Democratic Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and other progressive — read “Democrat” — legislators, Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), are out there demanding $14 trillion in reparations for Black Americans.
Bush said at a press conference that there was a “moral and legal obligation” to provide reparations to Black Americans for slavery. She added:
Black people in our country cannot wait any longer for our government to begin addressing each and every one of the extraordinary bits of harm, all of the harm it has caused since the founding, that it continues to perpetuate each and every day across all our communities, all across this country.
But there’s a curious hitch.
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There is only one political party in America now existing that was founded by slave owners, and the self-same party is the only modern party that began itself by writing six platforms in a row supporting slavery. It is the same party that opposed the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution that abolished slavery and gave Blacks due-process rights and the right to vote. And it is, per historians, the party that used the Ku Klux Klan as its military arm — and, when called on to apologize for its Klan support at its 1924 convention, refused.
It would seem, then, that Bush and her progressive compadres in the House would jump at the chance to demand that the party pay reparations for all of the above.
But in fact? There’s nothing but silence coming from Bush and the others.
Why might that be? Maybe because, of course, the Democratic Party that did all of the above is now their party. A party that, doubtless, gives them regular financial support for their political careers, as well as other Democratic pols.
So much for those reparations for average Black Americans.
Yet there is Bush out there hoping no one will notice when she says this:
The United States has a moral and legal obligation to provide reparations for the enslavement of Africans and its lasting harm on the lives of millions of Black people.
Her resolution also says this:
Whereas Black people are, and always have been, human beings, yet the Federal Government has historically failed to recognize our dignity and humanity.
Slavery in America, of course, predates the founding of the United States of America. But once the Constitution was passed and the formal governmental structure of the new nation was in place, political parties arrived — the first of which was the Democrats, the co-founding of what is now America’s oldest political party attributed in history to Presidents Thomas Jefferson and later Andrew Jackson. Both men, famously, were slave owners, as were many of their followers.
Hence it should come as no surprise that — when the new Democratic Party began the practice of writing the party’s positions on issues of the day in their “platform” — support for slavery was front and center. Let’s be specific.
The 1840 Democratic Platform set the pattern for the first six party platforms on just what Democratic Party policy toward slavery was.
Number 7 in its list of campaign policy statements read:
Resolved, That Congress has no power, under the Constitution, to interfere with or control the domestic institutions of the several states, and that such states are the sole and proper judges of everything appertaining to their own affairs, not prohibited by the Constitution; that all efforts by abolitionists or others, made to induce Congress to interfere with questions of slavery, or to take incipient steps in relation thereto, are calculated to lead to the most alarming and dangerous consequences, and that all such efforts have an inevitable tendency to diminish the happiness of the people, and endanger the stability and permanency of the union, and ought not to be countenanced by any friend to our political institutions.
In short, the Democratic Party, in its very first platform, made plain that the party supported slavery and that the federal government — Congress — “has no power … to interfere with or control” slavery. And, pointedly, the platform made plain that, if it tried, there would be a war that would “endanger the stability and permanency of the union.”
After writing another five platforms like this every four years, that Civil War arrived. It took Republican President Abraham Lincoln and his GOP supporters in Congress to abolish slavery over the objections of Democrats.
Which is to say, with her own party directly on record as supporting slavery and, when winning elections, using the power of the United States government to enforce slavery and later Jim Crow laws — Cori Bush and her “progressive” compatriots suddenly fall silent about the notion that the Democratic National Committee should now pay reparations.
Which maybe, just maybe, would cut into the financial support that Bush and other Democrats receive from the Democratic Party for their election campaign funds.
Recall, specifically, that Bush is demanding $14 trillion in reparations. So that means the DNC would have to spend considerable time and effort to raise, say, even half of that. And it could take years — many, many election cycles in which the party could not finance its candidates like Bush. With DNC campaign contributions to Bush and her friends presumably going by the wayside to pay for, yes indeed, reparations.
But this reparations issue is important to Bush, so she says.
So doubtless Bush and her Democratic friends will finally get moving on getting the DNC — and party leader President Joe Biden — to both apologize for the party’s rigorous support for slavery (never yet done), and, yes, get the DNC started on paying that $14 trillion in reparations.
Don’t wait up.