Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Beyond the Pale

Move over, Virgil Goode! You have just been ousted from your position as the most racist, bigoted, hateful Rethuglican politician in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The new holder of the title is state delegate Frank D. Hargrove, of Hanover County. Here’s what our local rag, the Daily Progress (known to its more dyspeptic readers as “the Regress”), has to say about Del. Hargrove’s deeply offensive behavior:

Frank D. Hargrove, Sr.RICHMOND — A Hanover County delegate’s comments that Virginia’s black residents should “get over” slavery and discussing whether Jews might “apologize for killing Christ” drew angry and emotional rebukes Tuesday on the floor of the House of Delegates.

Del. Frank D. Hargrove, R-Glen Allen, responded to a tearful Jewish delegate from Alexandria whose ancestors came to America from Nazi-occupied Poland by telling him, “I think your skin was a little too thin.”

Stunned delegates gasped as Hargrove responded with two comments about “thin skin” to his seatmate, Del. David L. Englin, D-Alexandria, who had spoken moments earlier about his family having been “driven from their homes by people who believed that as Jews, we killed Christ.”

No wonder they gasped. Mr. Hargrove has dared to utter one of those sentiments which simply cannot be said. It just isn’t done. I’d say that his political career is in jeopardy, but, since he’s seventy-nine years old, that may not be of great concern to him.

The Coalition of the Easily Offended was quick to get to the microphones:

“It’s an inflammatory statement that causes a lot of pain to a lot of people,” Englin said. He then held up a picture of his 7-year-old son, Caleb, and said that Hargrove “means no harm [but false statements such as that] mean that my 7-year-old son is that much more likely to be verbally attacked, to be physically attacked.”

Ah, yes, the children. The poor wee bairns, how that awful man has hurt them!
- - - - - - - - - -
Del. Dwight C. Jones, D-Richmond and chairman of the Black Legislative Caucus, called Hargrove’s comment that black Virginians should get over slavery “an absolute offense.”

“When somebody tells me that I should get over slavery, I can only express my emotions by saying I am appalled, absolutely appalled, that someone would take the worst institution that has ever faced Americans and tell the [descendants] of those individuals that they should just get over it,” Jones told fellow delegates.

What brought this topic to the fore? How did a distinguished Virginia politician get himself into such hot water?

It seems that there’s a move afoot in Virginia to apologize for slavery:

Hargrove, a 79-year-old veteran of the House since 1982, had said in the interview published Tuesday that he opposed a resolution apologizing on behalf of the state to the descendants of slaves because “the present commonwealth has nothing to do with slavery.”

An eminently sensible remark; nothing offensive there.

Bill Clinton is the undisputed master of apologizing for something he didn’t do to people who were not harmed by the offense. It was a cost-free publicity stunt for him, and had no downside. The fact that it made no sense was no impediment to his teary photo-ops.

But Mr. Hargrove is cut from a different cloth. He not only offended the gods of PC, he went and got himself a twofer:

Hargrove said in the interview that slavery ended with the Civil War and added, “I personally think that our black citizens should get over it.” He also asked how far back apologies should go and wondered, “Are we going to force the Jews to apologize for killing Christ?”

Blacks and Jews in one go! He should have brought up Little Big Horn and the Indians, plus the Alamo and the Mexicans. Then he could have offended four Official Designated Victim Groups at once.

And his lily-livered gonad-impaired Republican colleagues displayed their accustomed courage in the face of such controversy:

Republicans later declined to defend Hargrove’s comments but insisted he meant no harm.

“I know he didn’t mean offense, but I can see how people would be offended,” said House GOP Leader H. Morgan Griffith of Salem. “The general gist of Frank’s comments is he certainly didn’t mean any offense to his seatmate, whom he likes.”

Griffith called the issue of an apology for slavery “a difficult issue. … I can’t say it’s a clear-cut, easily decided issue.”

When you join the Republican Party, they give you a welcome basket containing a red-white-and-blue top hat, an elephant lapel pin, and a bag of meal for your mouth.

This was as far as the state GOP would go:

Keith Drake, chairman of the Albemarle County Republican Committee, issued a statement Tuesday saying a resolution expressing appreciation “to recognize the significant contributions of slaves” would be more appropriate and positive.

Because no slaves or slaveholders are alive, “it is unclear who is apologizing to whom,” Drake said. He said the Marsh and McEachin resolution “serves no useful purpose. It merely opens old wounds.”

Mr. Drake has stated the problem in a nutshell: “Who is apologizing to whom?”

I have two grand-nephews of mixed racial ancestry. Their great-great-great-great-grandfather owned slaves. Their great-great-something-grandfather was a slave. What do they do, apologize to each other?

As a matter of fact, my great-great-grandfather returned from the Recent Unpleasantness to find his plantation in Southside Virginia burned out by the Yankees. Don’t New York and Maryland owe me an apology?

How far back can these ethnic and sectional grievances be extended?

Chinese-Americans deserve an apology for their virtual enslavement in our Western territories during the late 19th century. But you don’t hear much about it — do you think they’ve “gotten over it”?

On the one hand, the Serbs haven’t forgotten their defeat at the hands of the Turks at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389. And the Arabs still pine for Al-Andalus — known to its current inhabitants as España — from which they were driven in 1492.

On the other hand, Denmark seems to have recovered from the loss of Skåne to Sweden in 1658. Alsace-Lorraine is no longer a major bone of contention between Germany and France.

So what’s the statute of limitations on such things?

I think the Hittites have a good case for reparations against the Egyptians and the Assyrians for all the atrocities committed during the 13th century B.C. And don’t you think the Welsh should demand the return of Londinium from the Anglo-Saxons?

Take a look at the Imperial History animation at Maps of War. How many more ethnic grievances can be extracted from all that conquest and slaughter?

Every existing human culture lives on land taken by their ancestors from another culture. And, with the possible exception of the Australian Aborigines, all the supplanted peoples had in turn taken the land from their predecessors.

Probably more than half of the world’s ethnic groups were enslaved by some other ethnic group (usually the Arabs) at one time or another.

This grievance process can be continued ad infinitum. Everybody is owed an apology by somebody else.

So let’s just keep fanning the flames of resentment. There’s plenty of fuel there, and lots of tinder.

A good racial bonfire is just what everybody needs.


Wally Ballou said...

His original point about the pointlessness of apology for slavery was entirely valid, but his comment about the Jews was ill-phrased, if not idiotic.

"Are we going to make the Jews apologize for killing Christ?" Doesn't that suggest that the speaker actually believes that "the Jews" killed Christ? To toss that phrase off, insensible of the awful historic weight of that particular accusation, is incredibly thickheaded.

We don't need to apologize; we do need to refrain from singing that old anti-semitic song.

Anonymous said...

Follow the money. Apologies open the door to compensation for past injustices. All such compensation for slavery is unconstitutional according to the Fourteenth Amendment.

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Key words:

But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay ... any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Jason Pappas said...

Since my ancestors were in bondage from 1453 AD to 1821 AD (and even after for those from Asia Minor) when do I get my apology from Muslims? It’s almost the same time period of European enslavement of Africans. How about even admitting the slaughter of Armenians and Greeks in the last 120 years? I could complain, too.

Of course, I wish today’s Turks well and hope they can hold on to the secular republic founded by Ataturk. Turkey’s founding may not be an immaculate conception, but Turkey has moved on. She could be an example to the Islamic world.

David M said...

Trackbacked at The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 01/17/2007

M. Simon said...

Uh, I thought it was well known among Christians that the Roman's killed Christ.

I don't undrstand why Italians are not held responsible. To this day.

BTW Baron,

Nothing wrong with saying stupid hurtful stuff (our friends the Germans of 1933-45 vintage used these very arguments to enlist Christians - at least tacitally - in their evil work). However, nothing wrong with calling the good 'ole boy on it.

You know - can't stand the heat stay out of the kitchen.

BTW may I suggest a return to the old time religion? If it was good enough for Jesus it is good enough for me. LOL.

Baron Bodissey said...

I have failed once again to make my meaning clear.

My primary purpose was to mock the absurdly overheated reaction to Del. Hargrove's remark about "getting over" slavery.

My secondary purpose was to highlight the idiotic and even gratuitous additional offense he gave to Jews.

I see that I am being too sardonic in my presentation. I'll have to work on that...

M. Simon said...

I would imagine that the Dr. doesn't understand.

Just as Jews are never going to get over the Holocaust, Blacks are never going to get over slavery.

I think what you really mean is that for a civil society to function you must not visit the sins of the fathers on the sons. No blood feuds.

In fact I'm pretty sure that is what you meant. You will correct me if I'm wrong, I'm sure.

I think if you start out with "no blood fueds" as your premise your next essay on the subject will have more clarity.

In fact that is what is wrong with a significant portion of the black community these days. They operate on a "corruption of blood" principle.

The good Dr. would be wise to keep that in mind when he delivers his next lecture.

OMMAG said...

Since there are precious few jews alive today who actually experienced holocaust and NO slaves in the sense the pre-civil war situation it is a matter of choice on the part of their descendants as to how they keep the memory alive.
I do not however accept that it is necessary to wallow in self pity and angst or to throw up the charge of racism whenever somebody points out the WALLOWING!

Papa Ray said...

"I think what you really mean is that for a civil society to function you must not visit the sins of the fathers on the sons. No blood feuds."

Too bad the Sunni and the Shiite can't understand this.

Well, some of them do.

Papa Ray

M. Simon said...

Actually there is a survivor of the Holocaust in Congress.

