The left went into a predictable hissy this week after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s comments about his opposition to reparations for slavery. “We tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a Civil War, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We’ve elected an African American president. I think we’re always a work in progress in this country.”
While the liberal media has been desperate to accuse McConnell of calling Barack Obama’s presidency reparations for slavery, if you watch the video, it’s clear that what McConnell was saying—that the election of Barack Obama was a symbolic moment in the progress America has made over the last 150 years.
Obama himself acknowledged the symbolic nature of his election shortly before leaving office: “I think the whole country took some pride, and it was legitimate, that we had traveled enough along our journey from slavery, and Jim Crow, and discrimination to the point where we could elect somebody who looked like me to the highest office of the land,” Obama told NBC’s Lester Holt in an interview that aired less than a week before Trump too office.
Obama’s point was no different than Mitch McConnell’s. Americans fought and died to end slavery. Americans have passed significant pieces of legislation to correct injustices. Americans even elected an African American to the highest office of the land.
How many liberals were outraged by Obama’s comments? I’m guessing zero.
Obama clearly thought that America had already “traveled enough along our journey from slavery” before he was elected president, and he has repeatedly expressed opposition to reparations for slavery: “The best reparations we can provide are good schools in the inner city and jobs for people who are unemployed.”
Obama didn’t accomplish either of those two goals, so if electing Obama was considered reparations for slavery, it was pretty lousy reparations. In fact, black Americans did worse under Obama than they have under Trump, Bush, or Clinton. Race relations took many giant steps in the wrong direction under Obama, and the fact that we’re even talking about reparations in the wake of his presidency tells you all you need to know. Unfortunately, without race-baiting and victim culture, the Democratic Party has nothing to offer black Americans, their most reliable voting bloc.
If electing a black man president isn’t enough for the left to finally move beyond race, nothing will be. No amount of reparations will ever be enough for them to say that we can finally put an end to policies like affirmative action in college admissions, employment, and the awarding of government contracts. We’re constantly being told we need these policies to level the playing field. Does anyone really believe that any amount of reparations would be enough for its proponents to say we no longer need affirmative action policies?
As McConnell noted, there are serious logistical issues in how slavery reparations would even work. There are many arguments against slavery reparations that should have put this issue to bed long ago. The only reason we’re even talking about reparations right now is that a majority of black Americans support the concept of reparations and 2020 Democratic candidates are trying to win over black voters.
Matt Margolis is the author of the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy, will be published on July 30, 2019. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis