Like an unkillable zombie, or Freddy Kruger returning for the umpteenth time, the matter of reparations for slavery shambles out of its’ crypt on a periodic basis. The whole concept has, I surmise, a catnip-like appeal for a certain kind of politician or intellectual, when catering to the never-to-be-satiated ‘gimme that!’ crowd. “Reparations for slavery!!!!!!!!Eleventy!” gets slapped down by practical considerations about as often as Freddy Kruger … and yet, it staggers out one more time. Never mind that current estimations are that maybe only 5 % of the current American population owned slaves pre-Civil War (and not all of that 5% were white, either). Never mind that a good chunk of the then-American population bitterly opposed the institution of chattel slavery of Africans, never mind that we fought a mind-bogglingly bloody war to end it. Never mind that that any surviving pre-1865 slave or slave-holder would have to be well over a century and a half old. Never mind the sheer obscenity of demanding that rich, successful, privileged PoC’s like Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover, and Barack Obama deserve a check for ancestral pain and suffering from working class and poor whites (whose’ families may not even have arrived in the US until well after 1865).
In response to this demand, I put forth a modest counter-proposal, acknowledging that yes, IF there should be reparations paid in this day for the institution of chattel slavery, for the malignant practices of the Jim Crow laws, and local law-enforced racial segregation, and the depredations of the KKK, which cruelly impacted Black Americans, such reparations ought to and should be paid by the Democrat Party.
Democrat party stalwarts embraced slavery, to the point of rebellion and formal withdrawal from the United States. The KKK brutally oppressed freed slaves after the war in the 19th and early 20th century, as well as persecuting white activists who bravely chose to support civil rights. Indeed, a long-time Democrat stalwart, Senator Robert Byrd, functioned as a local-level officer in the KKK early in his political career and the Birmingham, Alabama director of Public Safety, one Eugene “Bull” Connor – quaintly described in Wikipedia as “international symbol of institutional racism” – was also a long-time Democrat Party politician on the local level. In contrast, the Republican party was founded to specifically oppose slavery as it was practiced and continued supporting civil rights for all citizens throughout the turmoil of the 1960s. No – there was no grand switcheroo after that period, wherein all the racists and anti-racists in the respective parties obligingly bed-hopped to the other; that is a transparent attempt by the current Democrat Party to escape institutional responsibility for the crimes against Black Americans committed in the 19th and 20th century.
I expect that there will need to be some adjustments made to this proposal; such as members of the Democrat Party who registered as such within the last twenty or thirty years may apply for an exemption. Still, I believe that as the prospect of reparations will not die – we seriously consider this Modest Proposal. Your suggestions and amendments are most welcome as part of a civilized discussion of this matter.