We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
(Note to our non-American readers: today we celebrate Columbus Day in the USA. Had he sailed in the service of his homeland, the Republic of Genoa, the language of much of the New World would be Italian instead of Spanish. An interesting detail is that he never acknowledged that he had found a new continent.)
If Columbus had not carried some shoots of sugar cane from the Canary Islands to the West Indies on his second voyage, somebody else would have, eventually.
(Sugar cane, a grass, is native to some Pacific Islands, but it spread to India and then around the warm parts of the world. Sugar is good.)
The West Indies proved to be a good place to grow sugarcane. Once the natives were wiped out in hard labor on the Spanish and French cane plantations, importing slaves from Africa was economically sensible if morally indefensible. Thus began the slave trade to the New World and, eventually, the cane/molasses/rum/slave circuit.
We visited Columbus' nice house on Grand Canaria in Las Palmas last fall. By sailing ship, of all things. It is still a nice big handsome house.
Cane is still grown to some extent on the Canaries, and they are proud of their rum, Arehucas.
The first slaves were brought from Ireland, but with their fair complexions they could not handle the tropical climate, so over time were replaced by African slaves, although African slaves cost much more than Irish slaves.
We do not have it here in Canada. I know the day is controversial as Columbus was involved in the slave trade. However, he was a man of his times. In future years, we will be criticized for not at first, endorsing gay marriage, or the legalization of Marijuana.
Therefore, as compensation, the U.S. must strive to make the descendants of those slave's lives far better than it would be if they still lived in their ancestral homeland. Then their forebearers can take comfort in knowing their sacrifice was not for nothing.
On some holiday- believe it was July 4th- an employee at a coop grocery store wore a handwritten T-shirt bewailing the myriad sins of the European invasions of the US. As she was a blonde, it would appear that all or nearly all - her ancestors participated in those invasions. She did not react kindly to my suggestion that if she had that opinion, she should return to the land of her ancestors instead of living off the spoils of the European invasions here in the US.