Tuesday, February 12, 2008

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

As the Democratic campaign inches forward one hears the above comment used as a barometer of how each candidate is doing after an event. It would seem that society as a whole is following that lead.

The AP headline that read Australia to apologize to Aborigines caught my attention. One more nation offering official apologies to the oppressed. We've certainly done it often enough here. To the first peoples, to the Japanese internees, to slaves. I've always had a bit of trouble getting a grasp on why a current government should apologize for the behavior of what a preceding one did to preceding generations of oppressed. Especially when it comes to the point of paying retribution to ancestors who were in no way involved.

One rationale is that it's a recognition of a wrong and an implied pledge it won't happen again. That would be the step forward.

If apologies are due to the oppressed it should be those existing today. Maybe to the Iraqi people for the shambles we've made of their country.

Even more so, perhaps for the racist overtones from the Governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell. The Pennsylvania primary is upcoming and considered vital to the Clinton campaign. In supposed support of Hillary, Governor Rendell had this to say, "You've got conservative whites here, and I think there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate."

Talk about tarring conservative white voters! Conservative? Aren't they Republicans? Rendell is Democrat. Or are Pennsylvania Democrats considered conservative? What does that make Hillary? Just exactly what is he saying??

He did have this to say about Lynn Swann, his Republican opponent in the 2006 gubernatorial election, "...had Lynn Swann been the identical candidate that he was - well spoken, charismatic, good-looking - but white instead of black, instead of winning by 22 points, I would have won by 17 or so."

Wow. I don't know who most deserves an apology here, whites, blacks, conservatives, Democrats or Republicans or the citizens of Pennsylvania. How about all of them! Will this galvanize voters who have gotten beyond race?

Pennsylvania will be interesting to watch.

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