Oops. Our bad! No hard feelings black people! That’s the message that the U.S. Senate sent out today, apologizing for wrongs done to blacks through slavery and Jim Crow segregation laws. This isn’t the first time our Senate has apologized either. They’ve issued mea culpa to people of Japanese descent who were interred during World War II, to Hawaiians for overthrowing their kingdom so that we could have a nice vacation spot and to Native Americans for the whole stealing and raping of the land and killing them off with smallpox thing.
And that’s nice. I remember when I was four years old and my mom taught me that you should try to never hurt people, but if you do, that you should always say you’re sorry. Then I got to have ice cream.
So, I can’t help but wonder why it takes Congress almost 150 years to do something that I mastered at the age of four. Do they not serve ice cream in the Senate cafeteria? Did all of our Senators grow up without mothers?
What troubles me most is why now? I mean no disrespect but everyone who was once a slave is now dead, the apology, in addition to being long overdue, is falling on ears that are listening from heaven, so I can’t help but wonder why our elected officials are finally apologizing to dead people when those of us who are still alive are in such desperate times.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that dead people vote more religiously than the living do?
I can’t help but wonder if in 150 years, our Congress will get together and formally apologize to the descendants of slaves who were alive in 2009 and didn’t have health care, who were unemployed, whose mortgages were in foreclosure because instead of actually doing something about the problems of the day, in a dire and serious time, they chose to pander and prance on camera, posing for pictures, slapping each other on the back for doing something a child could and would have done in less than five minutes back when the people we were apologizing to were still around?
I wonder if they’ll apologize to the rest of us who face the same circumstances? I wonder if they’ll admit that their predecessors, so completely incompetent that they wanted no part in solving the issues of the day, chose instead to make news splashes with issues that were important, but in no way time sensitive?
I wonder how alone President Obama must feel? I wonder if he shakes his head and questions exactly how he’s supposed to affect change in a country that desperately needs it when an entire third of the government is actively working on apologizing for things that happened 150 years ago. Even as a black man, I wonder if our President is just rolling his eyes and asking God, how can he possibly be surrounded by so much ineptitude? What a lonely feeling it must be to try to solve a financial crisis, out of control unemployment, financial institution collapse, a couple of wars, lack of a coherent and effective healthcare, energy crisis and every other problem of the day when the 535 members of the legislative branch of the government are high fiving, smiling and posing for pictures with whatever black people they can find?
Perhaps we should take note. Perhaps, when our Senators and Congressmen are next elected, we should ask them what they were doing with their time when we were hurting? Were they actively seeking solutions to current issues that faced our nation, or were they posturing, taking care of business that children could have accomplished in much less time?
Perhaps the Change We Need involves more than the election of just one man. Perhaps we’ll have to clean the whole damn house and save our ancestors from the idiocy of a too late apology that can only sooth a sting that won’t ever fully heal.