Yes, Let’s Have Democrats Apologize for Slavery
By: Warner Todd Huston
Just a few days ago I wrote an article ridiculing a woman from Connecticut for wasting the state legislature’s time bothering with a resolution that forced the state to apologize for the witch trials carried out by various Connecticut towns during the 1600′s. I mentioned that “apologizing” for things that happened hundreds of years ago was rather stupid. And witch trials aren’t the only things people want our government(s) to “apologize” for, as we all know. Certainly the long-past support of slavery by the United States is one subject most referenced for which apologies are sought.
I maintained then that such apologies do no one any good. Apologies, I claimed, can only be properly offered and only be graciously accepted by those actually harmed directly by a slight. Something that happened hundreds of years ago, I said, cannot be apologized for. Those slights just are. Live with it.
But, I may have found something that has changed my mind on the offering of apologies. It came in the form of an open letter to the Democrat Party penned by Lt. Colonel Frances Rice a retired US Army officer and member of the Lincoln Heritage Institute.
In her Open Letter to the Democrat Party, Frances was asking for an apology over slavery. I’ll specify here that she wasn’t asking for this apology from the “United States,” to be sure. She wants it directly from the Democrat Party. After all, as Frances’ points reveal, it wasn’t really the “United States” that supported slavery, but more specifically a faction of the country in the form of the Democrat Party and its antecedents. And, I have to say, the woman has a point.
Colonel Frances begins her resolution, as most do, with a “we the undersigned” prologue. “We, African American citizens of the United States, declare and assert,” she says before she lays out the facts of the case, facts that amount to the truth that slavery was not as much an “American” sentiment as it was a bedrock principle of the Democrat Party. And, worse, the Democrats have never admitted to their perfidy.
Whereas the Democratic Party has never apologized for their horrific atrocities and racist practices committed against African Americans during the past two hundred years, nor for the residual impact that those atrocities and practices and current soft bigotry of low expectations are having on us today,
Well, now there is something I can agree that someone should apologize for.
Col. Frances goes on to outlay all the atrocities committed against blacks from the first landing in the new world right up to today’s infantilizing of blacks all across the country.
Her litany is long and lamentable, but here are some highlights:
Whereas the Democratic Party fought to expand slavery and, after the Civil War, established Jim Crow Laws, Black Codes and other repressive legislation that were designed to disenfranchise African Americans,
Whereas the Ku Klux Klan was the terrorist arm of the Democratic Party, and their primary goal was to intimidate and terrorize African American voters, Republicans who moved South to protect African Americans and any other whites who supported them,
Whereas, according to leading historians (both black and white), the horrific atrocities committed against African Americans during slavery and Reconstruction were financed, sponsored, and promoted by the Democratic Party and their Ku Klux Klan supporters,
Whereas from 1870 to 1930, in an effort to deny African Americans their civil rights and to keep African Americans from voting Republican, thousands of African Americans were shot, beaten, lynched, mutilated, and burned to death by Ku Klux Klan terrorists from the Democratic Party,
Whereas Democratic Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman rejected anti-lynching laws and efforts to establish a permanent Civil Rights Commission,
Well, it goes on and on. Now, I’d like to point out that we can find racist language or language to protect “institutions” (read slavery) in the states in the platforms of many Democrat Party platforms. Decade after decade all the way up until modern times, the Democrats sought to protect their privilege to oppress blacks. Year after year, election after election, the Democrat Party sought to sanctify in law and in principle the enslavement and/or oppression of Negroes in the US.
Now, it should also be noted that the very first Republican platform in 1856 included planks that addressed in negative terms those very same “institutions” that the Democrat Party wished to preserve. The GOP, in contrast, often had language to mitigate the status of blacks and minorities, to lift them out of oppression. In fact, the GOP has been at the forefront of supporting rights for blacks since its earliest days. Without the GOP, for instance, the 1964 civil rights bill could never have passed.
So, is the “United States” the entity we should be targeting as the perpetrators of slavery? Yes, but only to the degree that it allowed the Democrat Party to be a legitimate political entity and for not hunting them down as the hatemongers they were… and are today to a much lesser degree.
So, now I have to reassess my stance on these apologies. Democrats should apologize for chattel slavery. Democrats should apologize for keeping blacks in poverty and ignorance. Democrats should apologize for lynchings and Jim Crow laws. Democrats should apologize for “separate but equal,” bussing, “white’s only” signs, miscegenation laws, poll taxes, and welfare mommas. While we are at it, Democrats should apologize for Japanese interment and voter fraud… but I’ll settle for their apology for how they’ve mistreated black people from the 1400s to today.
I don’t see any reason for the entire USA to apologize for slavery, though. Heck, millions of Americans actually had family that fought and some even died to end slavery. We call them Republicans who fought for the Union during the Civil War. Why should they have to apologize?
No, I stand corrected on this one. Slavery should be apologized for and it is Democrats who should make that apology for all their evils.
Yes, they should apologize. But I wonâ€™t hold my breath.