John McCain referred to “Czechoslovakia” in a couple public statements recently, and a few people noticed.

He did it last year, too.

Problem is, as you may or may not realize, Czechoslovakia isn’t a country anymore, and hasn’t been for like 15 years. If he were making the reference in an historical context that would certainly be OK, but not when he’s talking about current events.

Now, I really don’t care much. I mean, GWB referred to people from Greece as “Grecians” and still got elected. The fact is that like 90% of Americans are probably saying “Czechoslovakia isn’t a country anymore? When did that happen?” (Linkified in case you care to learn more about it.) Normally I would probably really not care at all.

But it raises an interesting little scenario in my family. My husband is Czech. His parents are from the Czech Republic. They came here to escape Communism in the late 60s. Thus, Frank is the first of his whole family born in the U.S.

And they are all die-hard Republicans.

I showed Frank the story, and he read it with interest, but kept a good poker face (he very much dislikes talking politics and I mostly respect that and just make sure I vote to cancel out his vote). I’m not sure where his reaction fell. But his parents are HAPPY to talk politics. I’m so interested to ask them what they think. They get very offended when people don’t know that their country was dissolved and refer to them as Czechoslovakians. (Technically I guess they were born Czechoslovakians, and when they came here they were still Czechoslovakians, but even then, the Czech side and the Slovak side had very separate identities. The sides were further broken up into different regions – Moravia, Bohemia, etc. – and folks very much identify with their home regions. On a “Don’t Mess With Texas” level of allegiance.)

Anyway, we’re having dinner with them tomorrow so I shall report back. I doubt the gaffe will be enough to sway them away from the GOP camp, but it will be interesting to see how forgiving they are.


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