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Mpls, MN, United States

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Real America

It seems that much has been made in this election, and particularly in the past few days, of the size of town and part of the country in which one lives, as though that makes one more or less American.

In her acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, Sarah Palin, apparently quoting this somewhat dubious fellow, said, "We grow good people in our small towns," and a few days ago, said,

We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C. We believe... that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation.
I won't go all political here (although, if you haven't seen them, you might be interested in these Daily Show videos on small town values and being pro-American), but I do think it's pretty ridiculous to be dividing up the nation--and sowing divisiveness--like this.

Yesterday, I rode my bicycle to school. On my way home, I stopped at the local grocery store (a co-op) for farm-fresh eggs and crackers, and then the library. Some friends, all of whom live within about three miles of me, and some within easy walking distance, came over for dinner. We sat around talking and laughing and eating soup before returning to grading or reading or studying for midterms.

It seems to me that that sort of thing is what reflects American values--and even "small-town" ones--despite (?) the fact that I live in one of the country's major urban areas. I do agree that the values of this city are not reflected across the entire country. For example, only Portland has a larger percentage of bike commuters, and apparently only California has more grocery co-ops than Minnesota. The city is concerned about climate change, protecting the environment, and green building. We have a large immigrant population and many services to aid those communities.

But wait.

Maybe those aren't American values, after all. Maybe they're just some big-city socialist agenda. After all, why else would I be serving soup to my neighbors--?

Sigh.

I wasn't going to get political. So I'll just end by saying that I love the big-city values of Minneapolis, as well as the American/human values that have been unjustly co-opted under the label "small town." Those values belong to all of us.

7 comments:

David said...

You Anti-American Socialist!

;)

No but seriously, it doesn't look like we'll have to put up with these two much longer. FiveThirtyEight.com currently pegs McCain-Palin's chances of winning at 3.7%. I feel pretty good about those numbers.

strovska said...

oh, ceri! didn't you know that by serving soup to your neighbors, you're joing the group who wants to Spread the Wealth Around?

sigh....

strovska said...

i just read this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/23/opinion/23collins.html?em

it seemed apropos.

Ern said...

Great post. It reminds me of 2006 when everyone was derisively talking about "San Francisco values". I read a great post at the time (no idea where) kind of like this one, articulating all of the great values that the rest of the country could learn from San Francisco.

Curly Sue said...

Gee, these subversive socialist values are so scary: knowing your neighbors, having friends, taking care of old people and poor people. What is the world coming to?

Why can't everyone live in a suburb, drive 20 miles to Wal-Mart, enjoy their big screen TV every night, and let everyone else fend for themselves? I heard that's how they do it in Wasilla.

I Hope So said...

how did i miss this post??

very well put. and the more you talk about mn. the more i want to move there. too bad by the time i could pull off a move you will have graduated.

A Cuban In London said...

A very witty and serious post. One doesn't find that depth in relation to the American election these days very often.

Greetings from London