Thursday, March 12, 2009

Regrets Only? Native Hawaiians
Insist U.S. Apology Has A Price

by Jess Bravin and Louise Radnofsky - March 12th, 2009 - The Wall Street Journal

A century after a cabal of American sugar planters, financiers and missionaries overthrew the Kingdom of Hawaii, Congress said it was sorry. The U.S. Supreme Court soon will decide whether that apology meant anything -- from a legal standpoint, at least.

The Hawaii Supreme Court thought it did. Last year, that court cited the 1993 Apology Resolution to block the state from transferring any of the 1.2 million acres of land -- some 29% of Hawaii's total -- received from the federal government upon statehood in 1959. Those lands once belonged to the Hawaiian crown or its subjects, and were confiscated by the Americans without compensation.

This is all about reparations. The key issue is whether the descendants of some wronged group, can claim superior rights over other citizens. There is a minority of people of Pacific Island Heritage who live in Hawaii who came there after the sugar planters overthrew the Kingdom. Do they get to benefit even though they really have no claim to having been wronged by citizens alive today? If these Hawaiians have benefited as U.S. Citizens, which they apparently did since they voted in huge numbers to join our nation more than 50 years AFTER the supposed coup which ended the Kingdom, have they not superseded any claim of damages?

The idiocy is exactly the same as the one where descendants of blacks who came to America voluntarily after slavery ended, are going to benefit from the descendants of whites who came to America voluntarily after slavery ended, if reparations are enacted.

Equal protection under the law has become a farce in this corrupt court system found in our nation today. I do not trust the Supreme Court to ever really care about equal protection under the law. The entire concept has become a mockery of justice.


At 2:39 PM , Blogger James said...

I think you raise important points about certain forms of reparations, such as benefits to people whose ancestors weren't harmed and who may not suffer harm themselves.

How, though, could it possibly be "idiocy" even to consider these claims?

In the case of native Hawaiians, whose sovereign nation was overrun by the U.S. government a century ago and who did not vote for statehood, why should they not today enjoy some of the land which was taken from their ancestors? You say that they benefit from being U.S. citizens today, but they are not doing as well as other groups of U.S. citizens.

You dismiss reparations for slavery, on the other hand, while noting that the ancestors of a small percentage of black Americans immigrated after slavery ended.

Surely, we shouldn't dismiss an otherwise good claim for justice, merely on the basis that someone might, hypothetically, propose a remedy that would mistakenly include people who aren't entitled to share in the remedy?

Your concern about white citizens whose ancestors arrived after slavery ended is different, but it fails on historical grounds. Immigrants to this country after the Civil War generally came here because there were jobs to be found. Those jobs were largely the result of slavery and the pre-Civil War industrialization of the country, which depended on slavery.

Those immigrants could make something of themselves because of the economic opportunities provided by the enslavement of black families, and could better their circumstances at the expense of black families, who were largely excluded from advancement in this country for a century following the Civil War.

At 5:02 PM , Blogger Dean Stephens said...

A few of your thoughts that need correction.

Slaves were only 13% of the population at the time of the civil war, and they were in the poorest states. Our nation was most assuredly not “dependent on slavery”. It prospered well before and after slavery, but prospered most in areas of our country where there were few blacks. Blacks have never been much more than the 13% they were then and still are. This lie that our nation was built on slavery or prospered by keeping blacks down is non sense and reality proves it. The claim is not just a lie, it is a stupid lie. Our nation actually prospered more after blacks were integrated into our culture after the 1970s. Slaves were not the source of our prosperity, freedom was.

The American government did not overrun Hawaii. I believe only one U.S. Official was supportive of the act. The Republic formed was not a part of the U.S. The U.S. did not take Hawaiian land. Hawaiian native descendents voted 20 to 1 in favor of statehood over 50 years later. Why did they overwhelmingly vote for statehood? Why should one citizen of the U.S. get superior treatment over another citizen? Why is it not simply okay that all the U.S. Citizens of Hawaii benefit from this land? Is it because the Hawaiian natives have become hate filled racist bigots and don’t want to be citizens except when they benefit? When they are better off excluding whites and Asians all of a sudden they hate America. To claim Hawaii “whose sovereign nation was overrun by the U.S. government a century ago and who did not vote for statehood” is two preposterous lies. Neither idea is true.

Mexicans want to take all of the Southwest U.S. back under the claim that Sam Houston’s war in Texas was unjust. Mexico lost to an independent Republic in a war. They did not lose to the U.S.! Texas became part of America later. Should we give that back now? The issue is that no ancestor of any group should be liable to the ancestors of another group for wrongs committed over 100 years ago. If we did that you would find that there is plenty of blame to throw around and many whites can claim reparations too. It is idiocy and is exactly the kind of permanent disagreements that have kept cultures at war for centuries. Look at Europe to see how stupid that is.

If anyone does not like living in America, leave. If they like living in America, and minorities do better in America than they do anywhere else in the world, why is U.S. citizenship not enough? Why do they have the right to take from other citizens based on skin color as well? How is that not the same extreme racist bigotry they claim used to be “unfair” against them. Is it unfair or not? If it was unfair when done to their ancestors, how is it fair for them to do it against other citizens today? This whining excuse that America owes some citizens something at the expense of others because someone else of a different skin color long ago did something to their ancestors is an evil idea. The vast majority of whites in America today are descendents of immigrants who came here after the civil war. Is your goal to create anger between various groups so we can get a new war going? Does lust for vengeance require a little blood in the streets? What happens if the minorities lose again? Will that end this nonsense? Just how evil are you?

At 9:17 PM , Blogger Dean Stephens said...

Industrialization was not driven by slavery. Slaves worked in the fields in the south, not in factories in the north. To claim slavery is the source of our industrialization proves that we cannot have a civilized discussion. You keep repeating things that are simply not true. Reparations is a claim that "America owes some citizens something at the expense of others because someone else of a different skin color long ago did something to their ancestors." You respond "I've never heard anyone propose such a thing." How can you say something that stupid? What else are reparations? And your insult that I would like to see blood in the street just because I think advocating something that is evil could lead to it, terminates this thread. I aksed a question. Twisting it into an insult will not be tolerated. You are banned.

At 9:55 PM , Blogger Dean Stephens said...

I will not argue about history with you. I will, one last time, observe that a number of your comments do not match the history I do know, but this web site is about legal issues and I have no interest in haggling with you about your view of history. My legal point was that the Supreme Court does not care about the Constitutional guarantee of equal protection for all citizens. Today they spend all their time providing special privileges to some citizens against other citizens. That is corrupt. Stay on that point or go somewhere else.


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