Apologizing for someone else’s actions

Worldview Item of the Day

Today, the House voted to issue a formal apology to American blacks for the wrongs committed against them by slavery and segregation.

This nation has a long and torturous history of race relations, of which this action by the House is but the latest example. While the sentiment of the House resolution may seem sincere, I believe it simply continues the vicious cycle of racism that plagues this nation.

I want to understand how the House can apologize for the actions of people who did not themselves apologize for their actions. I want to understand how the House can tacitly apologize on my behalf for something I did not do. The House presumes that they can speak for people whose mind they cannot know.

I am not a racist, so I do not need to apologize. I am not my ancestors, who may or may not have been racists or slave owners, so I do not need to apologize for them. No one can hold me responsible for actions committed by other people, even if they were citizens of my nation. Only God can do that. Who exactly is apologizing for what, then?

I am a believer in the innate worth of every individual. I believe that we are all created equal and that every American should have the opportunity to pursue their dreams to the fullest of their abilities free from the encumbrance of government and the interference of others. I do not care what color, race, national origin, or gender a person happens to be. Everyone is equal and deserves the same playing field.

I do not believe the government can create that playing field through regulation and resolution. Instead, I believe that the best way to achieve equality is by letting individuals help individuals as each sees the need and has the desire. Nameless bureaucracies only serve to create categories that rarely fit individuals, categories that usually do require apologies. Is that the apology the House offers?

The House’s resolution serves only to resurrect the specter of the problems that once were, distracting everyone from the problems that are now. What the nation needs is not apologies for the past but sincere effort to put the past to rest by ensuring the future does not repeat it. I do not need anyone to apologize on my behalf to be part of that solution. It is too bad the House cannot resolve to be part of that solution as well.

If the House wants to apologize for something, perhaps it can do so for saying something on my behalf that I would never say myself. While it is at it, it can also apologize for busying itself with nonsense and failing to do the People’s work. If they do something about that last apology, it would be one we can all accept.


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1 Response to Apologizing for someone else’s actions

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