Thursday, April 10, 2008

Easy to Forget

It’s easy to forget, given the sensitivities that have been awakened in this country since 9/11, thrusting lifelong citizens under suspicion for having foreign-sounding names and subjecting visitors to the indignity of being fingerprinted, that America was conceived in a spirit of openness, as a land where people could build new identities, grounded in the present and the future, not the past.

Easy to forget if you work for The New York Times (book review section), of course. Easy to forget that you're mistaking your tunnel-vision of the most negative moments in the present years for the entire experience of America today, or that such suspicions and indignities are as old as Ellis Island or North Garrison or the Know-Nothing Party.