I listened to an interview broadcast by CBC Radio One the morning of August 25, 2008 (the eve of the US Democratic National Convention in Denver) in which two American guest speakers were debating whether US voters would likely elect someone with a strong "root" in the American heartland. The issue is raised because Mr. McCain was born in the then US-controlled Panama Canal Zone and Mr. Obama, in the State of Hawaii (not continental USA). Both presidential candidates spent much of their formulating years living or working in different cities. To me, this is positive as travelling often helps broaden a person's horizon.
However, this mobility was considered as "rootless" by one of the speakers who went as far as saying that only people who have lived and stayed in one place would have the appreciation of and loyalty to the people and land that they seek to govern. The statement strikes me as odd. In these days and age, any leader of a powerful country that worth his/her grain of salt must have demonstrated international experience, not just those gained academically or through the internet, but rather hands-on, nuts-and-bolts, field operation types of experience. In fact, I shudder at the thought of the President of the United States making foreign policy statements and decisions in a personal vacuum, without an intimate understanding of how they would affect the country and the rest of the world. To this end, I am glad to learn that both Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain did have a chance to live outside of the American heartland. Let's hope that whoever is elected will not just have loyalty to the people and land of the United States, but also a good appreciation of the world of which the US is a part.