Listen to the Mockingbird

I have read that “Sununu”, in Arabic, means “little bird.” Hard to resist punning on that. John Sununu, on July 17, in a Fox interview, is quoted saying about Obama, “He has no idea how the American system functions, and we shouldn’t be surprised about that, because he spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something, spent the next set of years in Indonesia, another set of years in Indonesia, and, frankly, when he came to the U.S., he worked as a community organizer, which is a socialized structure, and then got into politics in Chicago.” Read more: And later went on to say “I wish this President would learn how to be an American.” Presumably the first step would be staying away from Hawaii and Chicago, and maybe also politics?

So, let’s see, it doesn’t even matter whether Obama can produce a valid Hawaii birth certificate because Hawaii isn’t really American anyway (so why are the birthers wasting our time, and their own?) and neither is Chicago. (What? Okay, Indonesia really isn’t the US, but so what? Romney’s family spent a couple of generations in Mexico to evade prosecution for polygamy, but nobody is sideswiping him with any Frito Bandito labels.) Being a community organizer is a “socialized structure” (socialized? As in “people getting along with each other”? I think the organization he worked for was established under Section 501 ( c) (3) of the US Internal Revenue Code, which is about as unsocialist as you can get. Can’t imagine what else he could mean by “socialized.” Never thought I would be accusing myself of lack of imagination when examining American politics.)

Sununu did later apologize for “using those words,” though not with any degree of specificity. We don’t really know which words he was apologizing for—the slurs on the Americanness of Hawaii and Chicago, which could conceivably lose Romney a lot of votes in those places, and among people with family from those places? The evocation of bizarre images of the infant Obama smoking “something” in his cradle? The impolitic slur on Indonesia, which does after all have a history of authoritarian anti-communist government and a good deal of oil under its territory, both things “real Americans” tend to like? The mind reels.

And above all, what does it really mean to be an American, and how does one learn it? Watch this space.

Red Emma

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