To the editor:
In a March 21 letter to the editor, Frank Thomas, pastor of the Mount Zion Baptist Church, asked, “What harm would it be to create a commission to examine the history of slavery in the U.S. and see if some appropriate remedy would be possible?” His remedies are reparations, remediation and/or restitution.
His remedies will require every taxpayer, regardless of race, to pay for these remedies. That’s not fair to Blacks, anybody who came to the U.S. after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed 160 years ago, current taxpayers whose ancestors lived in territories that were not part of the U.S. in the 1860s or for descendants of Northern taxpayers who opposed slavery and fought and died in a war to end it. Why would any of these taxpayers have to pay for anything that happened before they were born or were not even living in the U.S. when slavery existed?
If every taxpayer is paying for these remedies, how much are they going to cost, who benefits from them, and how much will people receive? How will the government identify descendants of slaves and ensure only descendants of slavery receive the remedies?
Such a commission would only divide us. Pastor Thomas is fixated on the past and suggests the only way to cleanse our history is for taxpayers to pay for his remedies. They will not heal our country, help us move forward or make life better for anyone. For some people it will never be enough no matter what is done.
What a total waste of time and energy on such a divisive issue. We don’t need a commission to examine the history of slavery because everybody knows it happened and should know it has been wrong since the beginning of time. Like a cut on your skin, if left alone it will heal. However if you pick at it, it will become infected, never heal and create a scar that will never go away. Let’s move on and build a better future where people will be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. That's the way it should be. Pastor Thomas, you lead a church. It is time for forgiveness. Stop trying to get a "pound of flesh" for the past sin of slavery. Pastor Thomas, it’s time to stop picking at the scab of slavery.