And then I wrote...

by Dick Schilling, Editor Emeritus

... some official commenting on possible actions to control the Ebola outbreak in Africa, and its possible threat to residents of the United States, made one of the dumbest comments I have ever heard. Asked if it would be wise to halt travel from those areas of Africa involved into the United States, he was aghast. “We can’t do that! We owe it to them not to do that,” he said.
Asked why, he said it is because we forced former slaves to go there to settle.
I am no student of that subject, but I got the impression it was a movement designed to accommodate slaves who had already been freed by former masters, mainly in northeast states. They named the capital after Pres. James Monroe. It started in 1822, more than 40 years before all slaves were “emancipated” in the United States. And before and after emancipation, great numbers of freed slaves apparently never took advantage of that new country in Africa. In fact, I think I read that fewer than three percent of the current residents of that country are descendants of former U.S. slaves, about the same number as descendants of slaves from other nations. The rest are descendants of native Africans.
So what we owe “them” doesn’t amount to much when there are so few of “them.”
And who are the “we?”
Those of us who are descendants of immigrants from Europe, most of whom came here after the Civil War, had nothing to do with slavery. Same is true of later immigrants from Mexico, Japan and China.
So just as there are few “them” there, there is little “we” here outside of the “old” families of the south and southeast whose ancestors kept slaves.
This not an opinion on whether a travel ban would be good or bad, or even successful.
It’s just that there is enough ascribed “white guilt” to go around without adding to it via some flimsy, if not actually misleading, information.
The resignation of Eric Holder as attorney general immediately raised speculation that he would be President Obama’s choice for a possible vacancy on the Supreme Court.
Some left-leaning media types are urging the president not to be hasty, because that nomination would result in strong opposition from the opposition party, which would not be good. Remembering, obviously, the “Borking” by Ted Kennedy on that nomination, and the character assassination of Justice Clarence Thomas.
But there is also the matter of Holder’s own bias. “I am the attorney general, but I am also a black man,” he was quoted as saying in Missouri, adding that he was humiliated after being stopped twice by law officers for speeding, who then searched his car. That resulted in a “history of mistrust and suspicion.” Perhaps accounting for his advocacy on behalf of minorities. But the descriptions of the duties of a Supreme Court justice and attorney general don’t seem to include advocacy, but deciding matters of law on appeal. Or has that changed, too?
On a more pleasant (slightly) topic, I noticed that the Chicago Cubs did not finish with the worst record in the Major Leagues this season. Far from it. Six teams had worse records. Three teams were tied with the same number of defeats. That means the Cubs were as good or better than nine of the 30 teams.
Wait until next year.