First of all, let's clear this up right now. Go look at your passport; under nationality does it say "United States of America?" Then congratulations, you're a real American and part of real America. I know this concept seems too simple, especially if a vice-presidential candidate is so confused by it that she is going around saying otherwise, but this is the same person who has been the Republican VP pick for about two months and still does not know what the job of the vice-president is, so I wouldn't really use her as an intellectual benchmark. Okay, so we have established that you are, indeed, a real American, now to find out if you are pro-America or anti-America. When you think about America, do you want it and its people to thrive, or do you think about moving to a cave in Pakistan? If you answered "I want it to thrive," then I'd like to congratulate you again, you are pro-America. It's all that easy folks.
Now it's obvious that anyone with half a brain and thirty seconds could have figured that out on their own, but what causes ridiculous statements like the ones from Palin and others about there being a "real" America is something that has existed for quite a while but has been intensified recently: the politicization of patriotism. In the last few years, the Republican Party has been more overtly trying to convince America that they are the party of patriots, the party of "real" Americans. The issue that arises is when someone attests to having the pro-America party, then the party who disagrees or opposes them, by that logic, becomes the anti-America party. They are making the judgment that there is some group that is less American than they are, and this creates a dilemma for our political discourse, because now if one was to disagree with their vision of America, they believe that the person is disagreeing with America itself, when nothing could be further from the truth. They have taken the stance that, "we love America, and you disagree with us, so you must not love America" and this kind of second-grade reasoning should not be what governs our country or influences our elections, because it creates an environment where logic falls in the face of unwarranted fear and knee-jerk reactions. It's an environment where congresswoman Bachmann feels comfortable making outrageous comments about her colleagues in the House on national TV.
One of the most disturbing aspects of this is what the Republicans have chosen to politicize. In the last few years they have taken" Support our Troops" and made it a Republican mantra, as if that had anything to do with partisanship. Also, I would like to mention that in doing so they are essentially ignoring what many of those troops may believe, and instead blanketing them as part of their own party, which is just disrespectful to those troops they claim to support. The damaging part of this is that it has allowed many Republicans to vote against the troop's best interest, but evade accountability for it because they are understood to be the party of "Support our Troops." This hurts us, this hurts our troops, and this hurts our country, because logic no longer governs; allowing these politicians the ability to do exactly the opposite of what they say, as long as they wrap themselves in the flag as they say it.
However, the biggest of these political hijackings, the one that I am most sick of, is the politicization of 9/11. This idea that Republicans are the only ones that can keep us from another 9/11 or the only ones that truly understand the tragedy is detestable. How could any of that be true when it has recently been made apparent that they don't believe the area of America that was attacked is even part of "real" America? The way I see it, Republican leaders should never bring up 9/11 again, because the lives lost on that day were the lives of New Yorkers, lives from a place that they don't even consider America, so 9/11 is not their tragedy! It is not a Republican tragedy! It is an American tragedy, and according to recent Republican rhetoric, 9/11 is a foreign tragedy considering that it didn't take place in the "real" parts of America. I am so sick of their politicians going to ground-zero and embracing 9/11, and then going around the rest of the United States and belittling people from New York as "elitist" or "un-American," it is insulting. As long as they go around touting that areas such as New York City are not "real" America, just because it is a predominately liberal Democrat area, then I believe these people do not deserve our respect. Ms. Sarah Palin needs to shut the hell up, because to degrade the lives of those lost on 9/11 and to degrade friends and families that have lost loved ones on 9/11 by referring to all of them as not being part of "real" America isn't just wrong, it is dishonorable and absolutely disgusting.
As we approach the presidential election, we have a very serious decision to make as voters. We have all heard many arguments for or against John McCain and Sarah Palin, but take this into serious consideration: how are we supposed to vote for a ticket and a party that does not believe all of America is really America? How are we to believe that they will do what is in the best interest of all Americans? How are they going to protect all of America, when they don't believe half the country is truly part of America? I don't want leaders that only care about the part of the country that conforms perfectly to their world view and then look down upon the rest of us, so much so that they don't even consider us part of the nation. People like that should not run this country, period. How can we expect them to have any chance of bringing us together in these extremely troubling and partisan times, when we have seen that they truly view the US as two Americas, and have been outspoken about the fact that they favor one of them over the other? On November 4th I ask you to remember the words of Abraham Lincoln: "A house divided against itself cannot stand." Come Election Day we cannot afford to elect another set of leaders that would seek to divide this house.