Ever since she has hit the national spotlight, Sarah Palin has delighted in attacking the parts of America that aren't "small town America," "middle America," what she refers to as "The Real America." (As opposed to the rest of the country that is the Fake America.)
Never mind that this "small town America" - Sarah Palin's Real America - only makes up a tiny fraction of the United States. The number of fake Americans living in urban areas is 225.9 million, while Real Americans living in rural areas is only 59.3 million. (For those keeping score, that's 79.2% fake, 20.8% real. Even this overwhelms the Senate's filibuster-proof super-majority.)
Who would have imagined that small town America was really that small…?
I come from a small town. Glencoe, Illinois, population 10,500. However that's twice Wasilla, Alaska, so maybe that makes it urban and therefore fake. In fact, if you were the mayor of a hamlet of just 5,469 people, as Ms. Palin was, perhaps that's why anything bigger looks so massive, scary and fake. After all, the entire state of Alaska would rank it 19th among U.S. cities, right above Memphis. No wonder Sarah Palin quit as governor after half a term, those other 225.9 million fake Americans surrounding her 698,743 Real Alaskans was pretty imposing.
Well, not "surrounding," actually. Alaska is way up north and sort of out there, beyond even Canada. Anchorage is closer to Japan than to Muncie, Indiana.
Yet somehow, Sarah Palin has been trying to convince everyone that she understands The Real America. Small town America, middle America. The thing is, as far as we know, before Sarah Palin joined the John McCain Express and was forced to leave the safety of her insulated life, she may have rarely even set foot anywhere on mainland America, let alone small towns across the Lower 48. To be fair, she may have. But to be equally fair, there's little that came out during the campaign that suggested otherwise. We know she had three separate tries at college in Idaho, so there at least is evidence that she came on down, however briefly. Maybe there were some vacations to Disneyland, maybe some business visits. Maybe. Maybe not.
But the evidence of any extended, substantive time in small towns across these great United States, enough to give her a mastery of the Real America outside of Alaska - it's pretty darn hard to find.
Yet, on and on and on she goes, as if she knows what she's talking about. As if she knows small town, middle America. As if she understands why the small town values of 21% of America are better than the values of the other 79%. As if she has the slightest idea about the Real America.
No single town can stand in for all, no matter how typical. But still, let's look at one particular small town in America, the kind that Sarah Palin - as an expert - relentlessly trumpets as better than the rest of the fake America.
Last Friday, the Los Angeles Times ran a story about the town King Salmon, population 450, in the Northwest of America, near the Pacific Coast. About as small town America as you can get.
Everyone there loved the local weatherman, who put together twice-daily reports for the fisherman. Everyone loved his wife, a "stay-at-home mom who drove their 4-year-old to preschool, sang in the town choir and picked berries with her girlfriends." When the family decided to move, 30 people showed up at the airport to send them off, singing choir songs and crying.
And when the plane landed, Paul and Nadia Rockwood were met by the FBI on suspicion of domestic terrorism. They pled guilty last week. In their plea agreements, Paul Rockwood stated he "had become an adherent of extremist Islam who had prepared a list of assassination targets, including U.S. service members." Guns and explosives had been researched, though no plot was revealed.
Boy, howdy, talk about paling around with terrorists.
Oh, by the way, the small town of King Salmon is in Alaska. About 320 miles from Wasilla.
To be clear, just because this all occurred in Alaska doesn't make it any worse or better. And just because it occurred in Sarah Palin's backyard is no aspersion on her. None.
The point, however, is that while Sarah Palin goes around divisively trying to gin up hatred, trying to draw a line between Real America and the fake, between small town values and urban values, between what she wants to present as Good and what she wants you to fear, Sarah Palin once again demonstrates how she doesn't have a clue what she's talking about or what words come out of her mouth. Nor does she care to find out. Intellectual curiosity is not, nor ever has been a concern of Sarah Palin.
When Sarah Palin talks about Real America's Values, Sarah Palin doesn't have a clue what Real America is. When Sarah Palin talks about small towns, Sarah Palin doesn't have a clue what large towns are - or most medium-towns. When Sarah Palin talks about middle America, she doesn't know middle America. And when Sarah Palin talks about terrorism, she couldn't see it if it was in her own neighborhood.
Which it was.
Robert J. Elisberg
- Los Angeles, California,
- December 31
- Robert J. Elisberg has been a regular contributor to the Huffington Post since 2006. His writing has appeared in such publications as the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, and Los Angeles Magazine, and served on the editorial board for the Writers Guild of America. He has contributed political writing to the anthology, "Clued in on Politics," 3rd edition (CQ Press).
Born in Chicago, he attended Northwestern University and received his MFA from UCLA, where he was twice awarded the Lucille Ball Award for comedy screenwriting. Most recently, he wrote the comedy-adventure screenplay, â€śThe Wild Roses,â€ť for Callahan Filmworks, and had published his comic novella, "A Christmas Carol 2: The Return of Scrooge."
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