On PBS, Never-Trumper David Brooks Backs Reparations, Due to the 'Election of Trump'

On the PBS NewsHour, New York Times columnist David Brooks is somehow expected to be identified as the conservative (or at least center-right) pundit, and he keeps sounding like a leftist instead. On Friday, he came out for reparations because "we're in a make-or-break moment on race" due to "the election of Trump." 

DAVID BROOKS: On reparations, I support them, but not for the reasons Joe Biden says. It's not an act of guilt. It's not an act of, we did something wrong. It's a show of respect. It's a show of respect for the injustices that minorities, members of the African-American community have suffered in our society for hundreds of years, not just slavery, but red-lining and all the way up to the president.

So we show respect, and we do it as an act of regard and as an act of resetting. And I have just come to the conclusion. I changed my mind about it, because the practicalities of doing it are really hard. But I changed my mind about it because it just feels like we're in a make-or-break moment on race. The election of Trump, the atmosphere this has created has created a movement where aggressive gestures have to be taken to show that we're all part of the same country.

Elsewhere in the show, PBS produced an eight-minute segment on the Democrats discussing reparations -- "40 acres and a Tesla" -- and included an old 1975 quote from Joe Biden that expressed the classic opposing view on reparations: Why should today's Americans pay for a 300-year-old injustice? 

Brooks was so far to the left that the Democratic columnist Mark Shields shot the idea down as impractical and a "nonstarter" and not a real issue for most voters. 

AMNA NAWAZ: Mark, what about you? Do you think the candidates should have a stance on this, a ready answer if they're asked?

MARK SHIELDS: They can have a stance if they want it. I think it's a nonstarter as an issue in 2020, Amna....And you have a choice in politics. You can look forward or you can look backward. And I think, in 2020, this is not an issue that comes up voluntarily on the part of voters. I think David raises the question. It is next to impossible to do it.

I mean, the African-American girl who graduated from Sidwell whose father is a dentist and whose mother's a lawyer is not in the same position as somebody who is a direct lineal descendant at discrimination and servitude.

It is — what works in this country is when we include everybody in a program. And there's no question that African-Americans have suffered economically, socially and politically. But it ought to be a policy that's directed to lifting up all those who lag behind, who have been, through no fault of their own, left behind and hurt.

And I think that, in spending more money, it means an investment in city schools. There's no reason, as John McCain said, that a bad congressman should earn more than a good schoolteacher. And I think that's a good place to start.


Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Race Issues David Brooks Mark Shields
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