Saturday, August 2, 2008

Stand in line for your government apology

You probably never heard of T.D. "Daddy" Rice, but he is responsible for "Jim Crow" laws. Actually, not the laws themselves but the label they have. Ironically, "Daddy" was a white person, not a "person of color", but he played one on the stage. We are not allowed to use the term now but he did so while in "blackface" during the mid-1800s.

After many previous attempts, the forces of righteousness finally mustered sufficient number of voices to pass a resolution apologizing to African-Americans for slavery and the era of Jim Crow. The nonbinding resolution passed on a voice vote; it was introduced by Rep. Steve Cohen, a white lawmaker who represents a majority black district in Memphis, Tennessee.

For those who went to school before the era of political correctness and therefore did not learn these facts, "Jim Crow," or Jim Crow laws, were state and local laws enacted mostly in the Southern and border states of the United States between the 1870s and 1965, when African-Americans say they were denied the right to vote and other civil liberties and were legally segregated from whites. The legally segregated part is a matter of public record and was clearly unjust. Denial of voting rights however rest on the premise that requiring voters to meet certain requirements applicable to all voters is somehow improper. To the extent denying access to public institutions is a denial of civil rights, as now defined, such acts are properly labeled.

In passing the resolution "the House acknowledged" the "injustice, cruelty, [and] brutality" sustained by blacks in the past. Blacks were singled out in this instance because Congress apparently believes no other people have been subjected to "injustice, cruelty, [and] brutality" in the past.

The resolution states that "the vestiges of Jim Crow continue to this day":

"African-Americans continue to suffer from the consequences of slavery and Jim Crow -- long after both systems were formally abolished -- through enormous damage and loss, both tangible and intangible, including the loss of human dignity and liberty, the frustration of careers and professional lives, and the long-term loss of income and opportunity."

Passage of the resolution because "African-Americans continue to suffer from the consequences of slavery …" requires us to believe that the Civil Rights Laws (passed only because Republicans supported the legislation since Democrats were opposed but now get the credit for these laws), have had no impact and that in the year 2008 the battle for civil rights has been lost. We must also believe there is a need for a congressional resolution of apology despite the trillions of dollars spent in the "war on poverty" declared by Lyndon Johnson. Some members of the African-American community have called on lawmakers to give cash payments or other financial benefits to descendents of slaves as compensation for the suffering caused by slavery.

It is fashionable for those living in the 21st century to apologize for wrongs committed in past centuries by others as long as the "victims" are members of a protected class. Thus, in April the Senate passed a resolution that apologized to Native Americans for "the many instances of violence, maltreatment and neglect." [I wonder if the Indian Nations will also pass a resolution apologizing for the many early settlers massacred by them in the effort to build our country.] In 1993 the Senate also passed a resolution apologizing for the "illegal overthrow" of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893. [By the way, who overthrew the King of Hawaii; was it the United States?] Congress passed an act apologizing to the 120,000 Japanese-Americans who were held in detention camps during World War II. The 60,000 detainees who were alive at the time each received $20,000 from the government. [I suspect 3rd and 4th generations of black ancestors who lived during the "Jim Crow" era will soon be getting checks paid for by you and me.]

As you might expect, Democrat messiah Barack Obama was quick to praise the House-passed resolution of apology to African-Americans. However to maximize political capitol Obama referred to the need to apologize to Indians as well. Obama evidently was not present for the vote in April apologizing to Indians or his handlers forgot this fact when he spoke to a group of minority journalists and said the country should acknowledge its history of poor treatment of certain ethnic groups.

"There's no doubt that when it comes to our treatment of Native Americans as well as other persons of color in this country, we've got some very sad and difficult things to account for. "I personally would want to see our tragic history, or the tragic elements of our history, acknowledged."

Obama did not stop at expressing approval of the idea we all should apologize to African-Americans and Indians, he set the stage for the next step to be undertaken during his presidency.

"I consistently believe that when it comes to whether it's Native Americans or African-American issues or reparations, the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds."

The audience of black journalists thought this is a good idea; they leapt to their feet and applauded enthusiastically in the McCormick Center, probably in part for the prospect of being paid for their skin color.

Reparations! In addition to all his other spending proposals, Obama wants to make a gift to African-American alive today for "the sins of the past." Somehow paying money will absolve the country for slavery and other mistreatments suffered by their ancestors. If monetary reimbursements should be paid for past abuses, we will have to open the treasury and Fort Knox because African-Americans are not the only people who have been abused by our government – how about the tax payers?

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