With Sarah Palin’s stop in Colorado today, I have to wonder — does she consider our state pro-America? Are we “real America,” or part of that other America? I only ask because at a fund-raiser in North Carolina last week, Palin talked about how wonderful it felt to be in a “pocket” 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.”
Palin’s full quote, per the Huffington Post from Washington Post reporter Juliet Eilperin:
“We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C. We believe” — here the audience interrupted Palin with applause and cheers — “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. This is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans. Those who are running our factories and teaching our kids and growing our food and are fighting our wars for us. Those who are protecting us in uniform. Those who are protecting the virtues of freedom.”
Now paying tribute to small towns is nothing new in political rhetoric. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard John Mellencamp’s “Small Town” at campaign rallies. However, implying that small towns somehow have more patriotism than larger towns — that crosses into whole new territory. It also leaves me wondering, what’s the cutoff?
Today Palin will visit Colorado Springs, Loveland and Grand Junction. The largest, Colorado Springs, rings in at just over 400,000 people, while Grand Junction has less than half that at 139,137, as of the 2000 census. If any of these towns make her patriotic short list, though, I bet Palin will just love Loveland with its population of 60,000.
Of course on Wednesday the Republican vice presidential candidate will visit the county seat of Hancock County in Ohio — Findlay, population 38,967. I went to college in Ohio and can certainly vouch for that state’s patriotism. I also went to school in the “village” (technical term) of Gambier, population: 1,871. I’m fairly certain Palin would consider us “pro-America,” especially since some students waited until 3:45 in the morning to cast their vote back in 2004.
Palin’s theory on “pockets” of real and pro-America versus some other kind of America explains her decision to leave Denver, population 554,363, off this trip. I suppose it would also explain why Colorado’s capitol hosted the Democratic National Convention, where Democrats nominated “that one.”
Sorry, Sarah, but I’ll take my inclusive patriotism over your warped version any day.
Colorado Independent’s blogumnist (blogger-columnist) Jeff Bridges has worked in Democratic politics for the last 10 years, serving as communications director for two congressional races in Colorado and two governors races in the Deep South. Bridges also worked as a legislative assistant in Washington, D.C., with a focus on military and small-business issues.