29 November 2006

My Nomination for the 2006 Campaign's Most Amazing Moment

At one point during his campaign, Arnold Schwarzenegger was standing in Chinatown in LA, surrounded by the delightful buildings and sights made to look like China. Arnold - the Austrian immigrant who thinks he governs a place called Callie-forn-ya. And he says, The key to success as an immigrant is to assimilate.

Rather than comment, I will resort to another quote, this one by Bill Moyers, from an interview he did for Salon in April of 2003.

"I just did a six-hour series, five years in the making, on the Chinese in America. I thought the timing would be unfortunate, but it turned out to be fortuitous. This is the first series I've ever done, in 30 years, in which I actually found the answer to the question that provoked me to do it. I wanted to find out what the Chinese had to say about becoming American, about the American dream.

"One woman I interviewed, out of the dozens of people I spoke with while making that series, explained it all to me. She began to talk to me about eating chicken feet. You've seen chicken feet in Chinese restaurants, right?"

"Yeah. They're terrifying."

"Well, yes, they're ugly, they don't look particularly nutritious, people are squeamish about them. She said to me, 'As an American, I can eat chicken feet. But I don't have to eat chicken feet. I can turn around and eat at McDonald's and nobody questions me.' I said to her, 'What the hell does that have to do with the American dream?' She says, 'That is the American dream! That I can compose my own life. That I can invent who I want to be.'

"We are creating a new American identity, and to take our identity as being opposed to the world, instead of being of the world, is the greatest mistake that George W. Bush has made."

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