Repa­ra­tions and Red Her­rings

The Washington Post Sunday - - Outlook -

With his April 12 op-ed, “Con­tri­tion for Amer­ica’s Curse,” Jonathan Cape­hart joined a long list of pun­dits who try to dis­credit the idea of repa­ra­tions for slav­ery by evok­ing a sce­nario in which the most awk­ward and com­plex form of repa­ra­tions is some­how foisted on our na­tion.

He men­tioned the red her­rings of

Grand En­trance in Bethesda

As Amer­i­cans, we need to pro­vide the best hos­pi­tals for our troops, their fam­i­lies and the med­i­cal staffers who sup­port them. With this in mind, the Pen­tagon de­cided to close Wal­ter Reed Army Med­i­cal Cen­ter and treat pa­tients at an ex­panded Na­tional Naval Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Bethesda, which abuts three roads: two sur­face streets and the Belt­way.

Only the sur­face streets of­fer ac­cess to the med­i­cal cen­ter, which is why, as the head­line on an April 13 story said, “Plans to Ex­pand Mil­i­tary Fa­cil­ity in Bethesda Stir Traf­fic Wor­ries.”

Here’s a sim­ple so­lu­tion: Build a ded­i­cated en­trance to Bethesda Naval from the Belt­way. Make the over­pass stun­ning and pa­tri­otic, like so many other lo­cal mon­u­ments to our ser­vice mem­bers. Pro­vide quick and easy ac­cess to fam­ily mem­bers ar­riv­ing from far away. And give Belt­way driv­ers a monumental re­minder of those who are in­jured in ser­vice to our coun­try. KIRT SUOMELA

Bethesda Lexuses, Oprah Win­frey and Barack Obama, even though he clearly is aware that real-life dis­par­i­ties in jobs, health and in­car­cer­a­tion per­sist for the “rank and file” de­scen­dants of slaves. Un­der any re­al­is­tic sce­nario, all of us (es­pe­cially or­di­nary, lev­el­headed African Amer­i­cans) would have some say about the form repa­ra­tions would take.

Of course, many Amer­i­cans once had apoca­lyp­tic fears about the abo­li­tion of slav­ery and the end of seg­re­ga­tion. As hap­pened with those other

No E-Mail ‘Mys­tery’

The April 14 edi­to­rial “White House E-Mail Mys­tery” said that White House em­ploy­ees re­ceived “sloppy guid­ance” re­gard­ing when to use email ac­counts pro­vided by the White House and ac­counts pro­vided by the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee.

Sloppy guid­ance? If an em­ployee can­not read and com­pre­hend an em­ployee hand­book, maybe that per­son should not be work­ing in the White House. The edi­to­rial seemed to im­ply that al­legedly in­tel­li­gent peo­ple could be acutely aware of the Hatch Act but fail to rec­og­nize se­cu­rity is­sues and what the Pres­i­den­tial Records Act re­quires.

It was not “sloppy guid­ance.” It was Repub­li­can pri­or­i­ties — party be­fore coun­try. CH­ERYL DOU­GLASS

Burling­ton, Mass. once-unimag­in­able steps for­ward, repa­ra­tions will come from a po­lit­i­cal process led by African Amer­i­cans but in­volv­ing all Amer­i­cans.

Our his­tory does not sug­gest that African Amer­i­cans, who gave us the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Fred­er­ick Dou­glass, will be capri­cious and fool­ish. More likely, in their search for jus­tice they will once again blaze a trail to greater free­dom for us all. LARRY YATES Mau­r­ertown, Va.

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