His is not an unpopular sentiment. There is a sizeable segment of America that devotes a good bit of its time to the subject of wrongs committed by America. Slavery is high on their list. As are Indians. Homosexuals. Gitmo terrorists.
The United States Senate even ground to a halt the other day so that a number of members of that august body could express their regret and offer their apologies on behalf of unnamed, nameless individuals for there not having been more done to stop the thousands of instances of mob lynching of black Americans that took place between the 1880's and the 1960's. The number of lynchings is pegged at 4,742. It is unclear if this apology covers all of them or if there are to be 4,741 more apologies forthcoming. I'll bet on the latter.
My reaction to their effort? I really had none. It was an empty gesture that occupied the time of legislators who would otherwise be devoting their time to raising my taxes and restricting my freedoms even again. It was a harmless effort that seemed to be appreciated by those who dwell on such things. It fell right in line with Bill Clinton's having taken a moment out of his busy schedule - both presidential and extramarital - to apologize for slavery (at the very same moment that he made the executive decision not to get involved in the ongoing slaughter of 3/4 of a million people in Rwanda).
Yes, talk is cheap.
But action in this case involving Native-Americans is going to be very, very expensive.
HAMPTONS WARPATHThe Hamptons crowd, as you're probably aware, is the most liberal group of affluent people in America. They are the bunch that find great joy in lining up to apologize to people they don't know for the actions of people they don't know involving transgressions they had nothing to do with and know nothing about.
By KIERAN CROWLEY and MARSHA KRANES, New York Times
The Southampton-based Shinnecock Indians yesterday fired the first arrow in their battle to reclaim ancestral lands - filing a federal lawsuit seeking the return of 3,600 acres of prime real estate "stolen" by the state a century and a half ago.
The 1,300-member tribe also is asking for monetary damages - conservatively estimated at $1.7 billion - and 150 years of back rent and interest in what it called "the largest Indian land claim ever filed."
The tribe wants title to all non-residential property within a 3,600-acre area of Southampton Town - land it claims it was cheated out of in 1859.
The land targeted in the suit includes the world-renowned Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Southampton College's sprawling campus and the elite bayfront National Golf Links of America.
Yesterday's suit contends that in 1703 Southampton leased the tribe several thousand acres of land in exchange for $25.
It claims the lease was broken in 1859 when a group of investors, claiming to have a petition signed by 21 Shinnecocks, got the state Legislature to approve the exchange of the tribe's land for an 800-acre tract. (link)
But it appears that it is going to take more than apologies to solve this problem.
Once the beautiful people lose this fight, expect a mass migration - a wagon train, with oxen in tow and babies suckling at mamas' breasts, is how I'm picturing it on the evening news - when everyone in Southampton is forced out of their luxury estates and into the land of Pharaoh*. Another apology in the making.
Let's see if they're going to put their $1.7 billion where their mouths are.
I'm taking bets.
* A truly ugly mixed metaphor. Sorry.