Reparations are not solely, or even mostly, about race. Reparations are about giving back to those who have been wronged in order to make them whole again. American citizens as a whole have been wronged by the policies of the Bush Administration. Our sons and daughters were tricked into war. Our financial industry was deregulated. Our civil liberties were trampled. Enemies were tortured in our name. So yes, Americans, all Americans, are due reparations. We have been wronged by our government. When the government helps to right those wrongs by reinforcing the social safety net it is a kind of reparation, the best kind.
Finally, The idea that Barack Obama supports racial reparations is laughable! He was nailed on this question as far back as the 2004 Senate race when Alan Keyes supported slavery reparations and Obama didn't. I swear this happened: Alan Keyes pointed out that he supported reparations and that Obama would not be eligible for any because he had a white mama and African father. It was one of the funniest and most memorable moment of the Illinois senate race because Alan Keyes used reparations to claim he was more racially authentic than Obama.
My ancestors ran a station on the Underground Railroad in New Hampshire. The descendants of those slaves now live in Canada. My ancestors risked abuse and worse at the hands of the slave catchers because they believed that slavery of any kind is wrong.
What do you think would happen if I showed up on the doorsteps of those descendants of the slaves my family aided and demanded reparations?
I would be laughed off of the porch and rightly so. Although I would have helped had I been alive back then, the reality is that it all happened before I was born. My ancestors who helped the escaped slaves and the slaves they helped are all dead and gone.
Reparations seek to punish people for something they did not do, to reward the people who were not the victims. It is an excuse to grab cash.
Now, that being said, I agree our society needs a social safety net. However, we are not even close to that. The GOP is worried about taxing the rich to pay for the poor but the reality is that right now, the poor are taxed to pay for the rich.
And that has to stop.