Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Almost every day a Republican hopeful is quoted saying something completely off the wall. As much as I regret having to name names, Newt Gingrich's antics are getting more absurd and insulting as his popularity grows. Calling Palestinians an "invented people" may be popular among some far-right types, but it is ignorant and insensitive. If he wants to call Palestinians "invented people" he needs to take a closer look at his own homeland. The United States of America is an "invented nation" filled with an "invented people." With the exception of a very few appallingly treated natives, Americans all come from immigrant ancestors. Some of mine came from the British Isles in the 17th and 18th centuries and others arrived in the late 19th century from Norway. Colonists were forced to defend their declaration of independence from Great Britain in both the 18th and 19th centuries. Next year will be the bicentennial of the War of 1812! If a hurricane had not hit the Eastern Seaboard during the burning of Washington, we might still be under British rule. I also believe that the hundreds of thousands of Africans who were dragged away from their families and homelands to be enslaved by the newly invented Americans deserve credit for building our early economy. Their forced sacrifice made the new Americans wealthy enough to think about expanding into the west and north of their newly invented country. Immigrants from Europe and Asia helped build the railroads, highways and other infrastructures most of us now take for granted. Truthfully, it seems to always be the recent immigrants who do the dirty work and hard lifting that keep the rest of us comfortable and well-fed. Still, they dream of joining American Society. Changing the subject slightly, there is often talk about creating new museums in D.C. to honor the contributions made by immigrant groups. I shudder to think how the Mall would look with massive buildings, each dedicated to displaying and explaining the contributions made by Italian-Americans, German-Americans, Lithuanian-Americans, Chilean-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Turkish-Americans, French-Americans, Swedish-Americans, and on and on. The U.S. is filled with proud Americans who embrace and remember their ancestral heritages. Whether religious or cultural, all of us are rightly proud of those wo came before us. Americans are an invented people. Palestinians may also be an invented people, and they have more right to claim their identity than we do because they have existed in Palestine far longer than America has been a nation. So. . . think again, Newt.