As part of Congress's whirlwind-meets-marathon pace (like voting on 10 amendments in one minute at a pace of six seconds per) in order to finish up before the end of session, votes have been fast and furious. The votes aren't on trivial matters either: Whether people should be allowed to register to vote on election days and if Massachusetts can allow out-of-state gay couples to marry are on the agenda. Part of the voting frenzy included a key apology.
The House voted Tuesday to apologize to black Americans for wrongs committed under slavery and Jim Crow laws. The resolution was fronted by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), the only white lawmaker representing a mostly black district (who's also facing a black challenger in a primary next week.) It's not the first time Congress has apologized — they've said sorry to Japanese-Americans for their treatment in WW II and native Hawaiians for the overthrow of their King, but this the first national apology for slavery.
Five states have issued apologies, but Congressional efforts have stalled previously because they've included reparations. The Cohen resolution says that Africans forced into slavery "were brutalized, humiliated, dehumanized and subjected to the indignity of being stripped of their names and heritage." The move is largely symbolic, and given that reparations weren't mentioned, some think the apology is meaningless. "If you don't follow the apology with action, talk is cheap. Talk is less expensive than reparations."
Should Congress have apologized? Are reparations necessary for it to be meaningful?