America is a nation of losers. It's the best thing about us. We're the dregs, what the rest of the world barfed up and threw on our shores.
John Kennedy said we are "a nation of immigrants." That's the sanitized phrase. We are, in fact, a nation of refugees who, despite the bastards in white sheets and the know-nothings in Congress, have held open the Golden Door to a dark planet.
Looking out at the temptest-tossed sea of protesting immigrants today, I finally figured out what's wrong with George Walker Bush. He's so far away from his refugee loser roots that he just doesn't get what it is to be American. So he steals the one thing that every American is handed off the boat: a chance. It's not just the immigrants denied a green card. When Bush threatens to take away your Social Security; when Bush's oil wars hike the price of crude and threaten your union-scale job at the airline; when Bush tells you sleeper cells are sleeping under your staircase, you don't take chances anymore -- you lose your chance -- and the land of opportunity becomes a landscape of fear, an armed madhouse.
And that's why he lost the election. Twice.
I'll stick with the losers. Take one, Anna, from Poland, who snuck across the US border near Windsor, Ontario. She was grabbed by La Migra -- 80 years later -- just short of her 100th birthday.
Grandma Anna taught me what two million marchers this week are trying to teach that slow learner, George W.: In America, it's not where you come from that counts, it's where you're going.
Greg Palast is the author of Armed Madhouse: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War, to be released in June, from which this commentary is adapted. To view Palast's investigative reports for BBC Television and to pre-order Armed Madhouse go to www.GregPalast.com