21 thoughts on “Hargrove extends an olive branch, lights it aflame, and beats an old black lady with it.”

  1. Is this the top of the liberal (or is it “progressive” this month – I can never keep up) agenda in Virginia? Apologizng for something abolished 140 some-odd years ago?

    Maybe we can hire Clinton to come down here and do it. He was always good at apologizing for stuff.

  2. You’d think that supporting this kind of thing would be a ‘no-brainer’ for Republican legislators. What do they have to lose? Absolutely nothing. It’s a risk-free way of building a bit of bi-partisan political capital so that they have something to point to come the general election. There’s no effect on the budget, no social impact and no negative impact on anybody’s lives. Regardless of Hargrove’s personal feelings on whether an official apology is pointless, the smart thing for him to do would be to keep his mouth shut and just vote for the bill. Which I gather is what most of his colleages are wisely doing.

    The fact that he ran his mouth off like that suggests that he’s not terribly sophisticated in the way of politics and might not be a bad target this year (not that I know a whole lot about the make up of his district).

  3. Judge Smails,

    I don’t get it. What do you have to lose with this? If this is in fact on the top of the Democrats’ political agenda at the moment then shouldn’t you be happy? It means that political effort is being spent on something that doesn’t cost any money or expand government in any way. That’s time and effort that isn’t going towards things that you would really hate. If I were you I’d be cheering this thing on. Support it and you have a free bi-partisan credential. Mock it and a lot of people will look at you (unfairly) as a racist.

  4. Is this the top of the liberal (or is it “progressive” this month – I can never keep up) agenda in Virginia?

    I’d hoped not…I’m starting to think that it should be. Republicans in the General Assembly are confirming the stereotype of the Republican Party as a bunch of racists. They’ve gone out and bought enough rope to hang themselves, and damned if they’re not doing it. Is spending this much time on a bill like this good governance? Perhaps not. But is it good politics? Hell yeah.

  5. @ Jack: I hadn’t thought about it in the terms you suggest, ie, “a free bi-partisan credential.” My negative reaction is pretty visceral. I have contempt for those who seek to force (esp. from within) the Commonwealth of Virginia, the US, or the broad West into apologizing for an endless list of wrongs, both real and imagined, that occurred decades or even centuries ago.

    To me, a political entity should only apologize for deeds it is directly responsible for, eg, bombing the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade during the Balkans deal in the late 90s (whoops).

    While you may be correct in that there is not much lost/gained in making the apology in this specific instance, the aggregate effect of many of these cringe-inducing mea culpas is a death by 1,000 cuts.

    One also wonders whether or not the whole thing is a gambit in the reparations strategy. “You’ve apologized, now put your money where your mouth is.” I know it seems far-fetched, but now that the Dems are back in charge of the US Congress, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Cmte (John Conyers) is a staunch advocate of some sort of cash reparations.

    Maybe we should just all “get over it” and, what’s the term, “move on.”

  6. I challenge anyone to read SJ 332 and tell me what, specifically, it is that they object to. Obtuse, touchy-feely comments – I can get them by tuning in Rush or Fox News. And leave out the hypotheticals – there is no mention, hint, suggestion of reparations. This is the right thing to do, so do it.

  7. @ Bubby: I must have phrased my objections poorly, for “touchy-feely comments” are not my province. I leave those to folks who believe there is much healing to be had in apologizing for a 140 year-old wrong.

  8. Personally, I think spending time on the issue is worse than passing it. Yes, slavery is wrong. No, we won’t do it any more. And, as a Commonwealth, we do not feel (as, for example, South Carolina might) that the South Will Rise Again. Rather, we feel that things are okay.

    However, spending legislative time debating whether this issue should be passed seems a terrible waste. “No, I am going to keep this issue open because I don’t think we should apologize for atrocities that we weren’t alive for,” seems so much more foolish to me than saying, “Yeah, whatever, can we vote on this and move on to real business.” Naturally, there are likely rules of conduct that prevent such a speedy resolution, but I have my dreams. And, as Waldo says, that might not be good politicking, hence why I have not made the leap to public servitude.

