Friday, May 11, 2007
But, Uh, Do You Really Mean It?
From today's Houston Chronicle we learn that State Senator Rodney Ellis is trying to get a statement of 'profound regret' over slavery from the state of Texas. This seems to be part of a national trend of states apologizing (or coming close) for their role in slavery. Admirable, but I'm from the actions speak louder than words category. The damage wrought by slavery and its aftermath are definitely still with us to this day, and inform the actions of most people in some way or another.
But hey, I give Sen. Ellis props for putting it out there, even in a watered down fashion...
State Sen. Rodney Ellis is seeking a statement of "profound regret," rather than an apology, for the role Texas government played in the institution of slavery, hoping it will produce less resistance to the symbolic gesture.
"This is about putting the Legislature on record, making a direct moral judgment instead of an apology, which some people believe is an admission of personal responsibility," Ellis, D-Houston, said during testimony in the State Affairs Committee on Thursday.
"I'm sensitive to that concern, so, rather than have that serve as a barrier, I'm seeking an expression of regret for the role of government in establishing and maintaining the institution of slavery."
But this is Texas y'all, so you know the resistance will come fast and furious, including the old standby, this time delivered courtesy of Sen. Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville.
"As we look back on history there's a lot we can have regrets about. Slavery ended over 140 years ago. Why should Texas Legislature say something about it now?"
But politics makes for strange bedfellows, as evidenced by a companion bill presented in the House by State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, that was referred to committee but never received a hearing. That bill was cosponsored by:
Rep. Sid Miller, R-Stephenville, who earlier this session sought to preserve some Confederate statues on state property such as the University of Texas, signed on as a joint author to Thompson's measure.
Sounds like a quid pro quo; you acknowledge our history of being enslaved and oppressed, we'll acknowledge your traitorous, slave-holding ancestors. By any means necessary indeed. You can read the entire article here.