Friday, May 4, 2012

Heritage of the 2012 Presidential Nominees

As I have said many times before, I read the Smithsonian magazine.  I enjoy it so much, and find its content so valuable, that if I were king I would make it required reading for all high school students.   This month's edition was devoted to travel and included one article each on the roots of the two men who will be running for president this November.

One, President Barack Obama, has had a plethora of articles written on his heritage.  Unfortunately, the majority were unflattering, many focused on the his birth place and the legitimacy of his citizenship.

The other, Mitt Romney, has not garnered much attention.  So, it was a surprise to me to learn that Mr. Romney, like President Obama, is a first generation born American on his father's side.  You see, Mitt's father George was born in Mexico.

Here are the links to each article in this month's Smithsonian.

I do not want to speculate as to why we haven't heard more about Mitt Romney's Mexican roots.   Perhaps there is a discomfort with certain factions of the Republican party that their nominee would have any connection to a country not America and/or a country like Mexico which is perceived as a place from which all the illegals migrate.

I hope that Mr. Romney doesn't share that sentiment.  It seems a shame when Americas feel pressured to deny their heritage.  While certainly Mr. Obama's heritage was used like a sledgehammer to make him seem un-American, I would hope that, should Mr. Romney's heritage become more public, the far left faction of the Democratic party will not resort to the shenanigans and outright lies which were proffered by the far right faction of the Republican party. 

You see, we all came from somewhere else unless we can trace our family heritage to an Indian tribe.  We are all immigrants to America, some more recently than others, but all of us have our roots in a place off shore.  And, while we now proudly declare our citizenship, our joy in being Americans, we should always remember that if not for someone in our past who dared to uproot themselves or their family, if not for someone in our personal history who took the chance to make a better life in a far away land, we might have been born in Italy, Kenya or Mexico.  We won the birth lottery because one of our ancestors made a choice to try America.

And, while on the subject of diversity, I also hope that Mr. Romney's religious affiliation will not be used as a wedge by any faction of the Democratic party, as was done, twice, against President Obama.  Remember Reverend Wright?  All kinds of quotes were aired, especially on conservative radio, which depicted the reverend as a hater of America.  And, all the while, year after year, the president sat in that pew and listened to those diatribes.  Then, when that didn't work, Obama was suddenly a Muslim, not withstanding all those years he spent in Rev Wright's church.

The fact that Mitt Romney believes in the Mormon religion should not be an election topic, subject for debate as to whether that fact qualifies him or disqualifies him from being president.  Until the day he says, my religion is the only true one and should therefore be used as a basis for America's laws, then let's hope we can avoid the craziness that surrounded the president's religious affiliation and make our election day choice on the topics that matter.

Finally, I recently read that 40 years ago, almost half of all political articles were geared towards readers not interested in actual content or serious discussion but in finding a gaffe, or meaningless issue which would provide a point for their "side".  In other words, articles on pretend birth places, what kind of mustard to use on a hot dog, who works harder, stay at home moms or working moms.  This same article then claimed that over 80% of political articles are of that nature now.

So, the next time you hear someone from either side talking about someone's religious belief, heritage, food preferences, patriotic fervor, or any subject not related to a candidate's actual position on the economy, health care, immigration, the deficit, etc, turn them OFF.  If we don't pay attention, eventually, they will stop talking.     

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