A reader writes:
I live in suburban Kansas City, hardly the most dynamic social/religious/racial melting pot, but a pretty tolerant place nonetheless. Yesterday, I read to my daughter’s third grade class, and afterwards, I answered questions about my career as a writer. The teacher asked if there were a person I’d like to write a book about, and I told of a very successful Japanese-American man I know who came of age during World War II, enduring all sorts of unpleasantness because America was at war with his ancestral home. One of my daughter’s classmates is the son of two Iraqi immigrants, and he’s the sweetest, most engaging kid. Without any sense of self-pity, he said “I think I understand how that man felt.”
Last night, I was back at school as the third graders saluted America in song, and that same boy was on stage singing his heart out. During the same program, a Muslim girl born in Turkey played the part of the Statue of Liberty and gave the “tired, poor, huddled masses” speech. Her mother, a naturalized citizen, was in tears. That boy, that girl and that mom love America. They are Americans, and they are patriots. And any line of thought that tries to marginalize them is as un-American a thing as I can imagine.