I discover the Social Security Admin. didn’t know I’m a citizen

I recently had to go see the Social Security Administration. I am approaching 65 and I had to deal with the technicalities of Medicare. I tried it online first but I ran into a problem: One of the security questions asked me to pick the one street I had never lived on and two were listed. That’s a sign of a problem but they weren’t worried about that at SSA because they didn’t need security questions when they had a photo ID and a birth certificate.

I just got a note in the main from them. They want to send me a new SS card for some reason, and the letter informing me of this had a handwritten note on it that started:

”We corrected your birth info in our system to prove you are a US citizen.”

Why the confusion? My birthplace. I wasn’t born in the continental US (or Hawaii). My father was in the Army (ours) and, where he was stationed, my American mother was able to follow him. Where they were was the Panama Canal Zone, and I was born there a little over three months before they returned home to New York City. Years ago I think this would have been recognizable to people in the US Government as an American location but we gave the Zone back to Panama many years ago, so now it’s just viewed as a foreign country.

I find the confusion interesting for a political reason. All this time that people were worried about whether Barack Obama, born in Hawaii, was American-born, no one raised the issue about his opponent in 2008. Like me, John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone of American parents with a father in the Service. (He had a grandfather who was also in the service, as an Admiral.)

This was not an issue in 2008. My question is whether it would have been an issue had McCain run as a Democrat. Would Fox News have been talking about Panamanian gunboats on the Potomac?

I suppose a second question is also in order here: Would this have been an issue if McCain had been Black? This is all hypothetical, of course. A third variable would be if his full name were John Hussein McCain. Would have had a nice ring to it.

Oddly, I think his being a Democrat would have been enough. I base that guess on how the Republicans treated Bill Clinton while he was in office. They didn’t treat him  as badly as they treated Barack Obama, in spite of having more reasons to treat Clinton that way, but the difference notwithstanding, I think the similarities are enough to indicate that Republicans would have raised it as an issue.

 

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