Modern Slavery in America

We often reflect on the slavery issue our country has struggled to get past. We have books, movies, and even days to remember the struggles. But, as I look around and meet with people I see new forms of slavery in the most prosperous country in the world.

  1. Debt – The debt crisis has overtaken us – and many have become totally enslaved to serving their debt. Their solution to get out is often a more creative slavery relationship through refinancing or “debt-consolidation.” While I do not consider myself to be a financial counselor – I have had to dive into this area of slavery many times. Debt causes people to give up on their dreams since they can never break free from what is holding them back.
  2. Corporate America – No… I am not bashing the corporate machine in this country. But let’s face it – the Dilbert syndrome has crushed many of our desires and forced many of us into another slavery trap. We now worry about what changes are going to take place in our companies in the coming months – worrying what benefits we may lose and what jobs may go away. Like refinancing deals – we sometimes find a glimmer of hope by changing employers – at least until the reality of the new slave relationship we have just gotten into hits home.
  3. Entitlements – Our government (which is “we the people”) in our goodness to take care of our own, have in fact created slaves. I meet with people every week who have the mindset that getting free money from the government – from food stamps to free housing or free tuition – is the way to live. Yet, they are stuck. Again – one law change crushes them – or gives them hope.

Of course, you see the problem – neither debt, corporations, nor government programs are the real slave masters – we are. Something has happened in our country that has taken all the spirit away. People in NASA will often say they do not know if they can get back to the moon. The technology is better – but the spirit is missing. Could we ever prosper as a nation if we found times of struggle again? Have we become so soft? In all three cases of modern American slavery, we have given up our freedom, hope, and future by taking the easy way out.

Not to be a pessimist though – we can take back control. As I look at my own life and those around me – I think we have lost personal discipline and at the same time we have become too self-centered in society. But who can change that in our culture? I do not think anyone can – but I can change me, and you can change you. No more being a slave because it is the easy thing to do.