Monique's title, Sorry, but I'm not sorry brought up a point that came up in the office today: the Senate's unanimous nostra culpa for slavery.
"You wonder why we didn't do it 100 years ago," Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), lead sponsor of the resolution, said after the unanimous-consent vote. "It is important to have a collective response to a collective injustice."
The Senate's apology follows a similar apology passed last year by the House. One key difference is that the Senate version explicitly deals with the long-simmering issue of whether slavery descendants are entitled to reparations, saying that the resolution cannot be used in support of claims for restitution. The House is expected to revisit the issue next week to conform its resolution to the Senate version.
No, Senator Harkin, you don't have to wonder. There was a Civil War, three Constitutional amendments, etc., etc. Why don't you and Senator Reid (and my brace of boobs, Warner and Webb) do something useful. Outlaw Affirmative Action (formatting mine):
The terms "affirmative action" and "positive action" refer to policies that take race, ethnicity, or gender into consideration in an attempt to promote "equal" opportunity.
Now, Affirmative Action is by no means the same thing as slavery, in the practical sense of brutally abusing people in every physical way possible. But, at a high enough level of abstraction, both involve discriminating against people on the basis of DNA.
There is no sense arguing against history. Slavery was wrong. Affirmative Action happened historically as an effort to redress aspects of discrimination that were less severe than slavery, but no less insidious. One can buy off on the notion that, historically, two wrongs may have driven the situation in a desirable direction.
At what point does Affirmative Action "jump the shark" and become an exercise in bootlicking? The assertion: "We have not done enough to apologize for slavery" is not falsifiable. As long as the guilt lever remains in place, some Archimedes can move the world. If any good has come of the election of 2008, and this exercise in political silliness on slavery, one hopes that "We the People" can elect some people who have the word "Enough!" in their vocabulary. Throw the lever away, cease the bootlicking.
For the record, my ancestors on my father's side were (apparently) quartermasters in the Union Army, and didn't arrive on mom's side until after 1900.