Senate Apologizes For Lynching

The Senate has issued a resolution formally apologizing for not passing anti-lynching laws.

The Washington Post editorial makes an interesting note:

The principal sponsors of the resolution, Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and George Allen (R-Va.), rightly contend that the nation must ensure that this history is never forgotten or repeated. The Senate was in a position to protect the victims of lynching, and it did nothing. Rather than stand up for constitutional protections accorded all Americans, it bowed to the will of a southern minority that argued it was forcing greater deliberation in the Senate, that it was holding in check the power of the majority, and that they, the filibusterers, were reflecting the vision of the Founding Fathers — all while Americans far from the Senate chamber were being deprived of life, human dignity and the protection of law. It was that aspect of the human calamity that the Senate considered but failed to act on, and for which the Senate has now apologized.

I understand the Senate’s motivations here, but I fail to see the point. How would passing anti-lynching laws have changed the situation? It would have still required someone to enforce those laws, and the problem was not with a lack of laws (murder, of course, being illegal) but by the unwillingness to enforce the law. Could the Senate have done more? Certainly. Should they have? Absolutely. Would it have made a great deal of difference? I’m not so sure.

Of course, it’s interesting to note that a certain Senator who was a former member of the Klu Klux Klan still has quite the affinity for the tyranny of the minority when it comes to other issues, proving that those who fail to learn from history are damned to repeat it.

One thought on “Senate Apologizes For Lynching

  1. Good work tying together the two abuses of the filibuster – even though, sadly, the anti anti-lynching folks were actually using it as intended. But with evil ends.

    I don’t mind this apology, and don’t expect it to be a slippery slope. But it does raise the question about whether they should just issue a blanket apology for not doing all the things they should have done but didn’t. Maybe we should apologize for not declaring war on Germany in 1938, for starters. Or for doing nothing during the rape of nanking. Or for waiting 12 years while the rape rooms flourished in Iraq.

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