Reparations Rising

Did I just hear Barack Obama call for "reparations?"

I think I did. "I personally would want our tragic history, or the tragic elements of our history, acknowledged" said Obama. (those elements have only been the Democrat talking points daily since 1992 for crying out loud.) "The most important thing for the U.S. government to is not just offer words, but deeds."

There is plenty of wiggle room for Obama, but I think "deeds" here is code for, well, cash. And if so, it would not be totally inconsistent with those many sermons and messages of Jeremiah Wright Obama apparently missed while faithfully attending and supporting the Trinity United Church of Christ for a scant couple of decades.

Among Wright's accomplishments are being keynote speaker at the advocacy group group  N'COBRA  (National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America) in 2007. We can only assume that this was the Jeremiah Wright that Obama "doesn't know." (I mean it's bad enough that John Edwards sees 2 Americas... Obama sees 2 Wrights.)  The Wright that escaped the brilliant Obama's notice for 20 years is the one who delivered the talk "A Call for Justice and Repair" in which the foundational tenet was that

"the Biblical principal of true repentence is that the offended party is given compensation to make up for that which has been stolen from them, the losses that have been inflicted upon them and their families."

(I hate to quibble with the noted theologian, but the Biblical principle of true repentence has to do with the heart of the offender and little if anything to do with the financial condition of the offended. This must be the same bible that included transgender rights in the Sermon on the Mount.)

In addition to Wright, apparently one of the jivin' high fivin' congregants in total agreement with this principal is one Dr. Iva Carruthers She is a self-declared active member of the church, self-declared advocate of reparations and more importantly, an "Obama-declared" member of Obama's African American Religious Leadership Committee. (We are not sure who heads up McCain's White Religious Leadership Committee).

And on and on go the pro-reparations messages and efforts with deep roots to not only the TUCC, but in fact all of Chicago and certainly to the Obama campaign leadership. The city of broad shoulders is also known as the epi-center of the reparations movement. This is convenient because two African Americans who could personally fund a signficant reparations movement (Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan) made their fortunes in Chicago. In fact, good ole Jeremiah Wright himself hasn't done too badly in Chi-Town.  Not to mention Jesse Jackson. Which brings us to some interesting theories on reparations.

At the root of reparations is the idea of "repairing" or the insurance theory of "making one whole." Making one whole means, literally, restoring one to the pre-tort status that person or entity enjoyed. In other words, reparations is an un-winding of events and restoring order financially. It has nothing to do with motives, by the way. It is a results driven concept. 

So let's look at Oprah and Michael for a moment. Just how do you restore them to where they would have been without slavery? Last week, in fact, I saw Oprah's 35 million dollar house on a semi-private island just off Key West' famed Mallory Square. It's just a hunch, but I'm not so sure she would own that little shanty had there been no slave trade. And that impressive holding is but a drop in her financial bucket. Locals, in fact, are not even sure she's bothered to come see it. Afterall, it's only 35 mill...and from Chicago, you would need a private jet hop, a limo ride and a boat ride to get there. The travel alone would cost more than a lifetime of gross financial product of people in many African nations.

And we probably wouldn't know the name Air Jordan without slavery. Who would he be dunking on and who would care, sans slavery? There is no question that slavery was brutal and inhumane by our modern standards. It is a near-universal feature of human history, and its abolition is something the Western world (including America, which paid a bloody price) can take credit for. Slavery is far from extinct, by the way, and its remaining practitioners are found principally in Africa and the Middle East.

Obviously, the slave trade involving the United States, (where the buyers were white but the sellers were black, by the way) was an evil enterprise. But good has come out of the bad in the case of many of the descendents of slavery in the United States.

This is not to excuse the act or to whitewash the motives, but reparations are not about that. Reparations are about making financially whole... and whole is necessarily determined by what the financial status would be without the grievous act. Without the heinous act of the slave trade, many if not most or all of the descendents of slavery would be far worse off today, living in African nations with extreme poverty rampant. Very few, in fact, would trade places with the descendents of the blacks who were the sellers.

And the proof? Well, there are no walls keeping folks in America (or out for that matter, but that's another issue).

Theoretically, to make reparations absolutely fair, those African Americans who have struck it rich (white liberals would call this "winning lifes's lottery") would have to pay the rest of the American citizens the difference between what their net worth is now and what it could have reasonably been without them living in this country. In other words Oprah, Michael, Bill Cosby... get out your checkbooks. Uh, you too Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and Jeremiah Wright.

Of course, this will never happen. The reparations crowd wants to "acknowledge the tragic parts" of our history while conveniently forgetting that America is the nation that has provided the most opportunities to it's citizens, regardless of the circumstances of their arrival.