LONSBERRY: The Democratic Party Should Pay Reparations

If anybody should pay reparations, it’s the Democratic Party.

               No entity in our society was more enmeshed with slavery or did more to expand and defend it. Rather than abandon slavery, the Democratic Party pushed its adherents to break up the United States and fight a Civil War that would kill more Americans than any other conflict in our history.

               As Democrats in the House of Representatives push legislation to establish a reparations commission, and as leading Democratic presidential candidates support the proposal and call for a national dialogue on reparations, it’s worth noting that nothing in this society has more blood on its hands when it comes to the evils of American slavery than the Democratic Party.

               And, if the premise of reparations is our guide, no one has a greater obligation to pay.

               The assumption is that the people of today can be made to pay monetarily for the sins of yesterday. No one now living was held in slavery, and no one now alive has held a slave – at least as it applies to the holding of blacks in the United States as chattel property. The perpetrators and victims are not alive, so any penalty or benefit would be imposed on the successors of those involved more than 150 years ago.

               In common understanding, that means white people would be taxed or otherwise financially penalized to compensate blacks.

               It’s an illogical and woeful proposition, putting the sins of the fathers on the heads of the children, or on the heads of people who look like the fathers. As a matter of fact, only a tiny percentage of white Americans are descended from people who owned slaves. A significant percentage of white Americans are descended from people who didn’t even immigrate to the United States until after slavery had been abolished.

               Further, some black slaves were owned by other blacks, and by Native Americans. And Native Americans held other Native Americans in slavery until the 1880s. Slavery is a complex and widespread evil that has sadly stained all human cultures at some point in history. If all past slavery is to be visited on the heads of people today, there is no one with clean hands.

               The progressive Democrat argument is that slavery benefited all whites, then and since, and so all whites should be made to pay. Likewise, the Democrats say, all blacks have since been disadvantaged by slavery and its after effects, so they all should be compensated.

               It’s all a ruse for a money grab, more progressive redistribution, and an effort to buy black votes, but let’s take it seriously.

               Because if you do, there is one institution in society whose historic sin is greatest of all.

               The Democratic Party.

               Thirty years of American history – from the 1830s to the end of the Civil War – were dominated by the Democratic Party’s mad embrace of slavery. When new territories wanted to join the United States, the Democrats demanded odd deals which assured that slavery would spread to the new parts of America. When before the Civil War the nation sought to map routes for a transcontinental railroad, the Democrats forced the consideration of only southern routes, in order to protect the prosperity and promote the spread of slavery. When states joining the Union rejected slavery, the Democratic Party pushed to buy or conquer Cuba so it could join as a slave state, preserving the balance of slavery power.

               No institution still extant in our society is so stained by the blood of slavery as is the Democratic Party. The torch of party leadership held by Democrats today was once held aloft by men whose hands whipped and beat and raped and sold other human beings.

               That is an undeniable fact of history.

               And if the sins of the past are to be visited on the successors of today, no one deserves a hotter place in hell or a more prominent place in public scorn than the Democratic Party.

               And, sadly, its historic culpability doesn’t end there.

               Jim Crow had a Democrat daddy, and it was Democrat President Woodrow Wilson who fired almost all blacks in federal employ and set in motion the official segregation and discrimination that stood for the first half of the 20thcentury.

               It is a history of evil.

               And if the Democrats claim that the people of today can be punished for the wrongs of yesterday, they will find the most sinister culprit in the mirror.

               The Democratic Party was the slavery party.

               And if anybody deserves to pay reparations, it’s the Democratic Party.

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