Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke and spiritual guru Marianne Williamson came out strong for reparations at the Democratic debate in Detroit Tuesday night, to atone for past injustices against African Americans.
O’Rourke declared that the United States was built on the backs of black slaves and promised to sign into law a reparations bill to make up for it.
“I want to acknowledge something that we’re all touching on which is the very foundation of this country, the wealth that we have built, the way we became the greatest country on the face of the planet was literally on the backs of those who were kidnapped and brought here by force,” O’Rourke said. “The legacy of slavery and segregation and Jim Crow and suppression is alive and well in every aspect of the economy and country. Today as president I will sign into law a new voting rights act. I will focus on education, address health care disparities and also sign into Lee Sheila Jackson Lee’s reparations bill so we can have the national conversation we waited too long in this country to have.”
Beto O'Rourke: "The very foundation of this country, the wealth that we have built, the way we became the greatest country on the face of the planet was literally on the backs of those who were kidnapped and brought here by force." #DemDebate #DemocraticDebate pic.twitter.com/3fsuQaQ5Pd
— The Hill (@thehill) July 31, 2019
Marianne Williamson also came out in favor of reparations, saying, “anything less than $100 BILLION is an insult. I believe the $200-$500 BILLION is politically feasible today.”
Marianne Williamson: "Anything less than $100 BILLION [in reparations] is an insult. I believe the $200-$500 BILLION is politically feasible today."
These people are literally insane. pic.twitter.com/fhRoaO8ub3
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) July 31, 2019
After the debate, Williamson took to Twitter to expand on her idea to use a $200 to $500 billion payout to cure the “emotional turbulence” of black Americans.
— Marianne Williamson (@marwilliamson) July 31, 2019
Several other candidates have expressed support for reparations, including Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. Other candidates have said they would have to study the issue further.
Democrats flirting with the idea of providing cash payouts to African Americans who are the descendants of slaves are staking out a risky policy position, as the idea does not resonate with most Americans.
A Gallup poll released on Monday showed that 67 percent of Americans said the government should not make cash payments to blacks, verses 29 percent who said it should.
A solid majority of black Americans (73 percent) supported reparations, while only 16 percent of non-Hispanic white Americans said the government should make reparation payments.
The poll showed that Democrats are split on the matter, with 49 percent for reparations and 47 percent against.
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)