The New Jersey legislature is considering issuing an apology for slavery. Assemblyman William Payne asks, "If former Confederate states can take action like this, why can't a Northeast state like New Jersey?" Here is my response and a suggestion.
Every conservative will respond to this by asking if 640,000 dead is not an apology? After giving 640,000 lives and countless injuries in the name of stopping slavery, saying, "we want an apology too" is sort of Monty Python.
Beyond this we forget that every country since the beginning of time has had slavery. Native Americans had slavery. Africans had slavery. The Islamic slave trade totally dwarfed ours. Much less than 10% of slaves that came to the New World were destined for these United States.
Western civilization is the only one to have ever had a problem with slavery. We are the ones who decided it was wrong. We fought a Civil War over slavery. Brazil got the bulk of slaves that came to the New World. Did they have a war to stop it? No their slavery continued until 1908. How about Saudi Arabia or Libya? They enslaved Europeans until Jefferson sent the marines, as the hymn has it, to "the shores of Tripoli." The British spent decades fighting against slavery in Africa. They were unsucessful in stopping indigenous and Islamic slavery. But they tried.
Rather than apologize, we should have an annual celebration of our unique efforts to stop slavery. We should celebrate the British and American efforts. I cannot for the life of me think of a good name for this suggested holiday, but it would be something like the "Western Abolition Celebration Day." We could celebrate those thinkers and warriors who struggled to convince people slavery was wrong and gave "the last full measure of devotion" (their lives, Gettysburg Address) to stop it.
New Jersey Assemblyman Payne said an apology would comfort black residents of New Jersey. Calling someone a victim, treating them like a sulking child, insults them. Furthermore his proposal is designed to make America feel bad. Does it help people to think their society is bad? Is such an attitude conducive to striving within that society?
It would be much healthier for all concerned if, instead of another silly and tired apology from pompous pandering hypicrites who would likely not have given their lives in battle, we had an annual celebration of being a part of a country and civilizatio that was so marvelous as to be the first to condemn slavery and fight to abolish it!!!