Yesterday I saw a depiction of the Joshua Glover story on an underpass in Milwaukee, and it got me thinking.
For those of you who don't know the Glover story, he was a runaway slave who was captured in Wisconsin and jailed in Milwaukee. Law at the time was that his owner could retrieve him. Anyway, a large contingent of people from Racine went to Milwaukee and freed Joshua Glover.
It is a great story, but why is it receiving so much attention lately? The reason, I surmise, is that it allows us to bask in a feeling of moral superiority. We, the people of Wisconsin, recognized the evil of slavery, and we did something about it. Aren't we grand?
They were, we aren't. The Racinians who freed Joshua Glover knew right from wrong, and they acted accordingly. Could we do the same today? I doubt it. Many of the evils of the world are excused away as cultual differences. We should be more tolerant and understanding. Who are we to judge?
Many of us have lost the ability to judge right from wrong. We are paralyzed as a result. We will not confront evil because of our fear and uncertainty.
But we wish it wasn't so, so we use Joshua Glover to mask our present day impotence.