TUESDAY MORNING EDITORIAL — The headlines Monday about the Boston Marathon were all about two things: how Boston remains strong and refused to give in to fear; and about the winner of the men’s race being an American.
Almost 36,000 people, including a lot of Canadians, ran this year’s marathon. There was at least one runner from Kamloops. It was a thing to celebrate. And yet, behind the triumphant headlines was a current of the same old intolerance and disaffection that gives birth to the kind of tragedy that occurred last year.
The winner, you see, was a man named Meb Keflezighi. To the credit of the media, his victory was reported as an American crossing the finish line ahead of the pack for the first time since 1983.
But scan the tweets, and it was a different story. Who is Meb Keflezighi? Doesn’t sound American. Why do Africans win so many marathons? Why aren’t there more white marathon champions?
“Does every post here have to be epic in its racism?” one frustrated tweeter asked.
And then, of course, there were the recriminations about American foreign policy. And then the counter comments started coming. The ones of the “if you don’t like it here why don’t you go live somewhere else” kind.
And what about Meb Keflezighi? He and his family fled Ethiopia for the U.S. in 1987 when he was 12. He began running in high school and continued in university. In 1998, the year he graduated from UCLA, he became an American citizen.
Meb Keflezighi represents the American dream. It’s a shame some of his countrymen don’t get that.