You know we must have forgotten the lessons of history and literature when a politician feels comfortable announcing his intention to assign employees to a “collection of truth,” and such is the degree of Orwellian amnesia coming from Democrat Mayor of Providence Jorge Elorza as he deploys a cynical and divisive plan to move the city toward paying reparations to people based on their race:
Mayor Jorge Elorza will sign an executive order Wednesday to begin the process of examining the feasibility of establishing a reparations program in Providence for residents of African heritage and Indigenous people.
City leaders have no estimate on how much a reparations program would cost or how it would work, but Elorza said studying the issue will be the “first step in accepting the role Providence and Rhode Island has held in generations of pain and violence against these residents and healing some of the deepest wounds our country faces today.”
Didn’t the city just receive a major blow from the Rhode Island Supreme Court, immediately imposing millions of dollars in costs to cover pensions and creating longer-term fiscal problems? Shouldn’t the mayor be focusing on that… or ensuring that businesses can operate smoothly in the city… or working with the state to improve the city’s deplorable school system… or working to shore up the city’s infrastructure?
Reasonable minds may wonder whether the mayor’s announcement is simply a means of distraction. It certainly isn’t a quest for truth.
Consider, firstly, whether it is conceivable that the “collection of truth” might actually conclude that reparations are not owed. It is not; no politician capable of tying his own shoes would begin this process if he thought for a moment he might produce a disappointment for the narrative. In progressives’ minds, the truth is already known, and the project would merely be gathering whatever facts (or factoids) might justify confiscating more money from disfavored communities, while brushing aside any evidence that would point the other way.
Nevermind the question of tying actual people to any demonstrable harm, such a project, if fair, would also have to assess the degree to which people have actually been in Providence in order to be harmed or to have benefited. Despite Rhode Islanders’ using their government to bring an end to slavery and racism, a program of reparations would require the conclusion that the government was complicit in the harm, thereby imposing the burden on anybody who falls under that government. Implicitly, Elorza would use the government to decree that a white person who moved to Providence yesterday owes something to a black neighbor who moved in the same day.
In short, Elorza’s truth commission is sure to be a pure manifestation of racism, and the most likely outcome is that it will arrive at the predictable finding that reparations are owed, but that they cannot be paid, right now, because the money simply is not there. This will arrive just in time for Elorza to depart office, leaving his successor with an even bigger challenge governing the city and solving its problems.
Our politics have reached the point that people really need to start standing up and acknowledging that elected officials are way off base. If common sense and just moral reasoning have no advocates, then insanity will simply roll over us all.
Of the following two issues related to Rhode Island’s public schools, which one is a greater concern?