Reparations have become a recent topic in the House of Representatives again as Democrats push for consideration of HR 40. A hearing on HR 40 was held before the House Judiciary subcommittee with Senator Cory Booker testifying. HR 40 is the counterpart to the American Opportunity Accounts Act that Booker has submitted in the Senate. Reparations are only one piece of the legislation, that advocates for free $1,000 savings bonds for each child born in the US with additions added each year up to age 18.
The second part of the legislation makes the case that reparations should be paid to the descendants of slaves to make right the wrong of slavery. The argument is that the country as a whole has done the descendants of slaves wrong and should pay for that wrong. The problem is, not everyone that is alive in the United States is to blame for slavery. There were many families in the past that did not own slaves and holding them accountable for what others did seems a little reckless doesn’t it?
Mitch McConnell made great comments on Tuesday when he commented that these things occurred over 150 years ago. Those currently alive are not directly responsible and should not be forced to pay reparations. I also agree with his statements that we have come a long way as a society since slavery. I do believe McConnell made a mistake and the media and Democrats were quick to jump on it. McConnell suggested that the election of President Obama helped atone for the sins of slavery. I don’t think it atones for slavery, but it certainly is an indicator of how far we have come.
Let’s get back to the reparations. Michael Knowles, at the Daily Wire, has a great article how one of the first slave owners was actually black. He poses the question, do his descendants receive reparations just for being black? Where do we draw the line? CNN’s Don Lemon suggests that anyone disagreeing with reparations is approaching the subject from a racist viewpoint. The subject is not a racist argument, but one of simple logic.
The program to determine who is and who is not eligible for reparations would take a government program that would cost millions of dollars to fund. The research would take years and who knows if it could even be fully completed. Secondly, how do we determine the extent to which someone’s life has suffered as part of their ancestors slavery? Do we owe reparations to Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Denzel Washington, or others?
Then comes the question of how we determine who is responsible. Many individuals in the Appalachia region are just as poor as the minorities that are discussed as deserving reparations. Do these individuals, who would have not been “privileged” enough to own slaves in the past deserve to pay for the past of others? Again, countless years of research and government funding to make this determination.
The fact is, it would be impossible in our lifetimes to undertake and complete such a thorough research of reparations and appropriately address them. As a country, we have owned the fact that slavery is an disgrace and we have made efforts to change. I know that many will disagree with me, but sometimes simply admitting you made a mistake and moving on is the best response.
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