In 1858, when he was still struggling over the political (though not the moral) implications of slavery, Lincoln said, "I have made it . plain that I think the Negro is included in the word 'men' used in the Declaration of Independence .. I believe the declara(tion) that 'all men are created equal' is the great fundamental principle upon which our free institutions rest; that Negro slavery is violative of that principle .."
President Clinton spoke often about race, as might be expected from a Democrat who is a white son of the Deep South. But when President Bush speaks of slavery and of those who overcame it, he performs an important service for his country and for Africa, at least in part because he is a conservative Republican, a political party not recently associated with such things.
It does not stretch Bush's points to suggest that the greatest reparation America could pay would be to assist fledgling democracies and free economies in Africa to prosper monetarily and politically.
Fondly do we hope; fervently do we pray.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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