Should Teresa be speaking?

All the banter about "should Teresa Heinz Kerry speak her mind or not"  (as if we lived in the Hunan Province) seems to be clouding a bigger fear Americans might have:  when Teresa speaks, she speaks with an accent.

And it's not American.

Should Teresa Heinz Kerry be speaking?

Teresa Heinz Kerry is from Mozambique in Africa.  Which is a Portuguese-speaking country (scary!).  Which means her native tongue is not English (scary!).  She also grew up in South Africa (scary!). She also lived and worked in Geneva, Switzerland (double scary!).  She was not poor.  And then Teresa Heinz Kerry married a rich American and came to our country to live.  She knows the American story, that of the immigrant assimilating in the New World, firsthand. 

Is anyone willing to publicly say that they simply do not like her because she is...insofar as the post of First Lady is concerned...unsuitable to represent us, as Americans? 

Every single political news article I read seems to address the "Teresa Factor."  This, despite that she has stated to the media that for the post of First Lady, Laura Bush is her role model.  Have we forgotten the outspoken Nancy Reagan?  Nancy on a Bad Day to Raisa Gorbachov, wife of then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachov, in front of cameras:  "Oh yesssss.....Nyet!  I know that word!! I know what that means! Hmph!"  [scowl]
I honestly believe the "struggle" about the "Teresa Factor" is about her American-ness.  Or lack of it.   Because the irony of ironies in the land of the Melting Pot, Venti size, is that we Americans are - - xenophobes.

This year, the oldest royal family in Europe, the Crown of Denmark, a Bigger Deal than Principality of Monaco, accepted a foreigner into its fold.  An Australian woman, Mary Donaldson, for whom Danish was not a native language, married Crown Prince Frederick.  Thousands upon thousands of public bystanders were handed Danish and Australian flags to watch the royal wedding procession. 

Danish and Australian flags.  In equal numbers.

If our issue with Teresa Heinz Kerry is the fact that her native language is Portuguese, that she is from Africa, that she has not been an American long enough, what, then, is the flag we carry?

My own politics aside, I personally would like to see a samba* in the White House one day.  I hope it will be soon.

*Samba is a dance of Brazil, another Portuguese-speaking country.  Some samba songs reference Mozambique.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love reading your blog! Personally, I would love to have a samba in the White House as long as it's not Teresa Heinz Kerry! I enjoy her energy but I dread her husband's politics.