We're not quite sure what to think about Long Island congressman Christopher Bodkin's crusade to make Anne Frank a citizen of the United States. The effort, about three years old, has gotten second wind with the recent disclosure of papers that show the Frank family unsuccessfully applying for a U.S. visa. The first impulse would be to gingerly inquire what is Bodkin's (59, Republican, Episcopalian) deal with Anne Frank anyway: He had previously spearheaded a failed campaign to put her on a postage stamp. Luckily, the Times sheds some light on the politician's M.O.
Bodkin is known around his district as a "serial memorializer": He's already erected monuments to his district's residents who perished in World War II as well as the Vietnam War and is now beginning to think globally. Still, even with the best intentions, the honorary-citizenship campaign (just for Anne? or Otto too? how about Margot? the passengers on the S.S. St. Louis?) is a bit late to help the Franks, and more than a little facile as a gesture of atonement. Sure, Bodkin and whoever else votes for his measure will feel good about themselves; Anne and millions of others will still be dead, as they might not have been if that citizenship offer were a bit more timely. We still believe, in spite of everything, that politicians are full of shit.