Sen. George Allen’s Slavery Apology

The RTD reports today that:

“Sen. George Allen, under fire for wearing a Confederate flag pin as a teenager, said yesterday he will pursue a proposal for a congressional resolution for slavery.

“We want this to be a meaningful resolution that is adopted,” Allen said in an interview.

He stopped short of saying he would support an apology resolution. (Huh?)

Ken Woodley, editor of the Farmville Herald, had challenged Allen and Georgia Congressman Lewis to spearhead a congressional resolution apologizing for slavery and to provide some type of reparations for the losses suffered by blacks. By reparations, Woodley said he envisions a sort of domestic Marshall Plan that would address education, health-care and economic development issues for blacks.”

Follow the money. When politicians who never owned slaves apologize to politicians who never were slaves, follow the money – and the votes. It is perfect feel good politics. I thought Bill Clinton had a patent on this guiltless guilt exorcism.

On whose behalf would the U.S. Congress be apologizing?

Apologize on behalf of Western Civilization for having human bondage when every civilization that ever existed practiced slavery and then getting rid of it voluntarily – while Muslims still enslave Black Africans today?

Apologize on behalf of the United Kingdom for having race-based slavery among other forms of involuntary servitude from 1619 to 1833 when Parliament outlawed slavery throughout the Empire?

Apologize on behalf the U.S.A. for having slavery from 1776 to 1865. Especially, for keeping slavery legal in the border states and occupied Southern counties from the Emancipation Proclamation (1863) until the 13th Amendment (1865)?

Once Sen. Allen figures out who is apologizing for, he should get serious about it. Don’t make a speech at a ceremony followed by light refreshments. Even if listening to the blather of pompous pandering is painful. Let’s see some crimson ‘A’ for long days and nights in the public pillory. How about some sack cloth and ashes? Or walking up steps on bare knees?

Who else gets an apology? Americans of Japanese ancestry interned by FDR got an apology and bucks – because they are still alive. Who else gets cash?

Honoring the victory of the Civil Rights Movement is a celebration of American values. Empty apologies are the antithesis of honor.

P.S. Sen. Allen sponsored a resoluton for Congress to apologize for not outlawing lynching. Outlawing lynching was up to the states, not the Feds. It’s that Constitutional division of powers thing. ‘Racist, Jim Crow, whites only’ Virginia passed the first anti-lynching law – and never had another lynching. Virginia leads and other states follow.

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9 responses to “Sen. George Allen’s Slavery Apology”

  1. GOPHokie Avatar

    While we are at it, maybe Senator Byrd would like to apologize for wanting to kill all the black people.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    GOPHokie: You are forgetting the double standard: only Republicans do wrong. Byrd was an active KKK member, but that’s OK, he’s a Democrat.

    Also, has anyone else noticed the silence about Tim “promise them one thing while campaigning, do the opposite in office” Kaine. Kaine campaigns on reigning in developers, but then, in office, allies with them in an attempt to raise taxes to build more roads for development. Just think if a GOP official had done a 180 on a campaign promise!

  3. James Young Avatar
    James Young

    Great post, JAB. An apology is only meaningful when it comes from someone who was guilty of the offense at issue. I cannot “apologize,” for instance, for the acts of rapists, murderers, and child molesters. Empathize with the victims? Certainly. But “apology” requires a level of personal responsibility that no American alive has, just as no one alive can be apologized to for slavery.

    This whole debate is ridiculous. However, I read the Farmville Herald while attending college in Prince Edward County. That it’s editor would propose such a morally nonsensical course is hardly surprising.

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    I was aware that Virginia passed an anti-lynch law but I’m not sure I can accept that there never was another lynching once it passed. If that is true, then its passage came so late after so many decades of mayhem that is hardly gives us anything to brag about. They haven’t burned any Jews at Auschwitz lately, either, but all is not forgiven nor forgotten. (And I agree, an apology from the US Senate is just laughable posturing.)

  5. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Anon: You can’t ‘accept’ that there was no more lynching? Please look up the law. It had unique language that made any person who witnessed a lynching but did nothing to stop it – guilty of lynching.

    You don’t know when ‘so late’ was because you don’t know when the anti-lynching law was passed. Pity it wasn’t passed on July 5th 1776, but that is history. Virginia led the way – and still should and truly can.

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    JAB–Try the electrocution of the “Martinsville 5”–Now there was a legalized lynching that came a long time after the Anti Lynch Law. No siree, not all lynching was done by a mob with a rope.

  7. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Actually, all lynching is done with a rope. Words have meaning. If you want to point to a miscarriage of justice, injustice through the legal system, then do so, but don’t call it lynching.

  8. Blackstone Avatar

    Poor old JAB. Avoids the historical question of justice in the execution of the “Martinsville Five” and hides behind the form by trying to “define” the word “lynch.” Form over substance?

    Well incoorrectly, it seems. Check out Section 18.2-39 of the Code of VA. “Any act of violence by a mob upon the body of a person, which shall result in the death of a person, shall constitute a ‘lynching.’”…No rope there!

    This from “The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Lanuage”:

    “lynch…To execute without due process of law; especially to hang.”

    So you see, sports fans hanging by a rope is only one form of lynching. A lynching can occur(and has) without a hanging by a rope.

    Yep…poor old JAB. A lot of talk but precious little knowledge.

  9. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    JAB, I agree with you on this one. Allen’s actions are baffling. All I can guess is that he hopes to erase the supposed blot, recently publicized, of displaying the Confederate battle flag while back in college.

    If so, his actions are naive. No one will assuage left-wing critics determined to spear him. The Richmond Times-Dispatch’s liberal, African-American columnist Michael Paul Williams lampooned Allen’s efforts in today’s paper. Writes Williams: “Sorry. Not buying it. Only Allen knows what’s in his hear. But from where I sit, this looks like an Allen image makeover as he eyes the White House. Call it conservativism with an emphasis on the con.”

    Continued Williams: “Perhaps he took stock of his presidential ambitions and realized his record and personal history more resembled that of a Dixiecrat than the “commonsense Jeffersonian conservative” he touts himself as.”

    Here’s what Allen needs to worry about: Conservatives think, “what a wuss.” Liberals think, “I’m not buying it.” And middle-of-the-roaders don’t care enough to get exercised.

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