For the last couple of years I've sneered at liberal Chris Matthews and his famous tingle. But now I take it all back.
Needless to say, my tingle--and yes, it was in my leg--had nothing to do with President Obama. It came at the end of an American Spectator blog by Ben Stein. It had to do with the comments of his Hispanic gas station attendant.
"We have to wake up," he said. "Those people want to hurt us. Then they want to build a mosque. Why? To hurt us more? And how come Obama always takes the side of the people who hate us? Isn't this his country, too? What's wrong with him? Doesn't he know he's an American? Or what is he? This country has to wake up and get rid of Obama."
I nodded. "I agree," I said.
The man shook his head. "This country has to wake up," he said again. "We elected Obama. We made a big mistake. Now we have to fix it. Stop him, then get someone else in there. Someone who is an American. Someone who works for us, not our enemies."
Tingly stuff, I'd say. Because it tells a very big truth about America and American history.
At some point every immigrant stops thinking of himself as a helpless victim oppressed by a big bad America. He stops hugging the side of the swimming pool in the shallow end with all the liberal swimming instructors and strikes out into the deep end. He finds out the amazing, almost unbelievable truth about America. He belongs. He finds himself thinking of himself as a non-hyphenated American. He starts talking about "we." He finds, out there in the deep end, that when he gets into trouble and asks for help, Americans will come and help.
Perhaps he plucks up his courage and goes to a Tea Party--where all those racist whites hang out. And he finds out that he's welcome, that the sharp-faced middle-aged white women are pathetically grateful to see him there.
He finds out that everything the liberals told him is a lie, that all those awful racists and bigots of which he's heard tell are just folks.
Maybe he even gets a tingle running up his leg.