Saturday, March 09, 2013

With friends like these....

A Rare Instance when the
"Rev" has mouth shut
The "Rev" Jesse Jackson offered a prayer at the funeral of Hugo Chavez yesterday and then on CNN commented (I guess in response to the notion that Chavez was a tyrant and helped to ruin his country's economy, prop up Cuba and generally be a bad neighbor) Well you know, democracies mature … our first 15 presidents owned people, they owned slaves,”

Mr. Jackson should learn some American history. (Of course, that is not a serious suggestion.) John Adams and John Quincy Adams did not own slaves.  Many of the other first fifteen either emancipated their slaves at death or proposed ways to eliminate slavery over time.   JQA actually, late in life, successfully argued a case before the Supreme Court coming from a rebellion on a ship called Amistad (which was in the slave trade in the 1830s).  The Spanish Crown and others were arguing that the people on board were slaves.   JQA won the case in the Supreme Court freeing all the people that had been on board.

Jackson also seems to ignore the 1808 clause in the Constitution which banned the importation of slaves after 1808.   Most scholars argue that based on the divisions at the time in the country that the clause was a grand bargain which led to a diminishment of the institution of slavery.  In 2008, at the 200th anniversary of the clause, there were a number of scholarly papers which credited the compromise with a) allowing the union to form and b) beginning to end slavery in the country.   It certainly could have happened faster, but that a ban on importation of slaves was considered, adopted and maintained is a testament to our constitutional system.

Another intellectual and spiritual leader, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, commented that Chavez will "return on resurrection day" with Jesus Christ and will "establish peace, justice, and kindness" on earth.   Wow, almost as good as the Rev's comments.

No comments: