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ejazzyjeff
01-03-2008, 12:44 AM
TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey could become the first Northern state to apologize for slavery under a measure due for a legislative committee hearing this week.

"This is not too much to ask of the state of New Jersey," said Assemblyman William Payne, sponsor of the proposal. "All that is being requested of New Jersey is to say three simple words: 'We are sorry.'"

Legislators in Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia have issued formal apologies for slavery.

"If former Confederate states can take action like this, why can't a Northeast state like New Jersey?" asked Payne, a Democrat.

According to the proposal, New Jersey had one of the largest slave populations in the Northern colonies and was the last state in the Northeast to formally abolish slavery, not doing so until 1846. The state didn't ratify the constitutional amendment prohibiting slavery until January 1866, weeks after it became law, having rejected ratification in 1865.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,319806,00.html

DaveGink
01-03-2008, 02:38 AM
What a joke. Apologizing for something that no one alive today had anything to do with or was a part of. And anyone demanding such an apology needs psychiatric help or at least needs to get a friggin life.

sbl
01-03-2008, 02:56 AM
Dave,

The idea is that the State that existed then still exists now.

BTW, "My Dear Wife" is from NJ and I'm owed an apology!
:(

MBond057
01-03-2008, 03:12 AM
I feel that making late political apologies are hollow and do not open a constructive dialog. It only forces a person to choose sides and question “why do I have to pay for the sins of others”.

America has a bad track record on race and culture sensitivity issues. Two good examples for this argument beyond slavery are the Native American citizens driven from their homelands or Japanese American citizens who were placed in interment camps during WWII.

Maryland made a public apology for slavery last year. Did it make any difference other then a political dog and pony show for politicians to demonstrate they need the African American community vote if they want to win.

Just my 2 cents on the issue……….

Dunn Browne
01-03-2008, 03:16 AM
I don't get it. Someone that never owned a slave apologizing to someone that never was a slave???

DaveGink
01-03-2008, 03:29 AM
Dave,

The idea is that the State that existed then still exists now.

BTW, "My Dear Wife" is from NJ and I'm owed an apology!
:(

The Country existed then as well - as did the world. However the people involved do not, and that is the only thing that matters. The State/Country/World is only what the people/society make of it at the time.

Seriously, anyone holding a grudge and asking for an apology for something that happened 250 years ago, and has it effect their lives and thinking today (instead of living their own life and moving on), when they weren't even involved, and those that were are long dead and buried - needs help. I'm not saying that to be harsh. I'm serious, it has to be some sort of mental issue (That, or some sort of political ploy).

sbl
01-03-2008, 05:03 AM
Frank,

I'm saying that it isn't someONE, but a government that represented the people of that state back then and still represents the people of the state.

sbl
01-03-2008, 05:06 AM
"Seriously, anyone holding a grudge and asking for an apology for something that happened 250 years ago, and has it effect their lives and thinking today (instead of living their own life and moving on), when they weren't even involved, and those that were are long dead and buried - needs help."

Dave, you have a point there. That statement includes a LOT of minorities and small nations plus some religions!

Original Sin.

bill watson
01-03-2008, 05:13 AM
The phrase you may all find useful is "fatuous, insincere posturing."

DaveGink
01-03-2008, 09:05 AM
Frank,

I'm saying that it isn't someONE, but a government that represented the people of that state back then and still represents the people of the state.

A government is a tool. It's not a living, thinking entity capable of doing right or wrong, good or evil. It can not be held responsible for anything. Only people can be accountable for what a government or society does. The people elected to government today, and the people who elected them, can not be held responsible for what those elected to office did some 250 years ago -- or for what was done in a society then. They owe no one an apology for slavery, and it's simply crazy to ask them to.

flattop32355
01-03-2008, 09:11 AM
The idea is that the State that existed then still exists now.

Just to play Devil's Advocate:

The country that existed then exists now.

When are we going to hear a formal "Thank You" from Assembyman Payne, or an African-American organization, for ending slavery?

Have they requested the same apology from Britain? Spain? Portugal? Those African tribes that enslaved other Africans, selling some to the Europeans for resale in the Americas and elsewhere?

Should we apologize to the Native American Indians as well?
How about the Irish? Chinese/Orientals? sons of Abraham? Confederates? Mexico? Central Americans? Spain? Everyone and anyone else?

In one sense, I have no problem acknowledging issues that have proven to be less than ideal within this country. By the same token, I see no real value in an apology called for by those who were not affected, of those who did not inflict, particularly when it seems to involve political brownie points.

Might I feel differently were I black instead of white? Possibly.

But, then, I'm also of Irish and Jewish descent. Am I not due apologies for wrongs done to my ancestors by others, some of whom where of African descent?

Rhetorical questions all, and all moot.

ILYankee5
01-03-2008, 09:12 AM
I would like to take this opportunity to post my personal apology. I had relatives that lived in Tennessee during the Civil War...who didn't own slaves. I also had other parts of my family living in Missouri, who fought for the Confederacy that didn't own slaves, but I want to apologize for them also. I had relatives in Illinois since the 1830's who owned "servants." Maybe I should apologize for them also.

When is this going to end? This is utterly ridiculous. Yes, New Jersey was a state then, but the Constitution for New Jersey was re-written in the 1940's. So, in all practical sense, it was not the same government that was around during the Civil War. People today are not allowed to move on from past mistakes, because there will always be someone there to bring it right back up. This war has went on long enough. When are people going to move on from topics such as these?

Seth Graves

sbl
01-03-2008, 09:21 AM
Dave,

Do you identify with the good and/or noble things your people/state/country did in the past?

8th TexCav
01-03-2008, 09:34 AM
While we are at it I might as well say it, "God, I am sorry that Eve ate the Apple."

Same problem today, my wife will not listen to me. :rolleyes:

sbl
01-03-2008, 10:37 AM
"God, I am sorry that Eve ate the Apple."

Right Barry! Original Sin! :)

DaveGink
01-03-2008, 12:04 PM
Dave,

Do you identify with the good and/or noble things your people/state/country did in the past?

That's irrelevant. I can be either proud or ashamed of the things my State/Country/People may have done in the past. But I wouldn't give credit to any specific person(s) in today's government for good things done in the past -- And I wouldn't expect them to apologize for anything bad done in the past by someone else. That is what is being done here.

One can look at history and say "it's too bad what happened in my State when....." or " I'm proud to say the people of my state did......" but it's insane to say I want an apology for (fill in the blank) by the people here today -- as if they are still somehow responsible for it.

sbl
01-03-2008, 02:10 PM
Dave,

Are you still responsible for laws and regulations that your state's/country's citizens voted in or enacted back then, unless they've been changed?

flattop32355
01-03-2008, 03:20 PM
Are you still responsible for laws and regulations that your state's/country's citizens voted in or enacted back then, unless they've been changed?

If you state that question in the other direction, it takes on a whole new light.

Responsible to obey them? Yes. Responsible for passing them? No. Able to help change or eliminate them? Yes. Guilty of any harm they caused that wasn't caused by me obeying them? Nope.

Guilt mentality is a dangerous thing. It can ruin your day, your year, your life. Some folk spend so much time feeling guilty about things they aren't responsible for that they aren't worth diddly for doing anything positive or constructive.

DaveGink
01-03-2008, 03:26 PM
Dave,

Are you still responsible for laws and regulations that your state's/country's citizens voted in or enacted back then, unless they've been changed?


"The people" en masse are all responsible (to some degree or another) for their current government and laws - regardless of when they were created. What's your point? The key here is that they HAVE been changed -- no one here today is responsible for slavery - and no one needs to apologize for it. Good grief, the idea of that is simply ridiculous.

jthlmnn
01-03-2008, 05:00 PM
Any of the lawyers out there may feel free to correct me if I am mistaken, but a state (country, city, etc) is not a "thing" in the same sense as a chair or an automobile. Each of the states in the U.S. has a corporate character to it, like Du Pont, McDonalds, General Motors, NBC or the Archdiocese of Chicago. This character gives it, for legal purposes, some of the same attributes as an individual person. It has legal standing and can sue (or take other legal action regarding) an individual or another corporate entity. An automobile cannot sue, a chair cannot file a complaint, etc.

One of the attributes a corporate entity has is responsibility. Most everyone agrees that a corporation can be held legally responsible for their actions. Many would assert that they can and should be held morally responsible, as well. A state that existed during the time of legal slavery in the U.S., and that
allowed the practice within its borders carries responsibility for that action. The statute of limitations may or may not have terminated the legal responsibility, but the moral responsibility would exist as long as the corporate entity does, much as it would for an individual person. An apology for past wrongs would, therefore, be entirely appropriate.

Rob
01-03-2008, 07:39 PM
The next thing you know, we'll be apologizing to the Japanese for having provoked them into attacking us.

sbl
01-03-2008, 10:55 PM
"The next thing you know, we'll be apologizing to the Japanese for having provoked them into attacking us."

Well Rob, there was that contraversial Enola Gay/Hiroshima exhibit at the Smithsonian a while back.....

Rob Weaver
01-04-2008, 02:10 AM
As long as such an "apology" doesn't involve reparations, or other financial compensations, which I would not favor, they are nothing more than the empty words of pucillanimous pandering politicians.

sbl
01-04-2008, 02:39 AM
"...reparations, or other financial compensations.."

Nope. I draw the line there unless there is a clear victim, like the estates and goods seized by the Third Reich during WW II for example.

Rob Weaver
01-04-2008, 02:58 AM
Yep. In agreement with ya there.

flattop32355
01-04-2008, 08:58 AM
An apology for past wrongs would, therefore, be entirely appropriate.

How, then, does one offer an apology when one part of the country chose to end slavery, while another part chose to perpetuate it?

Should such apology extend to when we were British?

jthlmnn
01-05-2008, 03:26 AM
How, then, does one offer an apology when one part of the country chose to end slavery, while another part chose to perpetuate it?

Should such apology extend to when we were British?

I'm not clear on whether you are referring to an individual person, a state or the country as a whole, as far as offering an apology. In my view, each corporate entity that sanctioned slavery (whether it be private or public), and still exists today, bears the moral responsibility for their past actions. If slavery was abolished at some point, there is still responsibility for the period when it did exist. My starting point would be with the Declaration of Independence as that is when we became a self-determining country, totally and solely responsible for our decisions and actions. That is also the point where the contradiction arises between our stated values on the inherent value and freedom of people and our practice of chattel slavery. So, from my perspective, the United States (as one corporate entity) AND individual states where slavery was legal all bear moral responsibility and it is reasonable for them to apologize.

If you are asking how an individual person might address this issue, I do not have time to write on that this morning. (I work most Saturdays.)

I will close this post by offering the opinion that, based on my experiences in this temporal realm, many people who have posted on this topic seriously undervalue the benefits of an apology.

MBond057
01-05-2008, 05:42 AM
John,

If I accept your argument that the government owes apologies for our insensitivity to culture diversity we will be tied up for the next 10 years offering apologies to every ethnic group starting with the Native Americans and ending with the current treatment of Mexican Americans. What group do you think will be next in the crosshairs? This is America and we need a group to kick around, it’s been our national track record.

I believe Lincolns signing of the “The Emancipation Proclamation” was acknowledge of a bad national policy and wrongdoing. Actions speak louder then words and by freeing the slaves was an admission that it was immoral policy that needed to be corrected.

On another note……………

Let’s be honest, as much as I love my country we are not the moral compass in the world, despite our leader’s declaration to the same.

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that pretty much sums up or country’s current foreign policy. “Shout-up or we will give you democracy!”

DaveGink
01-05-2008, 05:45 AM
I'm not clear on whether you are referring to an individual person, a state or the country as a whole, as far as offering an apology. In my view, each corporate entity that sanctioned slavery (whether it be private or public), and still exists today, bears the moral responsibility for their past actions. If slavery was abolished at some point, there is still responsibility for the period when it did exist. My starting point would be with the Declaration of Independence as that is when we became a self-determining country, totally and solely responsible for our decisions and actions. That is also the point where the contradiction arises between our stated values on the inherent value and freedom of people and our practice of chattel slavery. So, from my perspective, the United States (as one corporate entity) AND individual states where slavery was legal all bear moral responsibility and it is reasonable for them to apologize.

If you are asking how an individual person might address this issue, I do not have time to write on that this morning. (I work most Saturdays.)

I will close this post by offering the opinion that, based on my experiences in this temporal realm, many people who have posted on this topic seriously undervalue the benefits of an apology.

Oh C'mon.

Moral responsibility is not inherited -- or passed on generation to generation. Someone would still need to be complicit in some way to have any kind of moral or legal responsibility. This whole "son being responsible for the sins of the father" thing is ridiculous.

We are a government OF the people BY the people For the people. Our government is ALL about the people (both in and out of government). It does not exist without them. And the people and society who were responsible for slavery (and ending slavery) are dust -- and there is no one alive today who is complicit, or even effected by slavery (except in their own heads).

Even in corporations, should CocaCola today issue an apology for their original formula having cocaine in it? Society, people, values, science, etc all change. We need to learn from history and move on -- Not be made guilty for what previous generations may have done.

And apologize to who? Some politician who may be trying to drum up divisiveness for political gain? Or someone who is letting something from 150 years ago effect their lives today? Maybe some people just have no "real" issues to be concerned with today so they have to dig up dead history to create one? Maybe they are just nuts? Who knows?

I don't know which is worse ... Those that demand such an apology, or those who actually give it. Feeding this issue and keeping it alive.

Yeeesh. this whole thing is ludicrous.

MtVernon
01-05-2008, 06:02 AM
...many people who have posted on this topic seriously undervalue the benefits of an apology.

That's the thing right there. What is the VALUE of an apology (or compliment, or anything else) when it is offered by those who had no part in the perpetration of the act, policy, etc.? Furthermore, what is the VALUE of the apology to the person or group of people receiving it? I think it's a cheap, ludicrous ploy to make someone feel better (probably both sides) without actually doing anything to make things better.

A few others on this topic have explained things as I would, so I won't repeat. But folks, life happens. People are people, and nations are nations, and we all make mistakes and do bad in life. It cheapens the act of apologizing to suggest we can do anything to make right the wrongs of previous generations by saying those 'three little words'. Yes, most people are sorry slavery existed, but sorry in the sense of feeling empathy or regret. When you suggest the people who are living today share in any way culpability for acts performed 140 years ago, well, what then is the value of apologizing? In addition to sounding nutty, it sounds pretty hollow and insignificant to me. That goes for corporations that had a hand in this, again, ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-ODD YEARS AGO.

Acknowledging the past, moving on, and helping people to live without leaning forevermore on the crutch of past misdeeds sounds to me like true reparation. We can not make up for the evil of the past and make everything all right by having a group of people not involved say 'We're sorry' to another group of people not involved. In fact, it just occurred to me-that seems more like a reenactment (or perhaps enactment) of an apology than a real one!

hanktrent
01-05-2008, 06:30 AM
Yes, most people are sorry slavery existed, but sorry in the sense of feeling empathy or regret. When you suggest the people who are living today share in any way culpability for acts performed 140 years ago, well, what then is the value of apologizing? In addition to sounding nutty, it sounds pretty hollow and insignificant to me.

I agree with you there. But that kind of thing is done all the time, both in politics and real life. The Walmart greeter doesn't really care if you have a nice day. The lady who blocked the aisle with her cart isn't truly regretful when she says "sorry," and you're not really in need of her forgiveness when you say, "excuse me." Despite that, we all can still recognize real regret, real forgiveness and real concern.

So let's turn it around and say that a group truly does believe that hearing an apology would make them feel better.

They figure it'll be no big deal, since everybody actually does regret what happened, so they ask for one, and it's refused. They ask again, it's refused again, and the opponents get hostile and say "You're insane. We'll never apologize!"

That's got to make them start wondering what's going on. Does the other side secretly not regret what happened? Is this a sign that they're politically powerless? What does this mean?

Suddenly, what would have been an insignificant feel-good measure, right along with declaring National Pickle Week to make the pickle-producers happy, becomes a controversy all out of proportion to the meaning (or lack thereof) of the apology itself.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

MtVernon
01-06-2008, 05:03 AM
I agree with you there. But that kind of thing is done all the time, both in politics and real life. The Walmart greeter doesn't really care if you have a nice day. The lady who blocked the aisle with her cart isn't truly regretful when she says "sorry," and you're not really in need of her forgiveness when you say, "excuse me." Despite that, we all can still recognize real regret, real forgiveness and real concern.

So let's turn it around and say that a group truly does believe that hearing an apology would make them feel better.

They figure it'll be no big deal, since everybody actually does regret what happened, so they ask for one, and it's refused. They ask again, it's refused again, and the opponents get hostile and say "You're insane. We'll never apologize!"

That's got to make them start wondering what's going on. Does the other side secretly not regret what happened? Is this a sign that they're politically powerless? What does this mean?

Suddenly, what would have been an insignificant feel-good measure, right along with declaring National Pickle Week to make the pickle-producers happy, becomes a controversy all out of proportion to the meaning (or lack thereof) of the apology itself.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

You have a point about the Walmart greeter, but at least it's relevant, if not sincere.

As to the value of the apology, I guess if the emotionally insecure among us need that sort of vapid validation, it doesn't cost a dime to say "We are sorry".

However, if I'm doing the apologizing, even on behalf of those who cannot or perhaps would not do so, am I then taking a measure of the blame by making the apology? If I am, I say it's insanity to infer that I, me, had ANYTHING to do with what happened in the past. On the other hand, if I'm not taking a share of the blame, then, again, what becomes of the efficacy of the apology? I can impart contrition, regret, empathy, sorrow, and the like, but how in the world can I apologize? It seems to goes against the nature of what it means to apologize.

I can, however, apologize that I cannot apologize. That would work. Because it's something that I can latch onto as a tangible thing that I am choosing to act upon, not an empty exercise, speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves.

jthlmnn
01-06-2008, 07:04 AM
As to the value of the apology, I guess if the emotionally insecure among us need that sort of vapid validation, it doesn't cost a dime to say "We are sorry".


Is it "vapid validation" to admit that a wrong was done that brought suffering and death to millions of people? Is it "vapid validation" to state out loud that governmental bodies and private entities that still exist practiced, sanctioned and profitted from these wrongs and deaths? Is it "vapid validation" to say to the descendants of those wronged and killed, and who who still endure the lingering effects of that practice (racism and discrimination in their myriad forms) that what was done was wrong and express regret that it was done?

The states did not cease to exist long ago. In legal and moral terms, they are the same entities that existed 150+ years ago. The same can be said of several private businesses. For them to apologize for what happened years ago is no different than an old man/woman apologizing for a wrong done in their youth.

To imagine that all the wrongs that emanated from slavery ended in the 1860s, when it became illegal, is being historically naive. To believe that any governmental body or corporate enterprise at that time apologized for the wrongs of slavery would be historically incorrect. The apologies are long overdue. Malice and moral cowardice have delayed them for more than a century and a half. Malice and moral indifference are the only factors that will delay them further.

MBond057
01-06-2008, 07:52 AM
John,

Who is being historically naive? The United States government has a track record of discrimination against many different races and cultures. How many apologies are or would be owed?

Yes, I agree that the institution of slavery is a stain on our nation’s history. Over 500,000 lives were lost paying for this national sin. The price of freedom has never been cheap throughout human history.

The “The Emancipation Proclamation” legally ended slavery in our country. This is and should be accepted as the acknowledgement that slavery wasn’t morally correct and should have never been a practice in a country who claims “All men are created equal”.

Our country is not perfect but we have created a government that has the ability to change its path when “we the people” decided a change is needed.

The “Emancipation Proclamation” was a strategic tactically decision made by Lincoln to prevent the European countries from entering the American Civil War. Lincoln did with a pen what his generals could not achieve on the battlefield by late 1862. He gave a moral victory to the Union and also increased the Unions military resources with the signature of the executive office. Now the issue of slavery was front and center in the Civil War and this alienated any foreign government from offering any serious military support to the confederacy.

So the question remains. Does NJ or any other state or government owe an apology for the institution of slavery?

I say NO!

We as a country have all ready acknowledge a wrong doing by creating a law to end the institution of slavery. This action speaks louder then any verbal political apology and especial one that is ridiculous given 146 years after the fact.

Shortround
01-06-2008, 08:38 AM
To use the quote from the Terrorist "Hans" in the movie Die Hard, "Who Cares?"

tompritchett
01-06-2008, 10:06 AM
The “The Emancipation Proclamation” legally ended slavery in our country.

Actually, it was the 13th Amendment that ended slavery in our country. The Emancipation Proclaimation only ended slavery in the parts of the Confederacy that were not under Union control.

MBond057
01-06-2008, 10:36 AM
Tom,

You are correct. The Emancipation Proclamation was just temporary war time solution.

jthlmnn
01-06-2008, 01:09 PM
The abolition of legalized slavery simply said, "We won't do that anymore." The discrimination that continued after abolition, especially after Reconstruction, contradicted any acknowledgement of moral wrong that might have been implicit with abolition. Explicit acknowledgement of participation in, and benefit from, legalized slavery (much less an expression of regret) was totally absent for 130-140 years.

I am very much a pragmatist. Our ability to function as a nation is hampered by the racism in our history and the refusal to officially acknowledge and accept moral responsibility for our actions. Yes, we ran roughshod over Africans, Indigenous Americans, Chinese immigrants, American born citizens of Japanese ancestry, and still others. Our credibility is undermined by this when we speak of "freedom" and "equality" to the rest of the world. Internally and externally, there is an economic and a political cost to this state of denial. An apology issued by a state government that sanctioned slavery tells our own people and the rest of the world that we are mature enough to recognize our flaws. It also says that we are secure enough to publicly acknowledge and take responsibility for them. It is only one step, but it is a critical step, in actually learning from our history and attempting to insure that the wrongs are not repeated.

tompritchett
01-06-2008, 01:18 PM
It is only one step, but it is a critical step, in actually learning from our history and attempting to insure that the wrongs are not repeated.

John, surely you must be kidding. This is the United States of America. We don't need to learn from history. We are omnipotent and can do whatever we want to do in the world whenever we want to do it. Nothing that we do as a nation is ever wrong. :rolleyes:

If there is a lesson to be learned from history, it is that has been our nation's attitude for much of its post WW-II existence.

