Republicans (Including Dubya) for Reparations?

Ever since September 11, 2001, the
burning issue of

reparations
for slavery has flickered rather dimly.
Now, thanks to black

neoconservative
Senate candidate Alan Keyes, it may
flare again.

All by himself Mr. Keyes has added
gas to the reparations flames in his race for the U.S.
Senate in Illinois.

Mr. Keyes is probably not going to
win his race because his opponent,

liberal Democrat
(and also black) Barack Obama, is
heavily favored, and indeed the only reason Mr. Keyes is
in the contest at all is that Illinois Republicans,
unable to locate a

suitable candidate
after their first one got caught
in a sex scandal, literally imported Mr. Keyes from
Maryland.

No doubt they figure that running
Mr. Keyes will help them slice into Mr. Obama`s black
support. 

No sooner had Mr. Keyes, something
of a

professional candidate
who has run for both the
Senate and the presidency several times, entered the
contest than he came up with a transparent if inept
scheme to do just that. In a news conference in Chicago,
he proposed that "for a generation or two,
African-Americans of slave heritage should be exempted
from federal taxes—federal because

slavery
`was an egregious failure on the part of the

federal establishment
,`"
as the Chicago
Tribune
reported. [Keyes
has plan for reparation
s

Aug 17, 2004].

The next day he refused to back off
his plan and actually started to get mad that the
conservative Republicans who had picked him were not in
a swoon of joy about it.

Speaking to a reasonably tame
audience at

Chicago`s City Club,
Mr. Keyes began to heat up when
someone asked him the obvious question if such
well-heeled blacks as Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan and
Oprah Winfrey would also be exempted from paying taxes.

"His voice rising to a yell,"
the Sun Times reported, he said he would
"not budge"
from his brainstorm. [Keyes
won`t back down on reparations
August 19, 2004
By Scott Fornek]

"Do you know how many

Oprah Winfreys
there might have been running around
in the 1930s or in the 1920s or in the 19-teens that got
nowhere because the doors were shut in their face?"

he demanded. "If you think that because I wear a
conservative label, I have forgotten that history and am
not mindful of that injustice—then I will tell you now
that you are wrong."

Then he brought up his parents, who
had "hearts and spirit and faith and strength." "Why
didn`t they get to a point where they could stand on
this platform?"
Keyes asked.

Probably because the Republican
Party

back then
had better sense than to nominate them.

It`s interesting that Mr. Keyes,
often trotted out to prove that

blacks can be conservatives
, is actually a
neoconservative. His campaign manager for one of the
Senate races in Maryland
was

Bill Kristol
, now editor of the

Weekly Standard
, who also happened to be his

college roommate
.

It therefore makes sense that Mr.
Keyes would kick off his most recent crusade to put
himself on the public payroll by endorsing a distinctly
non-conservative idea.

Nevertheless, compared to some
Republicans masquerading as conservatives, Mr. Keyes is
a pillar of iron.

Take, for example,

George W. Bush
on the same issue of reparations for
slavery.

Some weeks ago, the NAACP sent a
questionnaire to both major presidential candidates
about their respective positions on various issues of
interest to the organization. Not too surprisingly, both
Mr. Kerry and Mr. Bush agreed on several of them. Both
condemned "racial profiling" and "hate crimes"
and both endorsed

"affirmative action."
But then the questionnaire
got around to

reparations
.

"Do you support or oppose
reparations (for slavery) legislation, H.R. 40, as
introduced in the House of Representatives by
Congressman John Conyers (D-MI)?"
the NAACP asked.

Mr. Kerry said yes, he supported
that legislation.

Astoundingly, Mr. Bush refused to
answer—a response that ought to tell us all we need to
know about him.

Like Mr. Keyes himself, the idea of
reparations for slavery probably will not go anywhere,
regardless of who endorses it, at least for now.

But it`s not a minor issue. It
speaks to the core of the whole controversy about race
in this country—are

blacks responsible for their problems
, or is
everything that`s wrong with them and for them

due to whites?

What you think about reparations
reflects your answer to that question, and how you
answer it also tells us what we need to know. 

By explicitly endorsing reparations
and refusing even to offer a position, both Mr. Keyes
and President Bush have given their answers, and what
they have said and refused to say have helped make it
more difficult for real conservatives to give different
ones.

If theirs is the kind of
"leadership"
that today defines "conservatism,"
then most Americans who regard themselves as
conservatives need to find another name—and other
leaders.

COPYRIGHT

CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

Sam Francis [email
him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection
of his columns,

America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The
Disintegration Of American Culture
, is now available
from

Americans For Immigration Control.

Click here
for Sam Francis` website. Click

here
to order his monograph
,
Ethnopolitics: Immigration, Race, and the American
Political Future.