In a talk to an Israeli group in July, 2010, [Gingrich super-donor Sheldon] Adelson said he wished he had served in the Israeli Army rather than the U.S. military—and that he hoped his young son would come back to Israel and “be a sniper for the IDF,” a reference to the Israel Defense Forces.
“I am not Israeli. The uniform that I wore in the military, unfortunately, was not an Israeli uniform. It was an American uniform, although my wife was in the IDF and one of my daughters was in the IDF … our two little boys, one of whom will be bar mitzvahed tomorrow, hopefully he’ll come back– his hobby is shooting — and he’ll come back and be a sniper for the IDF,” Adelson said at the event.
It’s one thing to express pride for another country. I’m proud to be Salvadoran-American, and I consider that dot on the map in Central America to be every much a part of who I am as is the United States. As a nation of immigrants, our heritage is every much a part of our American identity as
baseball football and apple pie, no matter how much the xenophobes try to deny it.
However, my respect and pride in El Salvador doesn’t come at a cost. It’s not mutually exclusive with my pride and respect for America.
Republicans have made endless hay of Michelle Obama’s comment, in early 2008, that “for the first time in my adult life, I’m really proud of my country.” It was an awkward sentiment, no doubt, but understandable given the context of the African American experience in this country (not that conservatives will ever acknowledge that).
What we have here, instead, is much worse—the guy who is single-handedly bankrolling Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign, trying to buy the American presidency, is essentially saying he wishes he was the citizen of a foreign country, and that had served that other country instead. It was “unfortunate” that he wore an American uniform, when his American experience—unlike that of most African Americans—has been one of wealth and privilege?
I consider myself fortunate that I had the honor of wearing an American uniform. But then again, I love this country. Maybe Gingrich should spend his time with people who actually appreciate theirs as well.