Give me your tired, your hungry, your Mebs

This article, by CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell, claims that Meb Keflizighi’s win at the New York City marathon on Sunday doesn’t really count as a victory for the USA because Meb was born in Eritrea.

That’s the most un-American thing I’ve ever heard. Rovell writes:

Meb Keflezighi, who won yesterday in New York, is technically American by virtue of him becoming a citizen in 1998, but the fact that he’s not American-born takes away from the magnitude of the achievement the headline implies.

Given our disappointing results, embracing Keflezighi is understandable. But Keflezighi’s country of origin is Eritrea, a small country in Africa. He is an American citizen thanks to taking a test and living in our country.

Nothing against Keflezighi, but he’s like a ringer who you hire to work a couple hours at your office so that you can win the executive softball league.

This is just piffle.

There is a strong argument to be made that immigrants are in fact the most American of us all, having made the decision to leave the land of their birth and come to these shores. A steady flow of self-selected, self-starters has given this country a spark that few others can ever hope to match. 

Just consider this partial list of foreign-born Americans: Madeleine Albright, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Maxim Shostakovich, I.M. Pei, Desi Arnaz, Monica Seles, Elie Wiesel, P. G. Wodehouse, Sergey Brin, Alexander Hamilton, and my favorite recently naturalized American, the big fella’, Liam Neeson.

So God bless Meb Keflizighi, and all those like him. You’re welcome any time.

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