MtVernon
01-06-2008, 02:48 PM
It's becoming clearer to me that your main beef is the definition of the word 'apology'. I take it to mean admitting fault for one's own misdeeds to the person who has been hurt or insulted by your actions; I think you're using it to mean simply admitting that a wrong has taken place. Am I right? The following quotes from your post seem to bear this out:

Is it "vapid validation" to admit that a wrong was done that brought suffering and death to millions of people? No, and I never said that it was. Quite the contrary, if you re-read my post.
Is it "vapid validation" to state out loud that governmental bodies and private entities that still exist practiced, sanctioned and [sic] profitted from these wrongs and deaths? Again, no and re-read my post.
Is it "vapid validation" to say to the descendants of those wronged and killed, and who who still endure the lingering effects of that practice (racism and discrimination in their myriad forms) that what was done was wrong and express regret that it was done? Again and again, no. But the one thing you didn't mention, *apologizing*, is not only 'vapid validation', but meaningless.

For example: you are an American man, and let's say you're married. I am also an American man who is married. Let's say you forget your wife's birthday. Should I apologize to your wife if you forget her birthday, because as a married American man I somehow share in your guilt? I think you'd say no, although as an American married man I can certainly show empathy and feel some sort of vicarious pain for your situation.

Furthermore, should my wife be the recipient of the apology by me, for your forgetfulness, because insofar as my wife is a woman and a wife she is owed this apology?


For them to apologize for what happened years ago is no different than an old man/woman apologizing for a wrong done in their youth. I totally disagree.


To imagine that all the wrongs that emanated from slavery ended in the 1860s, when it became illegal, is being historically naive. Are you asserting I do imagine this? Where in my text could you have gleaned this?

Malice and moral indifference are the only factors that will delay them further....and perhaps sound logic, and perhaps the will to do REAL work to right the wrongs of past generations, not just offer those three little words and feel suddenly like everything's alright.

Shortround
01-07-2008, 12:04 PM
John, surely you must be kidding. This is the United States of America. We don't need to learn from history. We are omnipotent and can do whatever we want to do in the world whenever we want to do it. Nothing that we do as a nation is ever wrong. :rolleyes:

If there is a lesson to be learned from history, it is that has been our nation's attitude for much of its post WW-II existence.


Boy, Tom, was I ever stupid to have ever volunteered for the military. I got to spend years not making any money and putting up with lots of work. I could have got a job at GM, made money, chased girls, and second guessed the guys in charge. Instead I defended a bunch of people who really kind of didn't deserve my time. Can I get the time back? What about the money I could have earned?

So you really think the world would have been better off with the Communists and Totalitarian governments in charge?

tompritchett
01-07-2008, 12:33 PM
Boy, Tom, was I ever stupid to have ever volunteered for the military. I got to spend years not making any money and putting up with lots of work. I could have got a job at GM, made money, chased girls, and second guessed the guys in charge. Instead I defended a bunch of people who really kind of didn't deserve my time. Can I get the time back? What about the money I could have earned?

So you really think the world would have been better off with the Communists and Totalitarian governments in charge?

Actually, as a former officer in the Army National Guard I am a veteran of the Cold War and it definitely delayed my obtaining both my degrees so I do know what you are talking about in terms of sacrifice for our country from such governments. I also served as a Federal employee for 9 years helping to clean up our environment from the messes that our businesses had created.

That still does not change my views on our nation's foreign policies from Nixon's driving Castro into the Communist camp, to our stiffing Ho Chi Minh on our promises to him regarding independence to Vietnam in exchange for his support against the Japanese in WW II, to our support of Iraq in its invasion of Iran, to our failure to provide funds to rebuild Afganistan immediately after the withdrawal of Soviet troops, etc.

8th TexCav
01-07-2008, 02:37 PM
Tom,

Do you mean Eisenhower?

tompritchett
01-07-2008, 03:55 PM
Do you mean Eisenhower?

Ike sent Nixon, his VP, to meet with Castro when Castro made an unannounced visit to the U.S. seeking aid. Ike then acted on Nixon's recommendations from the visit. Thus I tend to place more of the blame on Nixon than Ike.

jthlmnn
01-07-2008, 05:04 PM
It's becoming clearer to me that your main beef is the definition of the word 'apology'. I take it to mean admitting fault for one's own misdeeds to the person who has been hurt or insulted by your actions; I think you're using it to mean simply admitting that a wrong has taken place. Am I right? The following quotes from your post seem to bear this out:
No, and I never said that it was. Quite the contrary, if you re-read my post. Again, no and re-read my post. Again and again, no. But the one thing you didn't mention, *apologizing*, is not only 'vapid validation', but meaningless.

I do find your definition to be too limited. It applies only to individuals and does not recognize the legal and moral status of corporate entities/organized groups. As stated earlier, these entities have some of the same characteristics as individuals. One difference is that their "lifespan" can go well beyond that of any individual.

