The idea of reparations has moved its way back to the center of political debate thanks partly to an upcoming hearing that will involve “Lethal Weapon” star and multimillionaire Danny Glover, who is set to speak at the event.
At a Senate Republican Agenda press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was asked about his thoughts on financial reparations by the federal government to make up for slavery.
“There’s going to be a hearing on Juneteenth about reparations for slavery, tomorrow,” asked a reporter. “I’m wondering, where do you stand on that issue, do you believe in reparations for slavery, and if not should there be a public apology from Congress or from the president in recognition of the theft of labor?”
McConnell made his position clear and he injected some common sense into the senseless debate.
“Yeah, I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago, for whom none of us currently living are responsible, is a good idea,” the senator said.
He continued, “We’ve tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation, we’ve elected an African American president.”
The Kentucky senator went on to say that the actual process of figuring out exact compensation would be next to impossible.
“I think we are always a work in progress in this country, but no one currently alive was responsible for that, and I don’t think we should be trying to figure out how to compensate for it,” McConnell said. “First of all it would be pretty hard to figure out who to compensate.”
He added, “We’ve had waves of immigrants, as well, who have come to the country and experience traumatic discrimination of one kind or another, so no I don’t think reparations are a good idea.”
McConnell makes a good point. Once you open the door to reparations — especially for a time period that has no survivors today — then there is no way to stop it. Reparations will be demanded for anything and everything. A more productive and civil and unifying way to move forward is to equal the playing field that is America as best we can. This is a land of opportunity and a land always striving to give everyone the same chance at their unique pursuits of happiness. To bitterly debate what the federal government should or shouldn’t do to make up for past sins is wasteful and it’s a route that only promises more division, something this country does not need right now considering how divided we already are culturally and politically.
The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties previously announced that the upcoming hearing will “examine, through open and constructive discourse, the legacy of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, its continuing impact on the community and the path to restorative justice.”
The hearing takes place on Juneteenth, which is June 19, a day meant to commemorate African Americans being emancipated.
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