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Club of Fools Issues Apology


The world’s most exclusive club has tackled one of the pressing issues facing our nation:

At two minutes before noon on Thursday, June 18, 2009, 146 years after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and 150 days after a black man took the presidential oath of office, the United States Senate, in a unanimous voice vote, apologized to African Americans for slavery and the racial discrimination during the Jim Crow era.

Too bad none of the former slaves are still alive to feel the magnanimous justice. Doesn’t really matter, though. It’s just hollow symbolism:

The Senate resolution differs from the one passed by the House last summer, in that it includes a disclaimer that reads: “Nothing in this resolution-- (A) authorizes or supports any claim against the United States; or (B) serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States.” So forget any reparations claims based on this particular apology.

While the apology is official, it does not have the force of law.

But they’re keeping the door open, if not for reparations, at least for continuing the current scheme of racist favoritism in US law:

We know that problems remain. The resolution wisely acknowledges such: “African-Americans continue to suffer from the consequences of slavery and Jim Crow laws--long after both systems were formally abolished--through enormous damage and loss, both tangible and intangible, including the loss of human dignity and liberty.”

Does this settle the issue? Probably not. It takes more than lofty words to make up for centuries’ worth of imagined guilt:

Kansas Republican Sen. Sam Brownback said that with the resolution, the Senate was, on behalf of the American people, not just saying sorry, but also asking for forgiveness.

Forgiveness is necessary for absolution. Once those who feel guilt receive forgiveness from the victims, the weight of shame can be lifted.

Fortunately, 98/99ths of the Senate has already been absolved for African slavery and its consequences:

I, Walter E. Williams, do declare full and general amnesty and pardon to all persons of European ancestry, for both their own grievances, and those of their forebears, against my people.

Therefore, from this day forward Americans of European ancestry can stand straight and proud knowing they are without guilt and thus obliged not to act like damn fools in their relationships with Americans of African ancestry.

As much as I would value a gift from Dr. Williams, I never owned anyone, and I am not a fool. I therefore cannot be guilty of slavery.