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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 9/14/09

The Key To Uncle Tom's Cabin, White Trash and Joe Wilson

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A scourge stalks this land. It has been with us since our infancy. It is wretched, horrible and terrifying. It doesn't feel pity, pain or remorse. It will not disappear if we ignore it; it will grow stronger. Unlike Voldemort, naming it does not give it strength. Quite the opposite. Harriet Beecher Stowe knew that.

Armed with her faith in the goodness of Man she looked the American Medusa in the face and lived to tell the tale. When Uncle Tom's Cabin was savagely attacked, her detractors called her depiction of slavery a lie. To rebut these charges, she wrote a second book The Key To Uncle Tom's Cabin. This book examined each of her major characters and documented real life examples for all of them.

The title of Part III, Chapter X popularized a term she did not invent. The title of that chapter is "Poor White Trash" and its as politically relevant today as it was when Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote it in 1854.

Ever charitable, ever striving for the best among us, Stowe wanted to believe we could aim higher and be that shining city on the hill Washington imagined before her and Reagan invoked after her.

WHEN the public sentiment of Europe speaks in tones of indignation of the system of American slavery... The apologists of slavery have pointed England to her own poor...It is a poor defence for America to say to older countries, "We are no worse than you are." She ought to be infinitely better.

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For starters, I am not the Henry Porter who writes for the Observer in Britain. I'm a native New Yorker living in Maryland. I used to believe knowledge was power. Now I know knowledge translated into action is power.
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