I also find it too limited in that it does not recognize that the impact harm/wrong can go well beyond the individuals directly involved in a given time and place. Harm done to one member of a family affects the entire family, one way or another. The harm can continue on to succeeding generations, the way the racism and bigotry fostered by legal slavery has for a century and a half after abolition.

Finally, I find it to be too limited in that it minimizes the inherent importance of apology in the process of healing. Ceasing the commission of a wrong is good, but without an apology it does nothing to restore the dignity of the person(s) injured.


For example: you are an American man, and let's say you're married. I am also an American man who is married. Let's say you forget your wife's birthday. Etc., etc.

Let's try this instead.
Every day various people walk up to you and slap you across the face. They do it even when you're with your family. They also tell you that you deserve it, that its your place in this world to be slapped, and you should be grateful for it. You don't buy this baloney, but you are not able to stop these people. One day a couple of them stop slapping you. You hear them tell the others that they have stopped because they think its wrong to slap you. Eventually, they force the others to cease slapping you. You still encounter them every day, and they still treat you like scum, but they don't slap you.

Years go by. You die. Some of the folks who slapped you around have also died. Some the people who are still alive and some of the descendants of the deceased folk begin to treat your family better, but no one says a word about the injustice they put you through.

One day a group approaches your children and grandchildren. In this group are some of those who abused you, and the children, maybe even grandchildren of those who are already dead. They say to your family,"What was done to your daddy was wrong. The hurt it caused you was wrong. We can't apologize to him anymore, but on behalf of our families, we can and do offer our apologies to you."



... and perhaps the will to do REAL work to right the wrongs of past generations, not just offer those three little words and feel suddenly like everything's alright.

Here we have total agreement. I do not limit the real work, as you so appropriately put it, to the three little words. There is much to be done beyond them. Where we differ is that I see them as an essential part of the larger process.

MtVernon
01-07-2008, 06:23 PM
Finally, I find it to be too limited in that it minimizes the inherent importance of apology in the process of healing.

My point was along these lines, that an apology is such an important thing that it cannot be undertaken by those not responsible for the wrongdoing to begin with. To me, apology in this sense is an equivocation.


"What was done to your daddy was wrong. The hurt it caused you was wrong. We can't apologize to him anymore, but on behalf of our families, we can and do offer our apologies to you."

I guess a lot of our disagreement comes down to semantics. I can see the sentiment behind the above quote, but to remain nit-picky, I think apology in this sense is an equivocation. Let me add that in the course of this entire thread it has never occurred to me to look up the actual definition of the word.

Shortround
01-08-2008, 02:06 PM
Actually, as a former officer in the Army National Guard I am a veteran of the Cold War and it definitely delayed my obtaining both my degrees so I do know what you are talking about in terms of sacrifice for our country from such governments. I also served as a Federal employee for 9 years helping to clean up our environment from the messes that our businesses had created.

That still does not change my views on our nation's foreign policies from Nixon's driving Castro into the Communist camp, to our stiffing Ho Chi Minh on our promises to him regarding independence to Vietnam in exchange for his support against the Japanese in WW II, to our support of Iraq in its invasion of Iran, to our failure to provide funds to rebuild Afganistan immediately after the withdrawal of Soviet troops, etc.

Well you must have loved Mr. Carter when he helped torpedo the Shaw. And if you were a GS-11 or above while you were "serving" in the US government it was a pay rate above the earnings of the average American family. There are few things like well paid humility.

Honestly, if you think foreign aid would have helped Afghanistan then I want some of that opium. Our only mistake was not turning a blind eye to the Soviets (Hey, Gorby, we have some old nerve gas stocks and...) Also, your analysis of Vietnam is way off. That is a French mess. The USA didn't get involved directly after WWII. Yes, it got involved during the 1950s but that's after the French made a muck of it. Also, the French were winning until they got rid of the Waffen SS that was in its foreign legion.

And since you're slamming on Nixon then what about Israel? Nixon backed up Israel in the 1973 war. Indeed, F-4 jets and M-60A1 tanks were flown directly to that nation for the fighting. The battles rivaled Kursk. When the Egyptian forces were encircled then the Soviets were going to fly in an airborne division to relieve them. Nixon had the airforce go to alert and they started putting AIR-2A rockets on jets. Why did the Soviets want to save the Egyptians? The Soviets had given Tabin and Sarin nerve gas. Yes, the Communists wanted the Arabs to gas the Jews. Didn't you just wonder for a minute of why all the 54B NBC courses got so serious in the '70s?

