Very few people would argue against the 13th Amendment. Despite the difficulty in passing it in 1865 (which was the whole plot for the Oscar winning movie, “Lincoln”), it basically obliterated slavery in our country for all time. When the Civil War ended, one of the pre-conditions for re-admission to the union was that the Confederate states had to accept the 13th (Freedom for the slaves), 14th (Equal Protection, Birthright Citizenship and Due Process) and 15th (Right to Vote) Amendments.
Now, it’s been a long time since the Civil War when these were passed, and as what always happens when people don’t live under oppression, some people don’t appreciate what benefits such a world provides. So when Kanye appeared at the Oval Office this week trying to make the argument for abolishing the 13th Amendment, he kind of set a standard for one of the most idiotic things said by a celebrity. So we thought it would be worthwhile to write something outlining why the 13th Amendment is important, and why Kanye should appreciate it a little more.
The 13th Amendment states:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
So basically, you can’t be a slave. Period. It’s that simple really. The one exception for “involuntary servitude” is conviction of a crime. This guaranteed freedom for all slaves following the Civil War’s conclusion and ensured that everyone, for any work done, was paid for it. Chris Rock once said that a minimum wage was just your boss’s way of saying that if he could pay you less he would. The 13th Amendment says that you have to get paid SOMETHING for your work, and that you can’t be forced to work against your will.
So when Kanye argues that we should get rid of the 13th Amendment, he is making the (insane) argument that people should 1) be forced back to work against their will and 2) not get paid for it. Think about that a second.
While many would love the idea of Kanye being plucked from celebrity to work on a pig farm in Kansas, forced to shovel pig manure from now until he dies, for no pay, far from the cameras he loves, most (sane) people recognize that this is a horrible, oppressive outcome and against the values that made America great. Anyone should be able to choose what they want to do for a living, and consequently get paid for the work they choose to do.
Slavery is an absolute evil. Kanye arguing against that gives you everything you need to know about his level of intelligence and his values. By saying the “13th Amendment is a trap door” he is utterly failing to recognize opening the possibility of forcing generations of Americans INTO slavery is the actual trap.