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Here We Go Again: Buttigieg Getting Dragged for Saying Constitution Signers Didn't Know Slavery Was Bad

Illustration for article titled Here We Go Again: Buttigieg Getting Dragged for Saying Constitution Signers Didnt Know Slavery Was Bad
Photo: Paras Griffin (Getty Images)

Once again, South Bend, Ind. mayor and presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg finds himself under the microscope and under fire for recently unearthed video of him saying something trash.

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You may remember that last month, The Root’s own Michael Harriot blasted Buttigieg over past comments about why black kids fail in school so often, saying, “Kids need to see evidence that education is going to work for them.” Harriot later sat down for an interview with Buttigieg and the two kinda, sorta, but not really hashed things out and everything was kinda, sorta, but not really right with the world again.

Well, now Buttigieg is up against it again; this time for an old clip from his appearance on a children’s public television show in 2014.

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“Similarly, the amendment process—they were wise enough to realize that they didn’t have all of the answers and that some things would change. A good example of this is something like slavery—or civil rights. It’s an embarrassing thing to admit, but the people who wrote the Constitution did not understand that slavery was a bad thing and did not respect civil rights.”

Oh Jesus Christ, Pete.

First of all, if they “did not respect civil rights” I think it’s safe to say that they knew when they were doing a bad thing, they just didn’t care.

In fact, writer Aleia Woods of NewsOne did a fine job of pointing out a direct refutation of this Buttigieg’s statement by one of the framers himself.

In fact, James Madison, one of the “people who wrote the Constitution” and owned as many as 118 slaves, according to White House History, admitted to knowing just how immoral and barbaric slavery was. He referred to slavery as a “dreadful calamity” in a private letter written to Frances Wright in 1825.

“The magnitude of this evil among us is so deeply felt, and so universally acknowledged, that no merit could be greater than that of devising a satisfactory remedy for it,” he wrote, according to the Founders Archive.

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The core issue here is that people, especially U.S. politicians, are afraid to admit a simple truth: a lot of the founders were pretty trash. They insist on feeding us this “those were the times” explanation as if it weren’t true that, regardless of how far back in history we’re talking about, evil is as evil does.

Slavery, at all points in time, was inherently evil. Regarding human beings as less than human (or at least not more than 3/5 as such) is inherently evil. It’s preposterous to assume slavers, nation leaders and slavery advocates didn’t understand that owning other people as property is wrong—at least in the eyes of those being owned. But the bad thing didn’t matter because the hate was the point. The cruelty was the point. The subjugation was the point. And if those campaigning to lead us and asking for our votes and our confidence would simply be real about things like this, they might not find themselves falling out of our favor so easily and so often.

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

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Julian Castro, Kamala Harris & Cory Booker ran out of money but this lackluster, underwhelming, useless toad is still in the race. That speaks volumes. Dear Lord help us all.