I welcome Elizabeth Warren's entrance into the race.
But this paragraph of the recent WP story bugs me:
It made no mention of a recent Warren stumble: her October decision to release results of a DNA test that said she probably had a distant Native American ancestor. The move had been meant to stifle Trump’s criticism of her but only engendered more mockery from him while also angering Democrats, particularly minorities who objected to her defining ethnicity via a test.
I saw that video and saw nothing wrong with it. Trump and the Trumpers will always
mock; that's what they do. They are trolls and bullies by nature.
The comment about "defining ethnicity via a test" pisses me off. For years, years, people have screamed at Warren: "You say you had a Native American ancestor? Prove it!" Yet when she does
prove it, everyone shouts: "How dare you use SCIENCE to determine FACT?"
That's the point when we children of the '70s shout back: "Catch-22!"
(Do younger people know what "Catch-22" means? They ought to.)
I have a personal interest in this controversy. The same thing might have happened to me, had I ever chosen to run for office.
My father -- who died when I was young -- refused to talk about his ancestry, even though such discussions were common back in the day. "I'm American!
" he'd snarl in a tone of voice that commanded inquirers to drop the subject.
Eventually, my mom had a chance to discuss the issue with his
mom, who recounted an amazingly complex and convoluted story which my mom could not recall in detail. Apparently, the family tree has roots twining through every single country in Europe. The mix includes one Jew and one American Indian.
(That was the term used in the 1960s. Which tribe
, you ask? Mom never told me. Dad's family settled in Ohio, so perhaps the Shawnee.)
After Dad died, I usually identified myself as Eye-talian, because Mom's people came from Italy, and because my hero was Leonardo da Vinci. Italy is the land of great painters, great food, and Sophia Loren
, I was told. Nobody on her side of the family liked to talk about Mussolini or the mafia.
But whenever friends entered into a detailed
discussion of ethnic heritage, I related what little I knew about my father. Toward the end, I would say: "There's even an Indian in there somewhere."
It never occurred to me to question the idea. Not until the Elizabeth Warren controversy cropped up.
But once that controversy took hold, I had to ask myself: How can you be certain?
Grandma Pearl was a bit eccentric. Not crazy, but a true character. As I distinctly recall, she was the kind of woman who treated pillowfighting as if it were an Olympic event. She may
have been an untrustworthy narrator.
So let's say that Elizabeth Warren's DNA test had turned out differently. Let's say that her only "crime" was believing her own family's version of Grandma Pearl. So what? Should Warren be disqualified from the presidency on that basis?