With the Eyes of an Immigrant


In the December 24th issue of Newsweek, Fareed Zakaria writes an interesting essay on the power of personality in presidential politics.  While the Republicans are competing for who is most anti-immigrant, Zakaria points out that Barack Obama is able to see America with the eyes of an immigrant. 

Born to a Kenyan father, growing up with an Indonesian step-father, then living in the “multi-cultural swirl of Hawaii,” Obama has a different perspective.  Zakaria points to examples in corporate America, where Vikram Pandit heads Citigroup, Indra Nooyi heads Pepsi; in order to run a global company, you have to have a global perspective.  Why wouldn’t you want that perspective from a person running the world’s only super-power?

3 Responses to “With the Eyes of an Immigrant”

  1. 1 bobbyjones December 20, 2007 at 9:38 am

    When did immigrants change from pilgrims to illegal aliens?

    Artist: Clark Guy
    Song: Immigrant Eyes

    Oh Ellis Island was swarming
    Like a scene from a costume hall
    Decked out in the colors in Europe
    And on fire with the hope of it all
    There stood my father’s own father stood huddled
    With the tired and hungry and scared
    Turn of the century pilgrims
    Bound by the dream that they shared
    They were standing in lines just like cattle
    Poked and prodded and shoved
    Some were one desk away from sweet freedom
    Som were were torn from someone they love
    Through this sprawling tower of babel
    Came a young man confused and alone
    Determined and bound for America
    And carryin’ everything that he owned

    Sometimes when I look in my grandfather’s Immigrant Eyes
    I see that day refelcted and I can’t hold my feelings inside
    I see starting with nothing and working hard all of his life
    So don’t take it for granted say grandfather’s Immigrant Eyes

    Now he rocks and stares out the window
    But his eyes are still just as clear
    As the day he sailed through the harbor
    And come ashore on the island of tears
    My grandfather’s days are numbered
    But I won’ t let his memory die
    ‘Cause he gave me the gift of this country
    And the look in his Immigrant Eyes

  2. 2 bobbyjones January 28, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Caroline Kennedy says Obama is like her father:

    January 27, 2008
    Op-Ed Contributor
    A President Like My Father
    OVER the years, I’ve been deeply moved by the people who’ve told me they wished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people did when my father was president. This sense is even more profound today. That is why I am supporting a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama.

    My reasons are patriotic, political and personal, and the three are intertwined. All my life, people have told me that my father changed their lives, that they got involved in public service or politics because he asked them to. And the generation he inspired has passed that spirit on to its children. I meet young people who were born long after John F. Kennedy was president, yet who ask me how to live out his ideals.

    Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals and imagine that together we can do great things. In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what we know is possible.

    We have that kind of opportunity with Senator Obama. It isn’t that the other candidates are not experienced or knowledgeable. But this year, that may not be enough. We need a change in the leadership of this country — just as we did in 1960.

    Most of us would prefer to base our voting decision on policy differences. However, the candidates’ goals are similar. They have all laid out detailed plans on everything from strengthening our middle class to investing in early childhood education. So qualities of leadership, character and judgment play a larger role than usual.

    Senator Obama has demonstrated these qualities throughout his more than two decades of public service, not just in the United States Senate but in Illinois, where he helped turn around struggling communities, taught constitutional law and was an elected state official for eight years. And Senator Obama is showing the same qualities today. He has built a movement that is changing the face of politics in this country, and he has demonstrated a special gift for inspiring young people — known for a willingness to volunteer, but an aversion to politics — to become engaged in the political process.

    I have spent the past five years working in the New York City public schools and have three teenage children of my own. There is a generation coming of age that is hopeful, hard-working, innovative and imaginative. But too many of them are also hopeless, defeated and disengaged. As parents, we have a responsibility to help our children to believe in themselves and in their power to shape their future. Senator Obama is inspiring my children, my parents’ grandchildren, with that sense of possibility.

    Senator Obama is running a dignified and honest campaign. He has spoken eloquently about the role of faith in his life, and opened a window into his character in two compelling books. And when it comes to judgment, Barack Obama made the right call on the most important issue of our time by opposing the war in Iraq from the beginning.

    I want a president who understands that his responsibility is to articulate a vision and encourage others to achieve it; who holds himself, and those around him, to the highest ethical standards; who appeals to the hopes of those who still believe in the American Dream, and those around the world who still believe in the American ideal; and who can lift our spirits, and make us believe again that our country needs every one of us to get involved.

    I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.

    Caroline Kennedy is the author of “A Patriot’s Handbook: Songs, Poems, Stories and Speeches Celebrating the Land We Love.”

  1. 1 A Caucus-Race and a Long Tale « Broken Spines Trackback on January 28, 2008 at 10:45 am

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