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The Expansionist
Friday, October 10, 2008
Black, American, and Proud. Barack Obama has avoided the whole race issue, saying only that his opponents would use race in this campaign (but he would not). It's time for Obama to address the race issue head-on.
It's time for him to point out that blacks comprise a disproportionately large part of the military fiting to defend us, and are fiercely proud of this country, despite not having been treated very well by it. He should point out that essentially all the traitors who have been caught spying for our enemies have been straight white men, while blacks and homosexuals have stayed faithful. Obama needs to say something like this.
We, the minorities, the newcomers, are the true believers, the keepers of the flame. We haven't hedged our bets and taken a second passport to evacuate if things get bad here. Tho many racists have told us to "go back to Africa", we haven't. And you know why? Because we're not Africans. Sure, we know our ancestors — in my case, my own father, not great-great-grandfather — came from Africa. (My mother's from Kansas, but that's not what seems to interest some people.) And you know what? He did go back to Africa, and I have relatives there. But I'm American, not Kenyan. I have visited Africa and take pride in my Kenyan culture, but I came right back, because I am not Kenyan. Irish-Americans visit Ireland, but they come right back. Mexican-Americans visit Mexico, but come right back. We are AMERICANS, and we will NOT PERMIT anyone to take our citizenship, nor our identity AS Americans, away. You have a problem with people of different groups, be they ethnic or sexual minorities, being absolutely as American as you are? That's un-American!

We are the Melting Pot, remember? That means that we pool our cultures and create something new and, hopefully, better from the blend than any individual component in that mix.

What would the United States be without blacks? A pale imitation of Europe, that's what. Oompahpah bands and violins. That's not the United States. The music of the United States, which has swept the world, isn't white music, but it isn't black music either. It's American music, black, white, Hispanic; the rhythms of Africa and instruments of Europe, with, recently, an admixture of salsa, merengue, and now tiny bits of mariachi and Peruvian Indian music. It is the energy, and anger, of the ghetto and the aspirational essence of gospel. Negro spirituals and jazz. Country and western and Broadway show tunes coexisting with hiphop, and influencing one another. That's America.

Take away all the black influences, and what is left? A bland, 'pale' culture with none of the vitality of the culture that's in our bones and in our hearts. When Stevie Wonder sings his "Songs in the Key of Life", or Diana Ross sings "Ain't No Mountain High Enuf", they aren't singing to blacks alone. They're singing to Americans, and the world, from the heart of our culture. Africa is as much at the center of our civilization as is Europe. Now Asians and Latin Americans are adding their strands to our shared culture, and every year American musical and visual culture becomes richer for the contributions of people some Americans insist on seeing as outsiders. But we're not outsiders. You are not more American than I am. I am not more American than you are. We're equal, and equally proud. You should be proud that I am as proud to be American as you are.

Whether an American's name is Barack Hussein — yes, Hussein, like the late King Hussein of Jordan, a great and important ally of the United States in the Middle East — Obama or María Camacho de Uribe or Sanjay Gupta or Lee Huang Ho or João Pereira da Silva, we are Americans, and we won't let you say we aren't. Our ancestors may have come from Kenya, Mexico, India, China, or Brazil, but we are just as American as people whose ancestors came from England, Ireland, Germany, France, and Russia. You should be glad that we want in, not out. Aren't you proud of our diversity? We are.

There's a lot of work to be done, inside the United States and out. We've got an economy to fix, neighborhoods to rebuild, infrastructure to repair, schools to revamp. In the world, we've got rainforests and reefs to protect, tropical diseases to fite (some of which can come here thru international air travel), sanitation systems and hospitals to build across the Third World. And yes, we've got terrorism to fite, in important part by changing the perception of the United States as a bunch of vicious bigots who deserve destruction. We're here to help, and you are definitely going to need our help.

Millions of Americans and future Americans now accumulating the necessary years of residency to apply for citizenship, extend their hand and offer their strong arms, backs, and minds in making this country everything it's supposed to be. Accept our offer. Extend your hand. Let's work together for a better Nation, and a better world.
Or words to that effect.
(The current U.S. military death toll in Iraq, according to the website "Iraq Coalition Casualties", is 4,180 — for Israel.)

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