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OVERVIEW: Around the world, 1 billion people earn about a $1 a day. Millions are also sold into slavery even though this is the 21st Century. America is not exempt from slaves. Tens of thousands of slaves exist in this country as sex and domestic slaves, forced into acts and labor that rob them of their freedom. But then we have many more millions who are slaves to their political prejudice and bigotry, who consider America a land of slave masters and the people nothing more than indentured servants. Who's right?

GROUND ZERO PLUS 1087 DAYS--New York, NY, Wednesday, September 1, 2004--Slavery isn't dead, it's just not easily recognizable. That's the theme of a story today in the Christian Science Monitor reminding the world that slavery exists just as it did not long ago in America, and, that it's growing.

Forced labor is used for work in Multan, Pakistan
Forced labor is sometimes used for work in Multan, Pakistan, where women earn $2 for 1,000 bricks. If they are debt laborers, their pay can never meet the debt owed

The Monitor reports that nearly 30 million slaves exist today, more than ever before in history based on sheer numbers, but is the lowest percentage in relation to total population. There are more than 6 billion people on the globe today.

The majority of these "slaves" are bonded workers, the Monitor reports, from India, Pakistan and Nepal. To pay off debts these people virtually "sell" themselves or are "sold" to others. The catch is they never work off their debt because their "owners" cook the books, insuring they don't ever get out of debt.

Then there are the sex and domestic slaves smuggled into various countries, including America. Illegal immigrants are forced to surrender their freedom either for sex or labor. Between 14-17,000 people are illegally trafficked into America each year, and a conservative 80,000 "slaves" are in some form of bondage either in domestic, labor or sex.

The modern definition of slavery goes back over 75 years: "Slavery is the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised" (Slavery Convention of the League of Nations, 1926).

South Korean women were held as sex slaves in WWII
South Korean Women were held as sex slaves during World War II

There are many forms of slavery. Globally, one billion people earn only $1 a day. Poverty is a form of slavery.

Another form of slavery is debt itself. Americans are reported to have more household debt than disposable income. The average credit card holder has more than $8,000 in debt at an interest rate that seems impossible to ever pay.

America's savings rate is the lowest in our history.

Bottom line, the question is--Are we slaves to our own debt? Are we "bonded servants" to our desires to have now and pay later?

Most of us don't have to rush to the statistical pages of Google to verify this fact. All we have to do is look at our bills and our income to agree that we are "slaves" to debt.

We are self-imposed slaves. This is a major difference from those who may not have a choice to buy something now and pay for it the rest of their lives. But, the impact is the same.

Our lives can become bondage to paying off our debts
Our lives can become bondage to paying off our debts

Our lives become bondage to paying off our debts. Those around us suffer because our first concern is making enough money, not loving enough, caring enough, or living enough. The result is a tension and alienation from our children and our own sense of worth because we know we cannot afford to "let up" or our ship will sink.

There is another form of slavery we subject ourselves to that is perhaps more deadly than debt.

That is political slavery.

We begin to see the world as oppressors and victims, as slave owners and slaves. In New York City, the world is watching the Republican Convention being hailed by New Yorkers--eighty-percent of which are Democrats--as a group of "slave drivers" abusing the nation and forcing everyone under their control to do what isn't good for the nation.

Like Spartacus, many of the protestors feel they are leading as "slave" revolution. Yesterday, was anarchist day in New York. More than 1,000 were arrested as they broke down barriers and tried to enter secure areas. They were hoping the world would see them as the poor, oppressed slaves trying to roust freedom from the horrible Republican Romans who feast on their sweat and toil.

Unfortunately, there are many who believe that America is divided along slave and slave-holder lines.

The political world is cleaved in such a manner as to suggest the upcoming election will be about the oppressed versus the oppressor, while the true enemy, Terrorism, slips through the cracks.

Political slavery is more deadly than debt
Political slavery is more deadly than debt

What strikes me about this is that Terrorism is all about enslaving one's mind into one singular belief and trying to promote that narrow-minded view onto others.

Americans are the freest nation on earth. They are far from being slaves politically or economically, yet so many act as though they were members of a third-world country.

Economic debt is the result of irresponsible money management. Political debt is about narrow mindedness, an excessive expenditure into what is wrong rather than trying to make things better.

I find it difficult to speak with protesters and extreme liberals because they have become enslaved in the belief that a certain group, such as the Republicans and especially George Bush, is an evil slave owner who want to put their children in chains and make them pick cotton until their fingers bleed.

Vigilance isn't about spewing venom onto the world. It's about doing what is right for our children's futures, and their children's futures.

It means that we must be open not closed to options, and seek the best of the best not the worst of the worst.

Slavery of opinion is running wild in NYC handcuffing the minds of many
Slavery of opinion is running wild in New York City handcuffing the minds of many

I see slavery running wild in New York. I see the slavery of opinion handcuffing the minds of many into such a frenzy they become blinded to any sunlight that might shine through the darkness.

This blindness gives refuge to the Beast of Terror, for the more we attack one another and manacle ourselves, the more freedom we give the Beast of Terror to prepare for his next attack.

It's time to break the bonds of Slavery.

Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke about unity at the Republic Convention. He came here as an immigrant, worked hard, and has risen to the top of political and economic acclaim as the Governor of California and lead speaker of the Republican convention.

Schwarzenegger is a Hercules symbolizing how to break the chains of slavery

If there is a Hercules who symbolizes how to break the chains of slavery it is Arnold. And, he's a Republican--perhaps a new breed of them. But the protestors don't see that. All they see is their own hatred and their own restraints they have put on themselves and their children--victims of oppression.

The only true oppression, the only true slave master that exists is our narrow-mindedness. If we are to attack a true enemy, it must be the one we see in the mirror that is so busy hating and opposing that it has no time to build and reinforce.

End Slavery. Take the Pledge of Vigilance.

Go To Yesterday's Story: "The New York Protest March--Teaching Children To Hate"


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