Indulgences For The Political Class

Rosslyn Smith

American Thinker, WA
Oct 18 2007

Rick Moran seems to find virtue in the resolution on Armenian
genocide. I do not. It takes little effort to say never again about
horrors from the past. If the same people who support this resolution
were also shouting NO about the major current crisis, the threat of a
nuclear armed Iran, I might agree more with Rick about the importance
of the gesture.

But I fear votes such as this one are used as a plenary indulgence by
Congressional leaders. By condemning events long past, those promoting
this resolutions seek to completely absolve themselves for failing
to deal constructively with atrocities currently in the making.

It was terrible that the West did nothing in 1915 to help the
Armenians, but everyone who bore responsibility is well beyond the
reach of earthly justice. To alienate a key Muslim ally in the war
on terror by politically embarrassing the grandchildren and great
grandchildren of the perpetrators helps no one except those in Congress
who need their regular fix of cheap political virtue

In fact, I find this resolution particularly ironic. Not only is it
against our nation’s current interests, but it displays a trait that
is almost un-American in the way it dredges up the past. Americans are
known for our short collective memory. I doubt if a fraction of the
population knows anything about World War I other than to guess that
it probably came before World War II, much less how many people died
because of it and why. With our culture’s emphasis on the future and
the value of personal as opposed to collective responsibility we find
it hard to grasp that many in other parts of the World treat events
from centuries ago as if they had personally happened to them only
the day before yesterday.

While ignoring the past as Americans are wont to do has its perils,
obsessing over it as is common in the Middle East tends to be much
worse. Those who obsess over the past often fail to see current issues
and future outcomes. Ninety two years from today will the sponsors of
this resolution find themselves facing condemnation for not acting on
any number of evils in today’s world.? I hope not, but I fear that if
Congress continues on their current course the answer may well be Yes.

I propose a statute of limitations on politicians dredging up the
past for current gain. Ban all requests for apologies, resolutions
of condemnation or demands for reparations for any act outside the
recollection of any current member of Congress. The oldest member,
Senator Byrd, was born in 1917. If Senator Byrd can’t pull a personal
anecdote about the incident from his huge repertoire, the topic should
be declared off limits for official Congressional action.

Historic evils should be the fodder of debates among historians not
a quest for political indulgences among our current political leaders.

The problem with mining collective guilt for political gain is that
while it feels good today, the finger pointing never stops, the
wounds never heal and hollow gestures tend to be repeatedly mistaken
for progress.


You may also like