What Crisis? The Senate Prioritizes Baseball and Slavery
Posted by publius772000 under Politics
In a week which saw Barbara Boxer chide a brigadier general for not addressing her as “senator,” the body which she worked so hard to join mulled an investigation of Sammy Sosa and passed an apology for slavery.
by Michael Naragon
Iranians are protesting in the streets. North Korea looks to fire a long-range missile toward Hawaii on Independence Day. The Chinese are becoming increasingly bold in Asian waters, looking to challenge the naval supremacy of the United States. Hyperinflation looms as the dollar continues to lose ground internationally and the federal government buys up its own debt with newly printed dollars.
And on the docket for the U.S. Senate? A potential investigation of a baseball player who may have lied to them and an apology for slavery.
On Wednesday, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Democratic Rep. Edolphus Towns of New York, announced that the committee will investigate the reports that Sammy Sosa tested positive for performance-enhancing drug use in 2003. Sosa told Congress in 2005 that he had not taken such drugs, a denial echoed by several other sluggers at the time.
Why the federal government was worried about baseball in 2005, or in 2009, for that matter, is questionable. Evidently, the Senate wanted to take a short break from bankrupting the nation and pretend to do something meaningful. Or, at least meaningful to baseball fans. Or, at least those baseball fans who cared about steroid use among players.
Now, the Senate will apparently revisit the issue. In a time when the nation faces, according to the president, the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, it’s amazing to see that some senators have the time to continue dabbling in baseball.
Also this week, the Senate turned its attention to the practice of slavery. Not elsewhere in the world, mind you. That may have been slightly more valuable. No, the Senate apologized for slavery in the United States, a practice that ended over 150 years ago.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) led the campaign to pass the “important and significant” resolution, which now opens the door to a joint resolution of Congress, officially apologizing for slavery. The House passed a similar resolution last year.
Much of the impetus for such an apology has undoubtedly come about because of the election of Barack Obama to the presidency–understandable, since he is the first Kenyan-European American raised in Hawaii and Indonesia to become president.
Rep. Stephen I. Cohen (D-TN) said that he was happy with the Senate’s unanimous apology, but cautioned that some would call for more to be done.
“There are going to be African Americans who think that [the apology] is not reparations, and it’s not action,” Cohen said, “and there are going to be Caucasians who say, ‘Get over it.’ . . . I look at it as something that makes people think.”
I find it interesting that, while Cohen describes black Americans as “African,” he describes whites as “Caucasians,” not the correct designations of Irish Americans, German Americans, English Americans, or even European Americans. I personally don’t know of anyone from the Caucasus Mountain region, so I don’t consider myself Caucasian. Just “American,” thank you.
As Cohen warned, many black leaders were not impressed with the apology, since it came from a federal government run by a “black” president and a Democratic Congress. Carol M. Swain, a professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University and new appointee to the National Council of the Humanities, had pushed the Bush Administration to issue such an apology, and said the current gesture by the federal government is basically meaningless.
“The Republican Party needed to do it,” Swain said. “It would have shed that racist scab on the party.” Do I really need to write a synopsis of historical fact for a professor of political science and law? Apparently.
If you have any inkling of American political history, you might realize that Republicans were in power when the slaves were freed. Republicans decimated the South in order to elevate blacks during Reconstruction. Republicans passed the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, giving blacks freedom and the right to vote. Republicans passed the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s, signed by Lyndon Johnson, against the heavy opposition of Southern Democrats. Liberal policies have, over time, managed to keep many blacks in empoverished stasis by creating a seemingly unbreakable dependence on–or slavery to– the federal government and the Democrat party. Blacks have helped Democrats gain power again and again, and what do they have to show for it? Which party made race an issue in 2008? The Democrats. Which party continues to make race an issue and intends to continue separating us along racial lines as long as it’s politically beneficial? The Democrats.
So do not discuss “scabs” of the Republican Party or the conservative movement, professor, unless you’re willing to discuss the bleeding, open wounds caused by the party of your false prophet, Obama.
Other black leaders said the apology does not go far enough because it does not provide for restitution. “Much is owed, and it is very quantifiable,” said Randall Robinson, author of The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks. “It is owed as one would owe for any labor that one has not paid for, and until steps are taken in that direction we haven’t accomplished anything.” Doubtless, Robinson believes the federal government is now responsible for making things right. I agree. Any slaves still living should be paid for lost wages incurred as a result of that terrible system.
I’m sure men like Ahmedinejad, Kim Jong-Il, and Vladimir Putin will be very impressed by our self-loathing over a practice long dead. Other nations will also, I’m sure, be struck by the way in which our federal government, in a time of crisis on multiple fronts, cares enough to take the time and taxpayer money to make such momentus decisions.