I recently read this: “But where in today’s politics is a robust, credible voice for optimism? Who’s pointing the way to a society of abundant opportunities for improvement? Not the right-veering Republicans, with their catalogue of resentments. And not the left-listing Democrats, with their litany of grievances. With less than a year before the presidential primaries begin, we have two parties of anger and no party of hope.”
I suggest that beautifully sums up today’s American political parties. The Republicans, led by Trump, have become the party of begrudgers to all except the wealthy. They have decided to go for “peace in our time” giving up legislative power to the president and embracing future enemies of the United States. The perils of the future they leave for the future. They turn a blind eye to the deficit they once abhorred as it climbs ever higher.
The Democrats led by no one have become the party of handouts. They, judging from their presidential candidates, are offering something for nothing as they outdo each other in proposing giving more free things to more people combing the country, if not the world, for people who have been injured by the American experiment.
I suppose a good example of this is Michael Moore. When told one of his ancestors was killed by native Americans during the King Philip War he shrugged. He said something to the effect “by what right did these white people come to this land and take it away from people who lived here.” He should have known it was through the old adage that might makes right was the right that they used for their conquests.
As part of the handout package the Democrats are now talking about making reparations to African-Americans for having instituted slavery in the country and continuing it with the Jim Crow laws for many years afterward. Some have suggested the reparations should extend to native-Americans, Asians, or even some in the LGBT persuasion for the suffering they encountered. One group no one seems to consider entitled to anything is the white Americans who are looked upon as the purveyors of all that is wrong.
I hope we all recognize that African-Americans and others have suffered grave wrongs at the hands of other Americans and even the American government. If reparations mean recognizing that such has occurred I have no problem with it. There is no doubt that blacks have gotten the short end of the stick.
When we recognize this we must keep in mind that it was not only those groups who didn’t receive a hearty handshake welcoming them to the United States. Those who immigrated here were never welcome as we’ve seen in the 1840s and 1850s with the nativist No Nothing party. The Irish, Germans, Italians, Eastern Europeans,and Jews, mostly from Russia and Ukraine, who came in the late 19th and early 20th century suffered greatly. The American streets were not lined with gold. They lived in slums, suffered with poverty and illness, froze in winters and smoldered in summer. There were no handouts to them, no food stamps or any income adjustments.
They are mostly blameless when it comes to slavery or appropriating the native-American lands. Are we to look at them to make reparations for things they had nothing to do with just because of the color of their skin? Or, do we omit them and just go after those who are descendants of the original settlers and perhaps those people who pushed the frontiers of early America to the west.
I can guarantee one thing: if the Democrats elect any candidate who is planning to talk about reparations they can kiss their chances for winning the presidency goodbye in 2020. There are too many Americans who took advantage of the free stuff America always offered: free schooling up through high school, free libraries, freedom to speak their minds as they saw fit, and freedom to seek whatever employment they wanted, who aren’t willing to start paying others who failed to take advantage of these freedoms.