    Oh, and good title, Waldo. Whatever the nature of the substance of the article, the title is catchy, and has a beat you can dance to.

  9. “And, as a Commonwealth, we do not feel (as, for example, South Carolina might) that the South Will Rise Again. Rather, we feel that things are okay.”

    I’m not so sure that the Commonwealth feels that way to me.
    For instance:
    • The hateful passing of the Marriage Amendment (or rather – make damn sure the Gays know they are second class citizens)
    • Virgil Goode’s proud display of xenophobia
    • George Allen’s seemingly racist past and successful political career (up until National pressure made our great Commonwealth take notice)
    • And of course the latest “just get over it”
    Just a taste of hate spewed by social dominant Republicans…

  10. Smails, how exactly is the Commonwealth of Virginia NOT an entity that is directly responsible for slavery?

    And given your logic, do you support the US apology to interned Japanese Americans during World War II?

  11. Corporations do this all the time. The company commits some atrocious act, they get caught, they fire the CEO and say “well, we fired that guy, so we can put that behind us now.”

  12. I’ll be the first to agree that apolagizing for slavery doesn’t change much. But NOT apolagizing for it? That says a lot.

  13. Dan,

    I thought I was clear. Perhaps not. The Commonwealth of Virginia in 2007 is most certainly NOT a political entity responsible for slavery. I am fairly confident even my poor powers of reason can defend this position.

    Secondly, no, I didn’t support the apology to interned Japanese Americans; however, I understood it as there were formerly interned nisei (sp?) still alive. Show me some former slaves and I’ll be the first to apologize to them.

    Let’s be honest. This whole thing is great politics for the left. As others have already pointed out, the failure of unreconstructed conservatives like myself to genuflect before the God of apology and abasement likely aids the left. But I don’t really care.

    Have fun with your apology. I’m sure it will rank with the Magna Carta and the Declaration of the Rights of Man as seminal moments in Western Civ.

  14. The Commonwealth of Virginia in 2007 is most certainly NOT a political entity responsible for slavery

    Was the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1866 a political entity responsible for slavery? If so, at what point did it cease being a political entity responsible for slavery? If not, why?

  15. Waldo & Dan,

    This is, IMO, a philosophical question. But when there are no perpetrators of the crime and no victims of the crime still alive, then I say the current entity is not responsible. However, I can certainly understand your argument.

    What I’m baffled by is your determination to keep a fire lit under this in the first place.

  16. The numbers tattooed on the arms of holocaust victims are database IDs, corresponding to database IDs used within IBM’s punch card system. IBM sold that system to Nazi Germany. They continued to do business with Germany long after it was illegal, setting up puppet corporations in order to remain within the letter of the law. They enabled Hitler’s meticulous process of recording the specifics on each of his millions of victims knowing full well what was being done with their technology. IBM only stopped doing business with Nazi Germany in 1945, when Germany fell. IBM generated enormously from that, and their shareholders today continue to benefit from that. Even after the last victims of the Holocaust have died, the perpetrator of the crime — IBM — will remain as guilty as ever. The very least that IBM could do is apologize.

    Likewise, Virginia benefited enormously from slavery, collecting taxes on the sale of human beings and enjoying a healthy economy premised on slavery. Virginia remains Virginia these 140 years later. We cannot undo the enormous profit that the state made on the literal back of slaves. We cannot give those people their lives back. We cannot retroactively grant them their freedoms, nor can we grant prosperity to their children, their children’s children, or their children’s children’s children. It’s too late. But couldn’t we at least apologize for it?

  17. Ouch. There went my D.C. street cred. My friends up there won’t harbor me anymore–I’m from a state so stupid it can’t manage to keep its mouth shut even when its been nationally embarrassed and accused of vicious bigotry twice in the past 4 months.

    Image counts. That’s why Vogue sells more copies than The National Review every month. Why do Virginian politicans have to be so serially dense? Is this a devious master plot to provide willful population control sans legislation?

  18. Living in flyover country can be a real bitch. I’m terribly sorry about yer DC street cred.

    BTW, I’ve got an extra copy of The National Review lying around here somewhere if you want it.

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