If you ever wonder if a degree in politicial science is a worthwhile endeavor, consider that, while it may be a fast track to a byline on the Washington Post editorial page, it does not guarantee that you’ll be viewed as anything resembling “intelligent.”
I say this only because the Post carried an opinion editorial yesterday penned by a well-known professor of political science, on the subject of Bobby Jindal’s past. The op-ed was, ostensibly, designed to discuss Bobby Jindal’s appeal as the child of immigrants, and whether that could resonate with target demographics in comparison to, say, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, for whom the immigrant experience is tangible in their campaign platforms. The professor’s conclusion – and the Posts promotional question: Bobby Jindal is totally not Indian American anymore.
As a child, he announced he wanted to go by the name “Bobby,” after a character in the “Brady Bunch.” He converted from Hinduism to Christianity as a teen, and was later baptized a Catholic as a student at Brown University — making his devotion to Christianity a centerpiece of his public life. He and his wife were quick to say in a “60 Minutes” interview in 2009 that they do not observe many Indian traditions — although they had two wedding ceremonies, one Hindu and one Catholic. He said recently he wants to be known simply as an American, not an Indian American….“My mom was fully committed to raising us as Americans,” Jindal said. “That was a conscious decision. We ate food that would be familiar to other families in south Louisiana. She wanted to raise us like other kids in the neighborhood.”
He began wearing cowboy boots more often [as governor] and got a hunting license. In December, he and wife Supriya were pictured on their Christmas card with their three kids decked out in camouflage. The governor said he started hunting regularly more recently in life and can’t recall much about his first kill.
I grew up in an Italian-American family that celebrated Thanksgiving, too, with a weirdly Italian turkey marinated in Italian spices and accompanied by cold, soggy vegetables, as was our traditional custom. Over the years, the celebration became more “Americanized,” but the extended family, only a half-century off the boat, tried their best to incorporate elements of the Italian experience into their life in America. It’s pretty much the American way – adding your own flavor to the melting pot. Abandoning certan elements of your heritage to carve out your own individual existence doesn’t make you a traitor to your race, it makes you pretty, well, American.
This is new and uncharted territory, of course, for liberal commenters. With a lily-white field of Democratic nominees, there has to be some litmus test to drag down the multicultural spread on the Republican side. Why not set bizarre and subjective double standards for them to live up to regarding their American experience? That’ll certainly serve everyone well, while not hurting our crop of candidates, since the most experience any of them have with American multi-culturalism generally – and Indian culture specifically – is that time Hillary Clinton’s staff accidentally ordered takeout Chicken Tikka Malsala for the whole office.
Nice try, though.