Sunday, June 28, 2009

Maybe Democrats Should Pay For Slavery Reparations

The Senate voted to apologize... and it now heads to the House
The bill, which does not require Obama's signature, states that the US Congress "acknowledges the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow laws" that enshrined racial segregation at the state and local level in the United States well into the 1960s.

The Congress "apologizes to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States, for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow laws."

Roger Hedgecock wrote this interesting and condemning commentary, "Drenched in blood of slavery"

With all of this talk about apologies and slavery reparations, and in light of the US Senate vote that unanimously adopted a resolution apologizing for slavery, Hedgecock claims that the Democrats in this country should be the ones to pay reparations, as they were the proponents of slavery back in the day.

He starts off with this quote from Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, ( a lead sponsor of the resolution):
"You wonder why we didn't do it 100 years ago. It is important to have a collective response to a collective injustice."
Hedgecock says this in response to Harkin's quote:
Only after decades of public education ignoring and distorting U.S. history can such a huge lie be said with a straight face.

Senator [Harkin], you didn't do it 100 years ago because 100 years ago you Democrats were enforcing Jim Crow segregation laws, poll taxes to keep blacks from voting, and riding around in sheets and pointy hats just in case blacks didn't get the message.

You say "It's important to have a collective response" because you want to bury the origins, purposes, and historical practices of your own party.

The worst part is, Republicans in the Senate let you get away with it.

Principled Republicans knowing their history would have authored a resolution reciting the facts that the Republican Party was formed, among other reasons, to oppose slavery and that the Republican Party and its first President Abraham Lincoln responded to Southern, Democrat-led secession with a successful war that preserved the union and freed the slaves.

After Lincoln's assassination (by a Democrat), the Republican-led Congress (over the objections of the Democratic Party minority) amended the Constitution to confirm the liberation of the slaves (13th Amendment: slavery abolished), and the 14th Amendment (freed slaves are citizens equal to all citizens) and the 15th Amendment (right to vote guaranteed to freed slaves).

Southern Democrats spent the next 100 years trying to keep freed slaves down with segregation laws, poll taxes to deny the right to vote, and lynching to enforce the social order. The KKK was formed by a Democrat; no Republican has ever been a member of the KKK. This is the heritage of the Democratic Party.

In fact, the Democratic Party was formed in the first place to defend and expand slavery.

In 1840, the very first national nominating convention of the Democratic Party adopted a platform which read in part:

Resolved, That Congress has no power ... to interfere with or control the domestic institutions of the several states ... that all efforts by abolitionists ... made to induce Congress to interfere with questions of slavery ... are calculated ... to diminish the happiness of the people, and endanger the stability and permanency of the union.

Got that, Sen. Harkin? Your party was born defending slavery as necessary for the happiness of the people and threatening secession and war if slavery were challenged.

The same party platform language was used in 1844, 1848, 1852 and 1856. In 1860, the Democrat commitment to slavery took a harsher tone.

The Fugitive Slave Law was passed by Congress in 1850. This monstrous law provided that, since slaves were the personal property of their masters, runaway slaves must be returned to their owners. The law required all law enforcement officers to assist in the recapture of runaway slaves or risk a fine of $1,000 (about $100,000 in today's dollars)!

The Republican Party was formed in the 1850s in part as a political reaction to this unjust law.

In their national convention of 1860, Democrats harshly responded to certain Northern (Republican) states that were passing state laws to evade the Fugitive Slave Law by adopting a plank in the Democratic Party Platform which read:

Resolved, That the enactments of the State Legislatures to defeat the faithful execution of the Fugitive Slave Law, are hostile in character, subversive of the Constitution, and revolutionary in their effect.

Senator, your Democratic Party has much to be apologetic about on the slavery issue.


And, senator, don't tell me this is all ancient history in a lame attempt to evade the true origins of your party.

As recently as 1964, when the Senate debated the Civil Rights Act, Southern Democrats (including Al Gore's father) voted no. While Northern Democrats voted yes, their votes were not enough. The deciding votes to pass this landmark bill were provided by Sen. Everett Dirksen, R-Ill., and the Republicans.

Republicans should be proud of their heritage of liberation of the slaves and civil rights voting record.

It's Harkin and the Democrats who should apologize and pay reparations.

