As keynote commencement speaker, New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr."apologized" to graduates at the State University of New York at New Paltz on Sunday for the failure of his generation to stop the Iraq War and to sufficiently promote "fundamental human rights" like abortion, immigration, and gay marriage.
Paul Kirby of Kingston's Daily Freeman quoted from Sulzberger's address, which he began with a facetious "apology" to the class for being part of the generation that let them down due to insufficient liberal activism.
"'I will start with an apology,' Sulzberger told the graduates, who wore black gowns and hats with yellow tassels. 'When I graduated in 1974, my fellow students and I ended the Vietnam War and ousted President Nixon. OK. OK. That's not quite true. Maybe there were larger forces at play.'"
He went on to lament that his generation "had seen the horror and futility of war and smelled the stench of government corruption. Our children, we vowed, would never know that. So, well, I am sorry."
Some more from Sulzberger: "It wasn't supposed to be this way. You weren't supposed to be graduating in an America fighting a misbegotten war in a foreign land. You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where we are still fighting for fundamental human rights, be it the rights of immigrants to start a new life, the right of gays to marry or the rights of women to choose."
Kirby reported: "Sulzberger added the graduates weren't supposed to be let into a world 'where oil still drives policy and environmentalists have to relentlessly fight for every gain. You weren't. But you are and I am sorry for that.'"
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