By Danny Schechter
Author of The Crime of Our Time.
Reconciliation is one of those words that sounds great when used in another country
Right-wing whites along with the rest of the world embraced South Africa's peace and reconciliation process as a way to put apartheid crimes on the record without a punitive witch-hunt that would intensify racial and political tensions. Archbishop Desmond Tutu chaired a panel to hear evidence without the power to execute or imprison or execute wrongdoers.
The idea was to disclose the truth while attempting to bring a dangerously polarized society together. Forgiveness, it was thought, could help the country move on.
In the US, at least these days, reconciliation has another meaning and purpose; to allow legislators to find compromises in enacting legislation by reconciling Senate and House versions of the bill.