Thursday, June 18

Apologize? I Don't Think So.

S.Con.Res. 26, the apology for slavery that supposedly passed the Senate today is no longer available through the Senate web site. I wonder why.

Maybe someone with more power than a single American voter felt the way I do: That the "apology" was disingenuous at best and insulting at worst. It reminds me of the schoolyard bully being forced to apologize for beating up a playground nerd -- he did it because he was forced to, he didn't mean it and it is useless.

Slavery isn't acceptable in our society today. Forcing others to think like we do, cursing them for having different opinions, belittling them when we disagree with them is acceptable but slavery isn't. That wasn't the case 200 years ago. Sure, some people objected to it just as some people object to the hatred that is commonly spewed around the Internet and on our airwaves today.

I happened to see Joy Behar on The View, blaming Fox commentator Bill O'Reilly for the murder of Dr. Tiller (because O'Reilly called him "Tiller the Baby Killer," which is what many Kansans have called Tiller for years). She (and other media pundits) claim that conservatives inspire right wing extremists to murder -- and yet she sees nothing wrong with degrading someone she doesn't like. Her nasty comments about Sarah Palin come immediately to mind.

It doesn't seem to occur to people who enjoy smart little put-downs and snide comments about anyone -- and there are certainly more of those on the left than on the right side of the political spectrum -- that they are the ones who foment hatred. Ugliness is never funny; put-downs reflect on the person who uses them, not the recipient of them.

An apology for slavery from people who never held slaves nor condoned the institution in any way is a huge put-down, not of slave holders but of the descendants of the victims of the institution. It's comparable to Behar's nastiness and Ann Coulter's rudeness -- and in the long run it does more harm than good.

My great- grandfather was a slave owner. According to a book my grandfather wrote about his home life, the family took great pride in the fact that their servants were healthy and were treated like extended family members, even to the extent of attending church together. Aside from human and humane considerations, it was only practical to take good care of them and to provide well for them.

I do not apologize for slavery. Furthermore, I do not judge the generations who came before me for their beliefs or their actions since there is no way that I can "walk in their shoes" well enough to understand.

I only hope future generations will not judge me for living in a society that condones the murder of babies or, among many, many other things, that thinks belittling people for any reason is humor.

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