Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
“Democracy Dies in Darkness,” The Washington Post’s tagline says. Well, it’s a good thing that we have the intrepid reporters from the Post looking up hugely important stories like this one:
by Eli Rosenberg | July 8, 2019 | 8:04 PM EDT
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a direct descendant of two slave owners in his family line, according to an NBC report published Monday.
James McConnell and Richard Daley, two of the Kentucky Republican’s great-great-grandfathers, owned at least 14 slaves in Limestone County, Ala., NBC reported, citing 19th-century census records. All but two of the slaves were female.
McConnell, who grew up in the area of Limestone County, has said he opposes reparations, the process of giving compensation to the descendants of slaves. The idea of reparations has recently animated the political debate surrounding racial injustice.
“I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago, when none of us currently living are responsible, is a good idea,” he said in June before a House committee held hearings on the matter. “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.”
Well, good heavens! Two of Senator McConnell’s great-great-grandfather’s owned slaves. Why, it’s almost as though the Senate Majority Leader was down on the plantation, cracking the whip himself.
What is the purpose of this drivel? It’s actually pretty simple: the article tells us that Mr McConnell opposes the idea of paying reparations to the descendants of American slaves, and the readers are supposed to infer that his position is somehow illegitimate because two of his ancestors, four generations back, owned slaves.
The article points out that Mr McConnell has never acknowledged that there are slave owners among his distant ancestors, but does not state whether Mr McConnell was aware of this in the first place.
While I highly doubt that there were any slave owners in my family tree, simply due to where my ancestors lived — New England on my mother’s side, and Hawai’i on my father’s — I do not know that to be true; why would I? Slavery in the United States was ended 88 years before I was born.
The article quoted NBC:
Slavery experts have stressed that descendants of slave owners should not be held personally responsible for the deeds of their forebears. But they have also argued that the families that descended from slave owners, like McConnell’s, are likely to have benefited from the labor of slaves that propped up farm families in earlier generations — a point made by many reparations supporters, who have said that descendants of slaves were never compensated for the economic benefit their forebears made to white families.
Given that the slaveholders lost a great deal when the Confederacy lost and the slaves were freed, one has to wonder: just how much of that economic benefit survived for those families following the War Between the States?
Still, the article fails in a way that the writer might not have anticipated. In arguing that “families that descended from slave owners” may have had lasting economic advantages from slavery in the past, he unwittingly makes the concomitant point, that those families who are not descended from slave owners did not have those advantages, and thus calls for reparations payments from white Americans in general, which several of the Double Dozen Dummies running for the Democratic presidential nominations support, make no sense.
The Post’s story is hopelessly trivial as a matter of news — I’m pretty certain the brain cell I’ve just wasted storing the information from the article could be put to better use — but its ‘value’ is as an editorial masquerading as a news story. When the arguments for reparations sink to this level of stupidity, you know that the whole idea is just that: stupid.
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