By Peter d'Errico
In the midst of the conversation, Robinson referred to hearing people in America saying, "The system is failing." Obama responded: "That's part of what makes America wonderful, is we always had this nagging dissatisfaction that spurs us on. That’s how we ended up going west, that’s how we—'I’m tired of all these people back east; if I go west, there’s going to be my own land and I’m not going to have to put up with this nonsense, and I’m going to start my own thing, and I’ve got my homestead.'"
That's pretty amazing. President Obama, so attuned to the "fault line of race," has it in his head that the Indian wars resulted from dissatisfied non-Indians, who, in order to feel better about their lives, "went west"!
I guess the same explanation might apply all the way back: The Puritans were dissatisfied with their lot in England and Holland, so they went west to Massachusetts, and rounded up the Indians into "praying town" reservations. Other colonizers found their "own land" named "Virginia," where they became rich from tobacco plantations worked by indentured servants and slaves.
And so on back even further: The conquistadors, "tired of all those people" back in Spain, went west to the "new world" and made it their "own land," and made the Indigenous peoples their "own slaves."
Obama managed to skip over these gory details to get to his conclusion that "we" solved our "nagging dissatisfaction" and became a "wonderful" country. Who was "we"? It certainly didn't include the Indians. They were in "our" way.
"I'm tired of all these people back east with their rules requiring payment for land. If I go west, there’s going to be my own land stolen from Indians and given to me.
"If there's any trouble, the Army will protect me against the 'savages' who want their land back. I deserve these government handouts--free land and security--because I'm a privileged white man."