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And Now Reparations?
Dov Fischer
by

Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. The Democrats’ leading Presidential contenders now are filing in line, like lemmings preparing to jump off a cliff, with one crazy proposal after another. The question for which we all must gird is whether enough of America’s culture and way of life has been altered and deconstructed — by decades of unrestrained immigration chaos and by a generation of abandoning college indoctrination to the Left — so that the American electorate is ready to jump with them.

The latest insanity is the race by Democrat contenders to promise “reparations” to American Blacks for the historic crime of slavery. They do not believe in this proposal, obviously not. Otherwise, Kamala Harris and Julian Castro and Princess Speaking Bull would have proposed it years ago when each first sought elective office. Expect Cory Booker and the most cynical and fluid power-seeker of them all, Kirsten Gillibrand, to join the chorus soon. This latest madness is offered as a bald-faced bribe, a cash payment for votes, pure and simple. “Vote for me, and I will send you a check.”

First, a few questions to contemplate:

  1. Who Pays for the Reparations?

My ancestors, like those of more than 90 percent of American Jews, arrived in this country between 1881-1914 during the great wave that emigrated from Eastern Europe after the pogroms that erupted upon the March 13, 1881 assassination of Tsar Alexander II. Not only did my Russian and Polish ancestors not own slaves in America, but they arrived here more than two decades after all slaves had been set free. They knew no English, only that the Government would not take care of them if they got sick, would not send them a check if they did not earn enough, would not assure them time off for family care, would not assist them in buying food, would not accommodate their kids’ acculturation by offering bilingual education in Yiddish. On the other hand, they understood that the American Government would not persecute them too much, if at all, and would give them a fair chance to better their lives if they worked hard, kept their noses to the grindstone, followed the country’s rules and laws, made sure that their kids stayed out of trouble, and showed proper reasonable respect to authority figures and institutions. They thought the arrangement reasonable, so they honored it.

Do we — their descendants — have to pay reparations for slavery?

Most other Caucasian immigrants who came here from other European countries like Ireland, Italy, Germany, and Poland also arrived in the mid-19th century or later, and they mostly settled in the Northeast and Midwest. To this day, we loosely associate Italian and Irish immigrants with cities like New York and Boston, Polish immigrants with Chicago, and German immigrants with Cincinnati and St. Louis. None of these cities were in slave states. Indeed, many of these immigrants were struggling in the North, facing discriminations aimed directly at them. Americans even had names of deprecation for them. For the Irish, it was the M-word. For Italians, the W-word and the D-word. For Jews, the K-word. For Germans, a different K-word. For Poles, the P-word. In many cities, “NINA” signs were common: No Irish Need Apply. On Bloody Monday in 1855, Louisville Protestants attacked Irish and German immigrants, with as many as 100 homes, businesses, and tenements vandalized, looted or burned and more than twenty people murdered. In 1891, after the New Orleans police chiefwas assassinated, with certain Italian immigrants suspected of the murder, rioters lynched eleven Italian immigrants. A future President, Theodore Roosevelt, said that the mass lynching was “a rather good thing,” and John Parker, who helped organize the lynching, later was elected Governor of Louisiana.He described Italians as “just a little worse than the Negro, being if anything filthier in their habits, lawless, and treacherous.”Not only were these European immigrants oblivious to the slavery situation, but many of them also were conscripted by the Union to fight in the South during the Civil War to free theslaves. There were riots in New York, as wealthier established Americans bought their ways out of serving, leaving it for the Irish and other new arrivals to bear a greater burden of that responsibility. So: Do the descendants of Irish, Italian, German, and Polish immigrants also have to bear the tax burden of reparations? Or do Harris, Warren, Castro, and the others perhaps want to expand reparations to the families of downtrodden European immigrants?

As for Asian Americans, significant numbers of Chinese immigrants started arriving in the West during the mid-19th century California Gold Rush, continuing during the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. They faced a hundred years of Government-approved persecution, often enacted by legislatures, enforced by governors, and upheld by the courts. During the post-slavery 1871 Los Angeles Chinese Massacre, a mob of 500 — comprising eight percent of the entire 6,000-person city population of men, women, and children at the time — hanged as many as twenty Chinese immigrants. A decade later, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was signed by President Chester Arthur, barring all Chinese immigration into America. It was not repealed at all until the Magnuson Act of 1943 modified the restriction, allowing 105 Chinese immigrants per year to enter. Meanwhile, Japanese Americans faced similar anti-Asian discrimination in the West where they were based, marked by the Asiatic Exclusion League, laws in California like the Alien Land Law of 1913 that barred Japanese immigrants from owning land, and reaching its zenith during the mass round-ups and incarcerations under Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 that saw more than 110,000 Japanese Americans interned in “War Relocation Camps” during the 1940s. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld these concentrationcamps.Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944).

  1. Who Gets the Reparations?

And whogetsthe reparations? Barack Obama? He is the son of a White mother — and of a free African father who freely skipped town soon enough. Obama was reared by the mother and the White grandmother, started in Hawaii, spent some time in Indonesia, then back to Occidental College, Columbia, and Harvard. Does he get reparations? His wife? Their kids?

