Perry Green, the Manchester GOP chairman, in the Dec. 11 Rutland Herald, takes a cheap shot at Michelle Obama without naming her. He criticizes statements she made more than four years ago at a naturalization ceremony for 50 new citizens.
Green takes issue with Obama’s statement that none of the signers of the Declaration of Independence “were born American.” In doing so, Green implies Obama is ignorant as to where the signers were born.
What Green ignores is the obvious fact that when the signers of the Declaration were born, there was no United States of America. “American” as an expression of nationality, rather than geography, was not used because the country did not exist. It is likely that most of the signers would first have identified themselves as coming from one of 13 British colonies, and so, a Virginian, a Marylander, etc., subjects of the British Empire.
Obama went on to tell the new U.S. citizens, “Just like you’re about to pledge allegiance to our flag, they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to this extraordinary idea that we now know as America — the notion that we are all created equal, endowed with fundamental rights and freedoms that no one can ever take away from us. People come from across the globe to see these documents, to read the names and signatures of the very first Americans-by-choice, because they know that this room holds the first chapter of our shared history.”
Why would any thoughtful American take issue with these words?