Monday, June 13, 2005

GOP apologizes for Democrat sins

I worked as a high school teacher in the early 1990's, the days of the glorious nascence of "crisis counseling" and the demise of "punishment." There, in a corner of the principal's office festooned with posters of rock-climbers and well-appointed with tissue boxes, I was witness to a new and troubling trend in eliciting false confessions. The new strategy was to badger the aggrieved party (say, the student whose backback had been adorned with rude graffiti) into confessing to and apologizing for some other, prior offense against the offender (say, being insensitive to the graffiti artist's feelings of inferiority and not reaching out in friendship before ink was spilled). With the scales of justice thus more easily balanced, apologies were passed around, exactly one to and one from each party present, and then please put your used tissues in the garbage and back to class, boys. It was nothing more than relativism at work, and I always got a nasty feeling when watching a student who had done nothing wrong glumly concede to whatever imagined offense the crisis counselor had manufactured.

So now Senator George Allen, a Republican from Virginia, is joining Senator Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from Louisiana, in leading a great big mutual mea culpa for "the Senate's unwillingness for years to pass a law stopping a crime that cost the lives of over 4,700 people, mostly blacks, between 1882 and 1968." Unbelievable. The only unwillingness that stopped anti-lynching bills from being passed into law was the intransigence of racist southern Democrat senators and their reprehensible use of the filibuster. One such Democrat was Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi. Bilbo advocated deporting blacks to Africa, railed against intermarriage, and spoke glowingly of Hitler. He also filibustered two anti-lynching bills and used the threat of a filibuster to see to it that numerous others never came to a vote. The Annenberg Foundation's did a piece in March on the filibuster's dirty history; it points to Bilbo and Strom Thurmond (who was a Democrat at the time) as two who used the filibuster to block not only anti-lynching bills but also civil rights legislation. In fact, Thurmond holds the record for the longest one-man speechifying in history: twenty-four hours spent in 1957 blocking the passage of a civil rights bill. For a more complete look at the Democrats' secret love affair with Jim Crow, go to my earlier post on Howard Dean's attempts to rewrite history.

The senators are correct that America's black community, especially the families of those murdered, deserves an apology. Blacks should also demand an explanation, and that explanation can come from only one place: the Democrat party whose southern members worked so hard to keep them down.


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