While no party is perfect (especially the Democrats and Republicans!), and while I may not agree with every single thing said by Hedgecock here, these are powerful words backed by some very interesting historical facts. Democrats just can't seem to get past their own guilt and want to make us all part of that guilt. Heck, my family had no part in the institution of slavery - they were all in Eastern Europe being persecuted and murdered by Democrat Socialists! - so why should I be part of any apology or reparations? I have nothing to apologize for with regard to slavery in this country. It was a shameful part of American history for sure, but we abolished it and moved on to continue to strive for equality. We have come a long way. Yet, it seems important for Democrats to keep the fires of guilt fanned. Why? Guilt is a powerful tool for them.

Guilt allows them the excuse politically to get more taxpayer money. They will always need more money to right all the so-called wrongs, which really is political speak for buying votes through giving out "free stuff" in the form of programs. Never mind promoting self reliance or teaching a man to fish, etc. The end goal is to grow government and make everyone dependent on that government.

To this day, Democrats continue to be determined to keep people, especially people of color, dependent on government. State Welfare and cradle to grave legislation are the hallmark of Progressive/Liberal ideology. People need to understand that Dependency is a form of slavery as well. Democrats are determined to make slaves out of the middle and upper middle class too. Hard working Americans fork over a good chunk of their earnings, pilfered by the government, to pay for those social programs which create more government dependency for others. We all end up as slaves. The question is when will we decide to stop being indentured servants to the State?

So while Harkin et al. want to apologize for slavery - the reality is that they are perpetuating it with the government programs that they continue to build and expand.

(Funny how they aren't so guilty or so apologetic when it comes to Native Americans, or Alaskan Inuits, etc... but then again those citizens are not such a huge voting block are they?)

Consider this:

Perpetuating racism: apology by proxy
Richard E. Ralston

Congressman Tony Hall of Ohio has proposed that the government of the United States should apologize to black Americans for pre-Civil War slavery. This is an idea easy to ridicule: if you are of mixed racial background, do you have to apologize to yourself? how do you apologize for the dead or to the dead? why stop with the 18th or 19th century? why not have the Normans apologize to the English for the events of 1066? and so on.
Unfortunately the premises — and their consequences — underlying this proposal are not humorous but evil.
1. The proposal seeks to replace individual rights with collectivism. It assumes that a person’s value and identity derive only from race, and, that what counts is what some members of your race do — or did two hundred years ago — not what you do as an individual. “The content of your character” evidently does not establish your worth anymore — but your race does.

2. The proposal seeks to replace individual responsibility with collective guilt. It assumes a specialized variety of the Christian concept of original sin: you are born guilty of specific racist actions that occurred before you were born; you must assume the burden of all the acts committed by all of your ancestors and atone for them forever. Because you are guilty you have no right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and you now will be punished. If Congressman Hall is consistent, he should also propose the revival of the old law of throwing children into debtors prison until they pay the bills of their parents.

3. The apology would encourage a culture of “victims” with a permanent claim on government. It discourages individual initiative to build autonomous lives, in favor of passive whining about the unfairness of it all. It ignores the achievements of millions of Americans who have rejected the status of “victims” and built better lives for themselves.

4. The proposal divides society into pressure groups with demands that can’t be satisfied. What you get in life, apology proponents want you to believe, should not be based on individual achievement, creativity, or hard work, but on how much pull your group has in redistributing what others produce. Self-appointed leaders of such pressure groups tend to spring up like weeds when the handouts begin.

5. The proposal distorts American history in order to destroy American values. Although the American Revolution was the greatest leap of progress in human history, the Founding Fathers did inherit a civilization with contradictions. They did not invent slavery, but they did wrestle with it. Their achievement was the creation of a system in which slavery could not — and did not — long survive. Posturing and moral exhibitionism come cheap from those who have plenty of courage to look down their noses at slavery from a safe distance of more than a century — much cheaper than the blood of the 600,000 Americans who died in the struggle to end it. If you ask the opponents of the system created by the Founding Fathers what they have in mind to replace it, you might learn that slavery is not as dead as you thought.

6. The proposal detracts from the real task of destroying racism. Racism will be with us as long as collectivism is with us. We will not cure racism short of finding a way to eliminate the collectivist view of human identity. However, we can more easily eliminate governmental racism. This can only be accomplished if government respects the rights and potential dignity of each individual and stops acting as the ward healer collecting the spoils for special interest groups.

