Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Real Americans?


There are a thousand things I take issue with when it comes to Sarah Palin. Maybe a million. But what's got me thinking today is this "real Americans" crap she spews as if she somehow gets to define what that means. She never really comes right out and says what she thinks a "real American" is or what her declaration means. Is she defining the term in order to say some people don't belong here or something? I don't get it. I don't get the purpose of this other than to be divisive and arrogant and politicizing.

I hate that we are a country that actually fights over who is more patriotic, spiritual, moral. What? No single party loves the flag or Constitution more than an other (although it could be argued that the self-appointed Constitution defenders are trying to warp and misrepresent it but that's another post).

But it's this subtle thing Palin does that pits her view of what makes someone a "real American" versus the fact that the Constitution defines the true meaning rather well (although I think those who want to repeal the 14th amendment actually have a problem with section four, but again, that's another post). Forget that there are people in this country who are not yet legal citizens who care a great deal about this country and support it, defend it, etc., she is consistently calling into question actual Americans' place in this country.

Aside from her views on what liberty and freedom mean, let's just look at one theme she promotes:

Alaskans do things no other Americans do thus they are "real Americans". I watched her show the other night, it was actually a lot of fun for a Palin-despiser to watch. There were moments that people who know the truth about her could find telling and humorous. I am not sure how many times she contradicted herself right there on TV for the world to see. But the moments that irked me were the moments I may turn into a drinking game. I think I'll take a swig every time she implies that only Alaskans [insert hobby, skill, family value here]. You would think, after watching last week's camping episode, that ONLY Alaskans camp. Only Alaskans camp where bears are wild. Only Alaskans camp in the rain. The only difference between millions of Americans who have done any and/or all of those things is we don't choose to go camping somewhere that requires an air-taxi. But then again, I imagine most "real Alaskans" don't NEED to take an air-taxi to go camping. Looking at that state, reading about it, hell, even watching her show, I get the impression you can get to a camping site just by heading to the outskirts of town.

Apparently, only Alaskans (or maybe it's only Palins) treat camping as a family bonding experience. Apparently, people from other states have never learned the precious arts of pitching a tent, lighting a fire and roasting marshmallows while fishing along the bank of a river. You may want to tell companies like REI that they should pull up and relocate all their stores to Alaska because, according to Palin, that's an Alaska thing.

And don't get her started on New Yorkers. Boy, those New York elite don't know the first thing about family bonding or camping or cold weather. They are too wealthy, all of those New Yorkers, to know what it means to hunt for your food. Then again, neither does Palin -- there is a Super Target in Wasilla after all.

At the root of all this is a question I ask myself over and over. Shouldn't a "real American" value all of the states? Shouldn't there be more pride in America as a whole rather than pitting one state against another? Shouldn't we cherish what a vast and amazing country we live in? We have so much history and shared experiences. We also have so many opportunities to learn new things, share unfamiliar traditions, celebrate people's experiences that are different from ours.

Perhaps my view comes from the fact that I, like many Americans, have lived in more than one state. I have lived on the east coast, the west coast and the southwest. My experiences of this country have been formed in red states and blue states and purple states. I have known hunters and tree huggers, atheists and Christians, Hungarians and Brazilians, liberals and conservatives. My view of "real America" is one of many. You know, e pluribus unum. I believe in that.

As beautiful as Alaska is. As much as I think it has a lot to offer those of us who have never gone there, I think Palin is doing her home state a disservice. By pitting states against one another, she is insulting the precious things other states have to offer. While doing that, she also caricatures Alaskans based on her image (which by watching her show you can see is a false image at that). And in the meantime, she is dividing all Americans among some imaginary line that only she defines. Her dog whistles of creating others out of fellow Americans is one of her platforms. And as she continues down the path of wanting to play a significant role in this country, I hope more Americans get tired of her loyalty to one state at the disrespect of the others.

Sarah Palin has this idea that Alaskans are misunderstood or under-appreciated and she thinks she is on some mission to change that. But if she wants to be President of the United States, she needs to find some ounce of genuine curiosity in her and go on a LISTENING tour of all the states. She needs to stop trying to compare others as worse than Alaska or just like Alaska and start seeing other states, other Americans as valuable and real. But she won't. She will continue on book tours and self-promotion tours and anti-Obama tours and raising money tours. She wants to judge Americans as real or not real. But all she's doing is making a real problem.

1 comment:

vera lynn said...

This reminds me of when she was in my state and had the nerve to say she was happy to be 'in the American part of the state' or some such nonsense....thank god I can't remember her exact words, I thought I would never forget them. So take *that* half wit former whatever she is this week.