Honestly, I'm starting to believe what a history professor told me as sort of a joke. America needs a good Civil War every 100 years to clean out the bad blood. We had a minor civil war in the 17th Century in British America, the "Revy War" was a civil war, then there was the WBTS, and perhaps it's time for red and blue America to have it out. The guys who get the firing codes to the nukes win :) (I suppose you may not have a dry sense of humor)

tompritchett
01-08-2008, 05:31 PM
Why did the Soviets want to save the Egyptians? The Soviets had given Tabin and Sarin nerve gas. Yes, the Communists wanted the Arabs to gas the Jews. Didn't you just wonder for a minute of why all the 54B NBC courses got so serious in the '70s?

Actually I was very aware of why. Coming out of ROTC with an offered RA commission and a BS degree in Chemistry I initially applied for Ordnance Corps, Chemical (the Chemical Corps had been disbanded at the time) but was turned down because "there was no need for Chemical Officers". When I turned down the RA commission and joined the NG as an Armor officer, I was immediately made the company NBC officer and attended NBC school at Ft. Knox. During that short time period, the Army had looked over all the NBC munitions and gear of the Egyptian and Syrian. Needless to say, they revised the Chemical Corps, pulling it from the Ordnance Branch and were looking for anyone and everyone coming out of ROTC to fill slots (this was in the graduating class immediately after mine), although they did not go through their records for past applicants. Also at NBC school this change in focus and the why's of the change were all the instructors could talk about.

Shortround
01-09-2008, 10:49 AM
joined the NG as an Armor officer

Well, Major, since this is the whine celler we can comment on the weirdness of life.

If you look at it from a weird point of view you were "kind of" reenacting back in the 1970s.

Personally, I always liked the M-48/M-60 series of tanks. They ended up being more than a match for their Soviet counterparts. Now, how does the M-48/M-60 relate to WWII reenacting? Easy, you're a tanker. The M-48/M-60 is a direct development of the T-26 series. The "pre-Patton" Pershing tanks were generally a match for the German Tiger tanks. I'm one of the few people who noticed the first advanced prototypes of the Pershings were developed a little after the Soviets gave a KV-1 to the USA in the early years of 1940.

The M-48A5 was about the best American tank ever made from the American taxpayers point of view. The 105mm main gun was an evolution of the 17 pounder (77mm) British anti-tank gun that was fitted to Sherman Fireflies that busted up German Panzer formations.

So, you were driving a relative of the Soviet KV-1 tank that was fitted with a British gun. The way you deployed was a direct copy of British and German armor tactics. You were reenacting and didn't know it.

Don't feel bad. Most Artillery are derivatives of French designs :(

jthlmnn
01-09-2008, 02:44 PM
I guess a lot of our disagreement comes down to semantics. I can see the sentiment behind the above quote, but to remain nit-picky, I think apology in this sense is an equivocation. Let me add that in the course of this entire thread it has never occurred to me to look up the actual definition of the word.

Actually, I believe your perspective and mine are representative of a debate that has been occuring among people who specialize in morals and ethics. To paraphrase the more academic terms, your perspective reflects the opinions of those who assert that morals and ethics can only be appropriately applied to individuals. This is how morals and ethics have been historically taught and applied in Western cultures, especially since the Renaissance. It is also very compatible with American culture: self-reliance, rugged individualism, etc. The other perspective has roots in older cultures (like those of Biblical times) and non-Western cultures, where the role of the community and the individual's place withinin the community were/are much more important. Reams of paper and gallons of ink have been employed in the details and arguments of their debate. The differences we have on this topic are, I believe, both fundamental and reasonable. (And make for a much more interesting debate than semantics.)

MtVernon
01-10-2008, 03:49 AM
Actually, I believe your perspective and mine are representative of a debate that has been occuring among people who specialize in morals and ethics. To paraphrase the more academic terms, your perspective reflects the opinions of those who assert that morals and ethics can only be appropriately applied to individuals. This is how morals and ethics have been historically taught and applied in Western cultures, especially since the Renaissance. It is also very compatible with American culture: self-reliance, rugged individualism, etc. The other perspective has roots in older cultures (like those of Biblical times) and non-Western cultures, where the role of the community and the individual's place withinin the community were/are much more important. Reams of paper and gallons of ink have been employed in the details and arguments of their debate. The differences we have on this topic are, I believe, both fundamental and reasonable. (And make for a much more interesting debate than semantics.)

Well, I guess my take on this issue can then be deemed appropriate. Again, acknowledging the past, and the role a certain organization, state, etc. played in it is one thing, but to commandeer or co-opt it for the purposes of latching onto some kind of culpability in order to absolve or rectify the wrong done by people long dead for other people long dead is of dubious benefit to this Western, American mind.