Eric Holder, Dr. Ben Carson, LeBron James, Loretta Lynch, Gen. Colin Powell, Dr. Susan Rice, Herman Cain, Colin Kaepernick, Spike Lee, Kenneth Frazier (CEO of Merck), Henry Aaron, Oprah Winfrey, Robert L. Johnson (CEO of Black Entertainment Television), Russell Simmons, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Serena and Venus Williams, Kenneth Chenault (CEO of American Express), Willie Mays, Maxine Waters, Beyoncé Knowles, Kobe Bryant, Don Lemon, Magic Johnson, Clarence Thomas, Aaron Judge, Cory Booker, C.C. Sabathia, Kanye West, Tony Dungy, Tiger Woods, Condoleezza Rice, Mike Tyson, Valerie Jarrett: They are examples of African Americans who have achieved greatly in America, regardless of party affiliation, political perspective, or choice of vocation. Dotheyget reparations? How about others like them who have succeeded in politics and government, academia, business, sports, the arts and sciences? Al Sharpton — a street hustler, pogrom inciter, and publicist for Tawana Brawley — now a Reverend who visited the Obama White House more than seventy times and a TV host: Does he get reparations? Jesse Jackson? Louis Farrakhan? Tamika Mallory?

  1. And What About the Caucasian Economic Underclass Who Fought the Confederacy to Free the Slaves?

Do West Virginian Caucasians pay towards those reparations? Studies repeatedly demonstrate that West Virginians in Appalachia, as well as Appalachian Caucasians in bordering eastern Kentucky, are among the most financially depressed of all Americans. Their very lives, with many based in the coal-mining industry, leave them exposed to pneumoconiosis, and the entire coal industry is on the verge of collapse, notwithstanding the President’s efforts to revive the industry, because economic realities are that hydraulic fracturing and natural gas production comes cheaper, cleaner, and more efficiently. During the Civil War, the people of West Virginia broke off from the state of Virginia following the Wheeling Conventions of 1861, making it the first state to form by separating from another since Maine had broken off from Massachusetts in 1820 and then was admitted into the Union as part of the Missouri Compromise. Kentucky, likewise, although associated in the common American mindset with Dixie, bourbon, tobacco, and Southern culture — think: Colonel Sanders and southern-fried chicken, Stephen Foster songs about Swanee River and My Old Kentucky Home “where the darkies are gay,” and the perceived Southern accents — actually was a Northern state during the Civil War, with but a small secessionist segment based in Bowling Green breaking off to affiliate with the Confederacy. The East Kentucky coal miners were in the Union through and through, even as they pointed proudly to Abraham Lincoln’s lineage in Hodgenville. So do the economically devastated Caucasians of anti-slavery Hatfield-McCoy Appalachia, they whose ancestors gave their lives to free the slaves, have to pay towards reparations?

Slavery ended more than 150 years ago. The country did not plan the emancipation properly, and carpetbaggers from the North took advantage of opportunities to exploit new conditions for their own gain. The African American community indeed was devastated by slavery, by the ensuing failure of the nation to bring the newly freed into the economic mainstream and to assure their educational and cultural integration into the middle class. All very true. Discrimination continued into the second half of the 20th century, giving rise to the Civil Rights movement for which the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his life. Bathrooms remained segregated, as did lunch counters, motels and hotels, water fountains, and public transit. Towards this end, the people of the United States ultimately changed course dramatically. Rightly or wrongly, “affirmative action” plans gained currency in universities and corporations, as quotas were set (benignly euphemized as “goals and timetables”), even giving rise to counter-lawsuits from Caucasian plaintiffs denied opportunities because of reverse discrimination. However, the “Affirmative Action” plans by-and-large remained unscathed, if recalibrated. Indeed, it was under the rubric of such “Affirmative Action” plans that Elizabeth Warren perpetrated her fraud of gaining footholds by presenting dubiously as an “American Indian.” African Americans likewise were banned from major league sports into the mid-century, but Jackie Robinson broke one racial barrier, and soon enough African Americans were proliferating successfully in major league baseball, basketball, and football.

If reparations for slaveryevermade sense, that time has long passed. Sometimes a moment in time passes. In the law, when someone waits too long to ask for equity to be done, the courts speak of the doctrine of laches. America long ago moved on. The issue of reparations today is nothing but a scam on the American electorate, part of a Democrat Presidential cycle that is beginning to spiral out of control quite prematurely, as their unprecedented number of candidates emerge to out-promise each other, to outflank each other on the Left in an effort to attract the energy of the Ocasio-Cortez activists who do the work of knocking on doors throughout the State Primaries and hanging around for endless hours during state caucuses. So the “Green New Deal,” whose cost now is being estimated as high as $93 trillion or $65,000 per household over ten years — now gets amplified by another multi-trillion-dollar bribe to an important Democrat voting bloc in key Southern primaries: “Vote for me, and I will extract trillions more from a federal Treasury that is bursting with debt, to pass on to you and your kids.” “And free college tuition to all if you college students vote for me.” “And free health care to anyone not already included in the promises of (i) reparations, (ii) free college tuition, (iii) the Green New Deal guarantee of assured income even for those unwilling to work, and (iv) the promise of open borders, closing down Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and tearing down any border barriers that previously have been erected.”

And for everyone else contemplating the impending collapse of everything this country was, legalized marijuana.

Dov Fischer
Dov Fischer
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Rabbi Dov Fischer, Esq., a high-stakes litigation attorney of more than twenty-five years and an adjunct professor of law of more than fifteen years, is rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County, California. His legal career has included serving as Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review, clerking for the Hon. Danny J. Boggs in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and then litigating at three of America’s most prominent law firms: JonesDay, Akin Gump, and Baker & Hostetler. In his rabbinical career, Rabbi Fischer has served several terms on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America, is Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Coalition for Jewish Values, has been Vice President of Zionist Organization of America, and has served on regional boards of the American Jewish Committee, B’nai Brith Hillel, and several others. His writings on contemporary political issues have appeared over the years in the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Jerusalem Post, National Review, American Greatness, The Weekly Standard, and in Jewish media in American and in Israel. A winner of an American Jurisprudence Award in Professional Legal Ethics, Rabbi Fischer also is the author of two books, including General Sharon’s War Against Time Magazine, which covered the Israeli General’s 1980s landmark libel suit.
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