Kill The Fillibuster
My name is Laura Garrett. I live in Greensboro, NC. I would like to urge my senators to do whatever you can to end the use of the filibuster. I believe the filibuster blocks the way for genuine progress in lawmaking, slowing down meaningful exchange of ideas and impeding progress on important legislation. In particular, the filibuster has been used historically to block civil rights legislation.
This issue is important to me. I grew up in the ’60s and am now seeing so many things in the news that show there is still much work to be done to achieve equality for all. I am 67 years old. I am physically disabled. I have family members who are gay. I have friends who deal with racial bias. I am saddened by the blatant hatred I see displayed publicly toward those who are “different.” I fervently call on senators of both parties to stand up and do the right thing: Vote to end the filibuster, opening the way for genuine progress to be made.
Reparation Study Not Needed
In a March 21, 2021 letter to the editor in the HP Enterprise, Mr. Frank Thomas representing the Mount Zion Baptist Church asked, “What harm would it be to create a commission to examine the history of slavery in the US and see if some appropriate remedy would be possible.” His “appropriate remedies” included reparations, remediation and restitution. The two common elements of these ‘appropriate remedies” is that blacks receive the benefits of the remedies and they all cost money, i.e. cash. Aside from speaking for his church members and others, trying to get money for past societal sins will only further divide our country by race. But since he brought up this divisive idea that creates a problem and does not solve one, let’s ask some basic questions.
First some facts. Some, but not all Southern whites were slave holders. Most Northerners were not slave owners. Mr. Thomas thinks that if you are black, the government may owe you some type of benefit. Do all blacks get money or benefits from these remedies or just those that are not well educated, wealthy or successful? Will only Southern blacks receive benefits? Will blacks who were themselves slave traders receive benefits or pay for other blacks to receive benefits? How will the government know if a person was a slave or a slave trader? Do mixed race blacks receive a full or partial share of the remedies? Is there a minimum percentage of black you must be to benefit from the remedies? Is it 1 percent, 25 percent, 50 percent?
Will only Southern whites pay? If Northern state whites fought against slavery, why would they pay at all? Will mixed race whites pay less than people who are 100 percent white? How about blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Italian, Spanish, Irish, undocumented people and others who came to America after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed and had nothing to do with slavery? Do they pay or will they share in the “benefits”? What about people who live in parts of the country that were not even in the US when slavery existed? Should they pay?
Is the government (all taxpayers) going to pay to DNA test the entire population to determine what percentage of black, white or “other” you are so they can determine if you are to receive the benefits or pay for them? How much is DNA testing going to cost and is it mandatory? How much money (benefits) will it take for black or mixed-race people to feel they have been justifiably compensated for the sins of people that died about 150 years ago? How and who will make all these decisions?
Once blacks receive god only knows how many benefits paid for by god only knows how many people, will they close the door on this issue forever or will some say that no matter what is done it will never be enough? What do we do then? These are all logical questions that must be answered if reparations, restitution or remediation of past societal sins are to be used.
When will this obsession with past sins end? Are (partial) blacks so much less than “whole” that it will take only a few benefits or bucks to make them “whole” again? Here we are 158 years after slavery ended and Mr. Thomas is still talking about it and he wants benefits that cost money. What a waste of time on something that will only divide us more. Does anyone really want or need a more divided country? I certainly don’t. Do you?
Past mistakes belong in our past. We need to learn from our mistakes so we don’t make them again. But we don’t need a study to tell us what happened. Everybody Knows And It Was Wrong! Instead of living in the past and trying to collect a “pound of flesh” (benefits paid for with cash), let’s all look forward and continue to build a better society and future for everyone. My parents raised me not to think or care about the color of a person’s skin because it was simply unimportant. It is a lesson that millions of people learned and continue to learn today. As Dr. King said, we should judge people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. On that, we should all agree and continue to work towards that goal.