Be wary of a Pelosi invitation. Plus: Reparations not an outrageous idea. And, prayers for Pence

By Gary Abernathy

If Pelosi invites you over, watch your back

It was announced this week that President Biden will make his first address to a joint session of Congress on April 28. As the Associated Press put it, “The speech will come just before Biden’s 100th day in office, and will provide him an opportunity to update the American public on his progress toward fulfilling his promises. It will also give him a chance to make the case for the $2.3 trillion infrastructure package he unveiled earlier this month, which the House is aiming to pass by July 4.”

The AP reported that “Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi extended the invitation to Biden on Tuesday, ‘to share your vision for addressing the challenges and opportunities of this historic moment.’” 

If I was Biden, I’d be a little leery of accepting an invitation from Nancy Pelosi. If you’ll recall, the last time she invited a president to speak to a joint session – President Trump delivering his State of the Union address in February of 2020 -- she tried to steal the show, signaling to her caucus when to applaud and when to sit on their hands, and then dramatically ripping up a copy of Trump’s speech after it was delivered. Given Pelosi’s penchant for making herself the center of attention, Biden can be forgiven if he keeps looking over his shoulder on April 28.

This year, Pelosi will presumably be wearing a mask throughout the whole event. How unfortunate that she did not do so the last time around, which would have spared us the spectacle of her incessant mugging during Trump’s remarks.

Reparations to slave descendants is not outrageous idea

Congress is studying the notion of reparations to descendants of slaves. A Los Angeles Times story reports, “The House Judiciary Committee voted late Wednesday along party lines to send a bill to the House floor for the first time to create a commission to study the legacy of American slavery, racist laws and how they affected formerly enslaved people and their descendants. The bill instructs the 13-person committee to consider a ‘national apology’ and recommend any ‘appropriate remedies’ to Congress.”

There’s no one alive today with the standing – or the responsibility -- to issue a “national apology” for anything that happened back when slavery occurred. Unless you are or were a slaveowner, you have nothing to apologize for.

But the issue of reparations is a different matter. As Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said, “This is about restorative justice. ... If you through your history benefited from that wrong that was done, then you must be willing to commit yourself to righting that wrong.”

There is no doubt that white people have benefited from slavery, as well as from decades of inequity that followed. It will be decades more before those inequities are leveled off through the natural progression of events.

The story notes, “Discrimination and violence ensured generational economic hardship was still felt by many descendants, said Kirsten Mullen and William Darity, who study reparations for Black Americans. For example, the average Black household’s net worth is $800,000 lower than that of the average white household, they said. Erasing the disparity would cost at least $10 trillion.”

The monetary figure can be disputed, but the idea of reparations is nothing new. “In 1988, the federal government paid reparations to Japanese Americans who were imprisoned during World War II. Florida in 1994 paid reparations to those who survived the 1923 Rosewood massacre, in which white mobs destroyed a Black community and killed at least six people.”

It's a topic worth exploring rather than dismissing it out of hand.  

Thoughts and prayers for Mike Pence after procedure

Thoughts and prayers for former Vice President Mike Pence, who has had a pacemaker implanted. The AP reported that Pence’s office said Pence “is expected to fully recover and return to normal activity in the coming days.”

Pence has been through a lot in recent months, including the drama of Jan. 6 when he was attempting to conduct his constitutional duty of overseeing the count of electors in the presidential race when an angry mob stormed the Capitol, causing Pence and lawmakers to flee for their lives.

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