What is America?

Senator Hillary Clinton and Sentor Barack Obama
Senator Hillary Clinton and Sentor Barack Obama

We’ve been waiting for something like this to come out.  If this is as good as it gets, then we’re in for a treat.  But I doubt America as a whole will be taking any indulgence in the war of words between our political leaders.  Maybe it’s just not our political leaders.  Like it or not, they do represent the thoughts of millions.

Not to beat around, but this time what I’m specifically referring to is a memo that Atlantic Magazine has gotten a hold of.  It’s a March 2007 writing of former Clinton campaign chief strategist Mark Penn, that he suggested she bring in to the campaign against rival Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination.  The memo set out to challenge the “American roots” of Obama, who did have a different background and upbringing than some other Americans.  The memo had things of, “all of these articles about his boyhood in Indonesia and his life in Hawaii are geared toward showing his background is diverse, multicultural and putting that in a new light.  Save it for 2050.”  It continued, “it also exposes a very strong weakness for him — his roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited.”

Let me go ahead and save you the trouble and get this next phrase out of the way…OH MY GOD!  Let me preface this by saying, thankfully Senator Clinton did not choose this direction of her campaign and eventually chief strategist Penn was let go (for other reasons).  Even still, let’s look at what was suggested.  What do you think was meant when Penn commented on Obama’s basic American values and culture in saying that they were limited?  Because Obama was raised in Indonesia and Hawaii he doesn’t have what it takes as far as basic American values and culture?  Or maybe because of which, makes him less of an American than you or I?  Well here’s another question, what are basic American values?  Well, I can think of ten of them right off the top of my head.  They’re in the Constitution, at the head of the Amendments section.  So Penn’s accusation of Senator Obama of being, “not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking,” would ring true if Senator Obama knew nothing of those first basic ten.  But maybe Penn meant that Obama doesn’t share the same idea’s, customs, or institutions as other Americans.  Regardless, that’s a powerful accusation.  He might as well tell him he’s not American.  Oh wait, here’s one he can use; he was raised by a mother who’s white, so now his ability of being African-American comes in to question too.

Not for nothin’, even though this was a “lone gunman” saying this, I wouldn’t be surprised at the number of people in our nation who actually feel that way.  There are a lot of people in this country.  Many of them may not like our Democratic nominee for a number of reasons.  He wants to raise taxes, his healthcare plan, he’s too liberal, he’s too inexperienced, he’s black, he’s too black, he’s not black enough, he’s not attractive, he’s long-winded, he’s just good rhetoric and nothing else, he’s this, he’s that.  That bottom-line is, you do not have to vote for him for whatever reason you see as valid.  It is your opinion to voice and that’s likely one of our most basic American values.

Click here to view the article from the Atlantic Magazine.

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