Just So We’re Clear

Yesterday, I put up a post about how 90 senators have decided to enact official and public retroactive apologies regarding white on black lynchings extending all the way back to the eighteen hundreds, yet 10 of our elected officials on the senate floor have decided that they don’t want to play.

I personally thought this was a no brainer. I’m not gonna put the onus on any elected official to come up with something like this, however, I will say that when an opportunity such as this comes up, it should be a pretty simple situation. Apparently, there are a few people who disagree with me, and I’d like to showcase their very thoughtful opinions right now.

Fellow UPCer Harkonnendog had this to say:

er- why should they apologize? What did they do? How does this help anyone? Are they apologizing for the existence of the filibuster, which thwarted the will of the majority and stopped the laws that would stop lynchings? I don’t apologize for what people I don’t know have done to other people. Why should they? Why should anybody? These apologies are just stupid. They are token- they are meaningless token drivel, and I’d be very surprised if they made anybody OTHER than white liberals “feel better.” cheers!

Steve Groff doffed his Reynold’s cap long enough to dispense with the illuminati histories and provide this exceptional insight:

I refuse to take responsibility for other people’s behavior. My ancestors fled Switzerland in 1750 so they could worship God in the way they saw fit. I think the Swiss owe me an apology for mistreating my ancestors. Also, some reparation money would be good. I deserve it They have plenty of gold in Switzerland. To make me feel better about it all, I think the Swiss government should pay me about $20,000,000.00 in Swiss francs. That should pretty well square things up.

Let me be frank. You guys aren’t getting it. I never asked either of you to apologize for the lynchings. I wouldn’t expect you to apologize for them, as I’m hoping neither of you actually participated in one. Actually, I can vouch for Hark, as he’s too young, and too open minded to be a bigot or to have participated in a lynching. Steve, you scare me, but I’ll still give you the benefit of the doubt.

This isn’t about a group of people apologizing for something they never did.Instead this is about a group of people who occupy an organization that was in place at the time the acts were committed, apologizing on behalf of that organization for not taking the actions that it should have. This isn’t about personal responsibility, this is about governmental responsibility.

Now I guess you could make an argument that the entire apology is in and of itself a waste of time, and shouldn’t even be on the table, and I’ll argue that until the cows come home, but that’s not the case. The case is that the apology is out there, it is an act of decency, it costs pretty much no tax dollars (okay maybe we pay for the paper it is written on, and I’m sure that the descendents and victim that got to witness this, they may have been on the government dime to go, but that’s chump change), it really doesn’t effect laws, you’re not going to lose your right to do anything for this, and the only real negative implications from this act is that it may just remind some of the more violent bigots that their ignorant hatred of people not like them may just be going the way of the dinosaur. Heavens forefend.

Plus, from a purely political standpoint, you would have to be an absolute moron not to sign the damn thing, even if you didn’t believe in it. In fact, here are the two justifications for not signing the thing without actually being a bigot.

-You are elected by bigots. You don’t have to be a bigot to be an elected official of a population of nigger hatin’ white folk. I mean, all this is is knowing your constituency, right?

-You really don’t believe in the actual apology for the reasons that Hark and Steve explained above. Okay, I get it, I think you’re wrong, but hey, I can accept that. Except, that’s not how a lot of people are going to see it.

Let me give you an example. The other day I saw a bumper sticker driving home that really kinda pissed me off. On the left hand side was a confederate flag (to be honest, I’m not a big fan of the old stars and bars, having my own reservations, but I’ll spare you that part of the argument for now), and on the right, printed in plain black letters were the words, “never apologize for being white.”

Now, it is very possible that the guy driving this pick up truck was not a racist. You could seriously go through the arguments explaining the culture of the confederate flag, and how it stood for state’s rights, and then explain that he refuses to personally apologize for something he never did, like owning slaves, or lynching black people. And I’m pretty sure that he’s actually made these arguments before, having a bumper sticker like that, you’d almost have to explain it at least once. So it’s very possible that he’s not a racist.

But what do you think is going through the minds of most people that see his bumper sticker as they drive along on the freeway?

So, in summary. It’s not about personal responsibility. It’s not hard labor, it’s a signature. And I really hope that these ten senators that won’t sign the apology lose their office next time they come up. Even if they aren’t bigots because they are too politically stupid to stay in power.


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