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April 21, 2014 / jeffnward

Meb Keflezighi ain’t your typical American

Oh lord, we are such a vain people! We only care about terrorist attacks if an American dies, we only care about aviation disasters if an American was on the plane, and we only care about international sporting events if an American wins.

Apparently, we’re predictable too!

So when Meb Keflezighi (pronounced ka-flez-ghee) won the Boston Marathon today, journalists everywhere were waving the figurative red, white and blue foam finger because it was the first time an American male had won that race since 1983.

I can just hear the chants now. USA! USA! USA!  _ELA8288.JPG

Not so fast!

Keflezighi, a real inspiration to me and one of my absolute favorite runners, happened to be born in Eritrea, a region of Ethiopia regarded for producing world class runners. Back in 1981, his father, Russom, was a prominent member of the Eritrean Liberation Front, a group some folks called a terrorist organization. On the verge of being captured and likely executed, Russom fled to Italy bringing his family there later.

In 1987, under Ronald Reagan’s liberal immigration policies, the Keflezghis came to California as refugees and Meb ended up running for San Diego High School and UCLA. He became a naturalized citizen in 1998 and, on April 21, 2014, Meb won the most coveted running prize on the planet.

Tell me, do you really think he could enjoy that kind of political good fortune today?

Not on your bleepin’ life.

3 Comments

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  1. The other Jeff N / Apr 21 2014 5:30 pm

    But isn’t that what America is all about? Aren’t we really all immigrants (include the “Native Americans”)? In fact, if you track it back far enough we’re all Africans.

    BTW my daughter-in-law ran it today in 3:09:29. Not bad for a 29 y.o. I couldn’t even drive it that fast.

  2. jeffnward / Apr 21 2014 5:40 pm

    Jeff,

    Yes! That’s exactly my point. Meb is exactly where we all came from. He escaped persecution to a better life.

    But with today’s hard right dominating the conversation, it can’t happen any more. And, of course the, irony is that Meb came here during conservative icon Ronald Reagan’s tenure.

    And you’re daughter did a hell of a job. Saddled with this sprinter’s body, I don’t think I could ever do that well.

    Jeff

    • The other Jeff N / Apr 22 2014 1:48 pm

      Yes, isn’t that ironic. The conservative lets Meb in, while the Republicans now won’t pass anything on immigration reform because they “can’t trust” Obama to enforce the law. The guy whose administration has deported more illegal immigrants than any administration in recent history.

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