No Apologies

by Alan J. Claffie

The latest non-issue du jour facing the Maryland legislature is whether to issue an apology on behalf of the state to the descendants of slaves for the state's part of the whole rotten deal.

I'd just as soon see them not do that.

It's not that I think the apology itself is a bad thing. As a matter of act, the next time I see a former slave, I will personally apologize to him or her on behalf of all that is white. And I'll be sure to report on what happens after that once it's done.

My beef isn't with the proposed legislation itself. Maybe being strong-armed by prominent and vocal (or vice-versa) black leaders into this debate is a good thing.

The legislature should take up said debate as soon as possible, right after they get finished solving every problem there possibly could be.

I'd be just as ticked if I read that our elected representatives were using valuable session time to pass a bill declaring that some specialized breed of cow is now the Official State Bovine. What's the point? What will it accomplish? What will be the end result of the time, breath, and ink spent on the debate?

One legislative branch will debate and pass a version of apology legislature. The other branch will do the same, and eventually they'll produce something that both sides can agree on. That'll get passed on to the governor and he'll sign it. Shortly afterward, there will be a big showy celebration on the steps of the state capital with the governor and Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and pretty much everyone from both legislative branches, because everybody wants their face and fingerprints on the feel-good legislature of the year.

Everyone will smile for the cameras and make uninteresting speeches, and after an hour or so everyone will go back to work, or, in the case of Mr. Sharpton and Mr. Jackson, back to whatever they do.

And in the long run, nothing will be accomplished. Certain black people will continue to feel held back by 150-year history, certain white punks will still think it's cool to spray paint moronic slogans where they're least appropriate, and the rest of us will carry on like nothing significant happened.

Because nothing significant happened.

If the legislature is smart, they'll ignore the call from the vocal minority to waste any time on this issue. If they're not, the least they can do is ram the bill through and get the whole thing over with so they can get back to actually running the state.

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