What can baseball and Babe Ruth tell us about American exceptionalism? Well, if you're Bob Costas spinning yarns, apparently quite a bit.
Here's Costas at the beginning of the 4th episode of Ken Burns' epic Baseball.
You give me Babe Ruth over any king who has ever sat on a throne and I'll be happy with that trade.
And we're sure that any General Manager who has ever sat in a front office would be quite OK with that trade also.
Seriously, how cool was that?
Americans are not a race but rather a people bound by ideas. Ideas that reject royalty and embrace meritocracy. Ideas of the sort that we will not be governed by any man, no matter his lineage or stature, except by our consent. No consent? There's the door, pal.
Babe Ruth: the living embodiment of this country during the Roaring 20s was also the living embodiment of some other uniquely American ideas: that of (larger than) life, liberty (who said baseball players could only hit 10 homeruns a season?) and the pursuit of happiness ('cause who had more fun than The Babe?)
Tangentially related: An acquaintance of ours, a chap named Mark moved here from England in the early 80s to go to school and make his life and fortune. He became naturalized, met and married his wife, raised his family and has never left. He loves his adoptive country. He loves America, he's passionate about it and we love naturalized citizens like Mark who love this country. One day he asked us with a mild degree of indignation: "If I wanted to be President, I couldn't. Why is that? " We were speechless. Literally. Since nothing remotely resembling a rational justification was coming to mind, other than some well-intended, at the time, nativist impulses, we simply shrugged and shook our head.
This story wasn't even the main point of the post and, obviously, we've got far bigger things to worry about currently but as a parlor exercise, is it time (when that time comes) to re-visit that foreign-born restriction in the Constitution? We think it may be. Your thoughts and comments, as always, are welcome.