Proposals that inflict such massive destruction — as this one would — cannot be completely innocent. (One might even say that such proposals require an apology.) If only our current politicians would apologize for what they are doing to us today — every day! When moral outrage rolls so easily off the tongues of those who spend most of their time aggressively seeking and then desperately retaining political power, the public has grounds for suspicion. The effrontery of such moral midgets attempting to apologize for the likes of George Washington or Thomas Jefferson is obscene. The American public should consign the proposed apology for slavery to the oblivion it deserves, and demand a government that has more regard for the rights of the living than for the dead.


"A stiff apology is a second insult.... The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt." ~G.K. Chesterton

"It is a good rule in life never to apologize. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them." ~P.G. Wodehouse, The Man Upstairs


Anonymous said...

Excuse me, dear politicians, but my family was NOT IN THIS COUNTRY during the time of slavery, and I have no apology to give. DO NOT take my hard-earned money for this silly reason. The African-American people that are alive today were NOT slaves, and do not deserve a dime of reparations. Our culture has sunk to a new low. Oh my.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

My ancestors were likewise in Eastern Europe, being persecuted by various political factions: Tsarists, Democratic Socialists, Christian Democrats, etc.

So. Do I deserve reparations for their suffering?

The point is, all of us can claim ancestors who suffered under oppression and tyranny. So why is some suffering worthy of reparations but other suffering is not?

Eric Holcombe said...

I expect Hedgecock to wear his Republican-colored glasses but....

If the Republican's Civil War was only about freeing the slaves, why didn't the Emancipation Proclamation free slaves in any territory they actually controlled vs. only "freeing" them in confederate areas (at that time no longer part of the country) they did not control? Why didn't Lincoln and the Republicans free their slaves since that was what the party was created for?
Why did they wait until well into the war (they were losing at the time) to do this if the war was really started to "free the slaves"?
Why wait several years after completion of the war and total obliteration of the south and its leadership to introduce the 13th and 14th amendments if this was the only intent of the war?
Would Roger consider the forcing of Lincoln's Amnesty Oath on southerners as a pre-requisite to vote a poll tax? How about a pre-requisite to marriage?

What about button laws that forced ex-confederates to sew flaps on their shirts to cover the reused buttons from their CSA uniforms (since the federal government had destroyed everything else they owned)or face being imprisoned?

What about the Republican's Freedman's Bureau that make Jessee Jackson and Al Sharpton look like mere amateur race-hustlers, literally stealing private property and governmental positions?

He really should read a first hand account of "Reconstruction" to see how the Republicans ran this country in the 19th century. He would be a lot less proud.

See "Dixie After the War" by Myrta Lockett Avary - a first-hand account of reconstruction era experiences published in 1906. She at the time had to use a lot of pseudonyms because of who was described and what they did - to protect herself and her family from Lincoln's "new free America".

Under Democrat rule, man exploits man. Under Republican rule, the reverse is true.

Judy Aron said...

Eric - Thanks for that.. Hence my comment "While no party is perfect (especially the Democrats and Republicans!), and while I may not agree with every single thing said by Hedgecock here"...

Yeah, there were some other facts left out for sure.. and I am certain Hedgecock cannot honestly make the claim that there has never been a KKK member who was a Republican. However, he does make some interesting points... and so do you! Thanks again and I will check into those historical accounts, they sound interesting.

Eric Holcombe said...


No offense toward you intended - I know where you stand. I just can't stand the deification of "Honest" Abe that the party of Lincoln engages in when they need some justification (when they aren't quoting Reagan - but only from the 1980's, none of that "radical" Goldwater stuff...).
Avary's account appears quite even-handed. Nobody gets a free pass. It would be a real eye-opener for anyone - regardless of how they think the Civil War went down and for what reason. She was in Virginia and of some social status, such that they traveled a good bit and came into contact with families around the South at the time. It will sure help you understand the distaste for "carpetbaggers". I have a 2nd edition from the 1930's. Chapter 1 has been edited out from the original. I believe it did some explaining about the need for pseudonyms, which supposedly have been replaced in the 2nd edition with the real names - since most of them were dead by then. I'd love to get a hold of an original just to read Chapter 1.