- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 4, 2001

Richard Regan, the most sensitive Lumbee Cheraw Indian in America, is wiping the tears from his eyes again, trying to stay strong as the annual acknowledgement of Christopher Columbus nears.
Mr. Regan voices no objection to Columbus Day sales, held each year on Oct. 12 just to Columbus, a dead white guy who is not dead enough.
Columbus, of course, is the guy who took a wrong turn in 1492 and landed in the Bahamas, whereupon he ordered one of those fancy drinks that comes with a tiny umbrella. This was the so-called New World, although it really wasn't new to the tour-guide operators and T-shirt hawkers already there.
Understandably, Mr. Regan refuses to drink to that version of events, which probably is just as well, given the historical lessons of firewater. Back then, whenever the red man and white man gathered around a campfire to forge an agreement, they would take a couple of hits off the peace pipe, wash it down with firewater and then forget everything the next day.
Anyway, Mr. Regan and the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs are advocating the elimination of the Columbus Day holiday, mostly because the dead white guy still hurts their feelings 509 years after the fact. That is a powerful hurt.
Mr. Regan, in particular, has been feeling a considerable amount of hurt in recent months, finding a never-ending supply of slights in his tiny part of the world, notably with the make-believe Indians at Poolesville High School. The Indians there are down to their last eight months because of Mr. Regan's hyperactive tear ducts.
He cried in Poolesville. He cried in Germantown. He is crying in front of Columbus Day, the 30 percent off on jeans be darned.
With Mr. Regan, a rain dance is redundant. He merely floods the terrain with his tears.
Give Mr. Regan credit. He is not just a little self-absorbed, a little lost, a little out of touch with the nation's flag-waving mood following the horrific attacks of Sept. 11. He is way out there, seemingly oblivious to the staggering events around him.
Most of America is putting aside its petty differences, dropping its pre-Sept. 11 pretenses, defining anew what it means to be an unhyphenated American while immersing itself in the details of this strange, new war against a sick, shadowy enemy.
Mr. Regan is one exception, the anti-war misfits another.
Just say no to Columbus Day.
Just give peace a chance.
Each message, however disparate, comes from the same tank of impudence.
This being the great land that it is, Mr. Regan has the fundamental right to express the inanities of his itty-bitty cause, incongruent though the cause is in the context of America being at war to preserve those rights.
Others have the right to note the increased sense of responsibility that goes with the right. It should not be spent on divisive blather amid the prospect of American troops returning home in body bags.
Mr. Regan's latest appeal was made while Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening, among other officials, was making a highly publicized trip to New York City, the purpose of which was to demonstrate that air travel is safe again.
Not surprisingly, the governor and his people are not paying attention to Mr. Regan and the resolution passed by the Indian commission to abolish Columbus Day. The resolution was a nonstarter before ink was put to it.
The juxtaposition is jarring.
Mr. Regan and the Indian commission are worried about a dead white guy's holiday, while the state of Maryland and the rest of the nation are worried about another terrorist attack.
All kinds of admonishments come to mind: Get your priorities straight. Have some perspective. Take a chill pill. Try drinking decaf.
One other thing: Next Friday, do your patriotic part to help the economy. Find some Columbus Day holiday sales and shop until you drop.

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