Skip to comments.An Appalling Idiocy: A Slave Memorial
Posted on 05/28/2003 7:35:01 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
With the passing years, it becomes ever more painful for me to read the preambles of legislation. Time and time again, the wonderful and inspiring words in those preambles have turned out to have no relationship whatsoever to the actual consequences that followed. The real issue is not what pious words you can come up with, but what incentives are you creating and what are the likely consequences of those incentives.
It is especially painful to read a proposal to create a "National Slave Memorial" on the Washington Mall. Supposedly this memorial will promote "reconciliation" and "healing," according to both the Republican and Democratic supporters of this proposal.
It is hard to imagine that any sane adult actually believes those words. You know and I know that a slave memorial will not reconcile anybody to anybody nor heal any racial divisions. Just the opposite.
A slave memorial is guaranteed to become a magnet for every race hustler from Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton down to any local demagogue who can scare up a crowd to go stand in front of the slave memorial and spew venom at American society on TV. Some reconciliation, some healing!
As for whites, when a proposal was made some years ago by Congressman Tony Hall for a Congressional apology for slavery, so much hostile mail came in that the idea was killed. If a slave memorial is going to inflame both blacks and whites, who is going to be "healed" or "reconciled"?
Anyone whose IQ is not in single digits must know that, once a slave memorial is put on the Washington Mall, it will be politically impossible to remove it. Expediency-minded politicians of both parties may think of a slavery memorial as a cheap way to "throw a bone" to the black community, as someone put it, but it is in fact just a down payment on racial polarization that can cost this country dearly for years to come.
This proposal has bipartisan support in Congress -- as so many other disastrous policies have had. If the Democrats were to propose that all Americans leap off a thousand-foot cliff, moderate Republicans would come up with a compromise proposal that three-quarters of us leap off a 500-foot cliff. The slave memorial is apparently that kind of compromise proposal -- "reparations light," as it were.
None of this is affected in the slightest by whether the sponsors of this legislation are honest and earnest, or by whether their intentions are good or they write an inspiring preamble to the legislation. We all know what road is paved with good intentions. We don't need to have it proven one more time.
This is the kind of low-budget time bomb that can easily sneak into legislation in the last days before Congress adjourns, when everyone is too busy preparing to go home to read all the provisions of the bills they vote on.
The only way to prevent this from happening, either this year or in future years, is for the voting public to inform their Senators and Representatives loud and clear that they do not want any such memorial created by the federal government, whether on the Washington Mall or anywhere else.
Among the pious cant that we are being fed by those pushing this proposal is that a memorial will serve to remind future Americans that slavery was cruel and evil. Most Americans understood that in the 19th century!
What a memorial would do is perpetuate the fraud that slavery was something peculiar to the United States, when in fact it was one of the oldest and most widespread of all human institutions, existing for thousands of years on every inhabited continent, involving people of every race and color as both slaves and slaveowners. Even in the United States, there were thousands of black slaveowners, and in Africa many more.
The United States was one of many Western nations which turned against slavery in the 19th century -- while non-Western nations bitterly resisted efforts by the West to get them to abolish slavery. Only the fact that Western imperialists had more firepower enabled their revulsion against slavery to prevail.
Maybe we should have a monument to historical truth somewhere, though Washington hardly seems the place for it.
Chortle! Very Sowell thinking!
Oh, and we ought to go ahead and put a statue of Benedict Arnold in the Capitol Rotunda, in accord with the great honors paid to Jeff Davis all over the South.
Sowell is wrong on this one, for very many reasons.
I've been asked (via Project 21) to provide some commentary to Senator Bill Frist regarding the measure. It's been spearheaded by former Washington Redskin (and fellow black conservative) Darrell Green.
I'll post my short letter to Senator Frist as a separate post.
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No, that's the lynching memorial being planned for Atlanta.
I'd like to nominate fieldmarshaldj's comment for "quote of the day"
Many feel that a monument to the black slaves of America, akin to the Vietnam Memorial, has a place on the National Mall. While such a memorial or monument to the slaves of the United States' historical past would certainly be an opportunity for education for the masses, I have a personal fear over such a venture.
The black liberal intelligensia have been taking each and every opportunity to try to draw blood money out of the memories of slavery and of Jim Crow-era America.They have gone out of their way to encourage lawsuits and gone to other means to attempt to divide black and white America even further.
Their words insist that they are seeking reconciliation, and I truly believe that there are some who are forthright and honest in that belief. But for each John Lewis, there's a Jesse Jackson, waiting in the wings to find a way to turn this into something geared toward their own personal ends, the rest of black America be damned.
While Darrell Green's project is one that is certainly honorable in intent, I feel it is not well thought-out, and would be a magnet for the roadshows of the poverty pimps of America. It would provide a ready-made instant bully pulpit for every would-be race warlord who wanted to rouse the rabble of the masses. It would create the ultimate spot for a photo op for charlatans and snake oil peddlers everywhere.
I fear that liberal black academics nationwide, who are spearheading the attempts at reparations litigation, would attempt to use any monument or memorial - especially one given such high placement in our national consciousness - as additional reasoning behind their continued clogging of the nation's courts with continued lawsuits over percieved reparations. I think we can both agree that this would be folly of the highest order.
No, Senator, I think a monument to slavery in and of itself would be more folly than honest enterprise. It does not have a place on the National Mall.
I encourage you to dissuade your colleagues from pursuing this venture any further.
Michael H. King
National Advisory Board Member, Project 21
Perhaps he'd agree to allow himself to be cloned -- a few million times.
They're already doing that.
North Central Florida's Congressman
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: PAUL FLUSCHE
LEGISLATION ESTABLISHES A MEMORIAL IN WASHINGTON, D.C. TO HONOR SLAVES AND THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS TO AMERICA
AMBASSADOR GEORGE HALEY, BROTHER OF ALEX HALEY, AND SEVERAL NOTED PRO ATHLETES ATTEND EVENT IN SUPPORT OF BILL
WASHINGTON, JUNE 19, 2002 - "With this memorial we will remember those who endured slavery and those who fought to end their slavery," said Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL). "In addition, this legislation will help educate the current and future generations on the evil of slavery."
Stearns joined Rep. Tony Hall (D-OH) and others today in introducing the National Slave Memorial Act. The measure provides for The National Foundation for African American Heritage, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, to establish a memorial to slavery in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the memorial is to acknowledge the injustice and cruelty of slavery in the United States, and to honor those who suffered in bondage. In addition, the bill provides for federal funding to match the amount donated from private sources.
Stated Stearns, "The legacy of our nation includes many people, including those who were victims but who chose not to be victimized. As Americans, we naturally understand this universal story of resilience and strength, and with this memorial we have the opportunity to honor those who suffered in bondage yet maintained their humanity."
Among those speaking in support of the legislation was George Haley, former ambassador to Gambia and brother of 'Roots' author Alex Haley. Haley noted that his ancestor Kunta Kinte was taken from Africa to become a slave in America, and after seven generations he returned to Gambia as an ambassador. A number of athletes attended the event, among them Darrell Green of the Washington Redskins, Mark Brunell of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and former Redskin Art Monk.
Other members supporting the legislation include House Minority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX), Rep. Connie Morella (R-MD), Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), and Rep. Eva Clayton (D-NC).
To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to establish a memorial to slavery, in the District of Columbia.
Mr. STEARNS (for himself, Mr. CUMMINGS, Mr. QUINN, and Mr. MORAN of Virginia) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Resources
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