“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone. “
— Rod Serling
Talk about strange bedfellows — the Republican Speaker of the NC House of Representatives, The (alleged) voice of conservative intellectualism in North Carolina, and the Legislative Black Caucus teaming up to denounce Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R) and his caucus in the General Assembly’s upper chamber:
Standing alongside members of the N.C. Legislative Black Caucus on Wednesday afternoon, House Speaker Thom Tillis said an ignorance of history among his colleagues in the Senate is mostly to blame for a failed bid to compensate victims of a state-run eugenics board.
Tillis said North Carolina’s lack of due process for those forced into sterilization by the state as well as the active presence of the program until 1974 makes the state need to take more responsibility than some of its neighbors. Tillis said Tennessee had no eugenics program whatsoever and that Georgia and South Carolina steadily cut their programs after World War Two.
“What happened in North Carolina was different, very different,” Tillis said. “In North Carolina, eugenics went up sharply in the 50’s and 60’s.”
Earlier in the day, Sen. Don East said after voicing opposition for compensation that money would do nothing to change history and an apology — similar to the one issued by the General Assembly for slavery — would be more fitting.
Sen. Floyd McKissick, chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, said an apology falls short of making a difference for those affected by state-mandated sterilization.
“When you basically take someone’s reproductive rights, and you take it against their will so they can’t have children, that’s something where you really want to … not just legally, but also morally to make amends.
“Unfortunately, these people are dying,” he added. “Every year we delay this, that’s one additional year that … people that could file for claims, that could be compensated for rights they lost, won’t have that opportunity.”
On Wednesday evening, The John Locke Foundation tweeted its displeasure with the Senate’s decision to not include eugenics reparations in the budget and its support for Tillis’ position.
Tillis claims Berger and the senators have an “ignorance of history.” But many could claim Tillis has an ignorance of economic reality. Our state is in economic turmoil. We are in debt up to our eyeballs to the federal government. We are struggling to pay back what we borrowed to pay extended unemployment benefits.
And we want to shell out $50,000 apiece to some 2000 people? How about getting the state’s finances in order FIRST before launching any new heartstring-tugging feel good campaigns with other people’s money?
This eugenics stuff went on from 1929 to 1974. Democrats ran state government at that time. They have controlled the legislature for all but five years since 1974. If this was so vital, why couldn’t The Black Caucus and their fellow Democrats in those majorities get it done in that time period?
Because it’s actually NOT that important. This is all about stirring up racial animosity to fire up an important base bloc in the Democrat Party as the first black president comes up for reelection. Tillis and the John Locke people are for it because some consultant has told them THIS will bring a flood of black voters over to conservatism and the GOP.
How do you put a dollar figure on a human life? That always amazes me when attorneys do it in wrongful death cases. You can give a family $1 million, but it will not heal an injured loved one. Nor will it bring a loved one back from the dead.
If we’re going to open that Pandora’s Box of shelling out money to “right” historical wrongs, where does it stop? Are the families of victims of the Wilmington Race Riots of 1898 next? What about the Cherokees and all of the other Native Americans in the state? What about all of the descendants of every African slave who ever worked a North Carolina plantation? After paying all of those folks, our state will officially be in Chapter 11 territory. And so will many of us.
You have no argument from me that eugenics was a shameful policy. There are a lot of things that happened in history that disappoint me. But that’s the thing about studying history — you identify what was good and try to keep doing it. You identify what was bad, study it, learn from it, and try to never do it again.