pull together to make a decision of integrity. After all, what other nation in the entire world would relinquish an institution of slavery that was so deeply imbedded in the foundation of our country and in which produced a massive amount of wealth & world domination? No other nation. There are many, many reasons why America would not make the trade.
On the other hand, one could argue -looking only at history- not at who has “white friends” one could make a solid case that America has pursued its wealth, comfort and national security always at the direct expense of another people group. Consider just a few of the people groups we have historically bullied: (and that is a giant understatement)…
-The Native Americans were brutally removed from their own land.
-The Africans were kidnapped & taken across the globe to be used in cruel & deplorable chattel slavery & a lifetime of bonded servitude.
-The birth of our very own terrorist movement, the Ku Klux Klan was backed by those in power making life for the early freed slaves a living nightmare. All the while blacks had to fight tooth-n-nail for basic human rights: voting, marriage, justice, freedom from lynchings & terror, right down to being able to sit on the same bench as a white man, let alone go to the same school or live in the same neighborhoods.
-Over 120,000 Japanese-Americans were forced into internment camps set up in America after the bombing of Pearl Harbor because people were filled with hysteria.Our country has been founded on bullying, tyranny, theft and murder. We are a giant 400 year experiment started by a teeny tiny country who had a big dream of making half the world their own, at any cost –to anyone.
Honestly, I’m hard press to believe that for the right amount of money & success we would not -yet again- sell our souls to the devil to keep the American dream alive. For God & country we’d say! For hope in humanity! The justifications would roll in and sound so sweet it would become ridiculous not to take the offer, we’d say. I believe in the total depravity of man. We are capable of profound evil and there is no temptress as sexy as wealth & power –especially on a mass scale.
Needless to say, I’m concluding for my paper, sadly, that I believe right down to the bottom of my heart that America would make the trade. After all my research, I cannot conclude any differently. We have only advanced in certain matters. After all, we still largely ignore the needs of the world and the ones who actually get into our country illegally we try to toss out like old trash. Even Christians ideas and standards on immigration leaves me cold. Why have we forgotten that human beings are human beings no matter where they were born? My disappointment and disillusionment with our treatment of the world’s poor runs so deep. I’m convinced Americans are the most selfish, greedy mugs on the planet.
I wish I had more hope in humanity. More hope in the powers that be. More hope in America. But I don’t. I hope in God, which is about as much hope as I can afford right now. Hope is costly for me.
But when it comes to this “great nation,” I have hit the point of no return. As they say in the movies, “I know too much,” about the stories that are buried deep underneath lies and faulty elementary school teachers who taught us that Native Americans were called “Indians” who shook hands with Christopher Columbus while they ate a big turkey & had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner. (I wonder if that was before or after they gave them the diseased filled blankets?).
For the millions and million and millions of people who have been displaced, grouped, groped, raped, molested, pillaged, brutally murdered and carted off for this place that we call America, it was NOT worth it. America is not worth all the blood that was unnecessarily shed. (The bigger question is: is any conquest worth displacing millions of people for? How about war?) May God help me if my indignation is not righteous.
What do you think? Disagree? Would America make the trade?