Christian Zionism

melonie said...

"You have just been ousted from your position as the most racist, bigoted, hateful..." awww and I though you were gonna mention Jade of Big Brother UK ;)

M. Simon said...

and a piece with a link to this one.

Corruption of Blood

Epaminondas said...

This total gavone should simply go home and STFU .. black and jews in one paragraph ... I am agog at how compact his stupidity is.

Phanarath SOUNDS to me like he clearly believes the jews guilty of deicide, maybe a lifetime indicating otherwise would be needed to show that he meant no harm.

I think while it may be true he meant no harm, what he believes is HARMFUL.

That's because he is a complete moron. Shame on the idiots who voted for him.

He should just GO AWAY. We have other things to think about

kolya said...

Look guys! We ALL have ancestors who where whipped, enslaved, pissed on and abused!!!
I just can't accept the idea that West Africans, Jews or Armenians should be any more victimised than say Ukranians, Gypsies or Tutsies!

The numbers or the sufferings do not support such a claim!!

Is it just a bullshit race for the PC "I am more victim ancestor than thou" high ground?

Wally Ballou said...

phanarath, I think you are correct that he was using it as an example, and he didn't intend any harm. However, it was a very stupid example. America did enslave blacks. Did Jews kill Christ? For Heaven's sake, a politician of any party should have a trace of sensitivity and a little historical awareness. It's nothing to do with PC - just common human decency.

M. Simon said...

The Jews have a better record for forgiving the sons of the Nazis than the blacks have of forgiving the sons of the slave holders.

In fact some blacks hold that any one who looks like the slave holders is still responsible. Even if their ancestors came here long after slavery was over.

The essence is forgiving the sons not forgetting the fathers.

John Sobieski said...

I wished I lived in a world where people apologized to me all day long everyday. It's good to be the victim!

Epaminondas said...

"Some Jews would rather see Jesus get killed then to see it happen to a murderer."

You make the galactically large assumption that the bible is accurate history. I have no idea, but would love to know. In effect your acceptance of the line quoted is done on faith, ...BELIEF IN THE SUSPENSION OF PROOF.

Try this, it is written about the Old Testament, but it applies across the. board.

Faith is the existence of God may not imply that the words of the Bible are words of fact...Thomas Jefferson's ideas...not mine.

Yorkshireminer said...

This remark by a Judge in Devon England seem equally sensible

A judge has sparked a furious row after refusing to fine a man who racially abused an Asian police surgeon. Judge Paul Darlow was told Matthew Stiddard had called Dr Imraan Jhetam a "f****** Paki".

Stiddard was charged with causing racially aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress.

But Judge Darlow said at Exeter Crown Court that the decision to charge Stiddard was "a nonsense" and gave him a two-year conditional discharge after saying Dr Jhetam should have let the insult "roll off his back".

The judge advised Stiddard: "Next time, call him a fat b**tard and do not say anything about his colour."

Epaminondas said...

Look, being racist is not a crime.
It's sickness, that's all.

You (the generic you) can be as racist as you want, you can stand ont he soapbox and quote pseudo-history, pseudo-science..whatever, you can use items of religious faith doesn't matter only becomes a crime when it's practice deprives others of inalienable rights....quite specifically life, liberty and the pursuit of you know what.

This moron from VA, committed no crime. He's just a moron.

The judge in England has it right as far as common sense goes, but this should not be a crime.

As far as blame for slavery... how can anyone here be guilty of that? This nation paid a blood price which even today (1861-1865) remains greater than all other wars we have been in (in fact it may be greater than all the rest added together). We have redeemed historically any national guilt by that war.

If affirmative action (which I believe to be reverse segregation) isn't enough of an apology, then nothing will be, not even a check, nomatter it's size, or Trent Lott kissing Al Sharpton's ass.

We are conflating all different manner of things as a result of one idiot in VA ,....not worth it.

Let this jerk retire and play golf.
We have other VASTLY larger issues before us all.

Fellow Peacekeeper said...

The offended party, seems to be one David L. Englin. Ex air force, not a pilot but a public affairs officer, in his web site we can see where Englin is coming from :

"A lifelong Democrat, David's experiences at the Pentagon inspired him to speak out publicly about the direction of our country. As early as his cadet years, David advocated to his military peers that gays ought to be allowed to serve openly in the military and that all military jobs ought to be open to women. "

"In the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, David publicly implored his Pentagon colleagues to stand against the wave of anti-Muslim discrimination that seemed to be sweeping the country."

Ooo, that Pentagon deployment was like 2 years as a junior pencil sharpener or something. Jumped ship just in time to become a politician and avoid deployment to the sands.

Hargrove should have bitch slapped him.

Anonymous said...

Phanarath's comment made on 1.17 at 11:25 PM is one of the stupidest things I've ever read, and I read a LOT of right-wing blogs. Way to write, big guy.