Wednesday, September 17, 2008

And another thing

One of the lines the GOP speechwriter crafted for Sarah Palin's speech at the Republican National Convention was this:
“We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity.”

I don't like this glorification of the small town.

We grow good people in our big cities, too. In the comments at Pandagon, FlipYrWhig responded to my sentiment with "You just have to use espalier techniques."

But seriously: The only reason the Republicans like to glorify the small town is because so many small towns are filled with white folks who might vote for them. Whereas urban areas have lots of people of color, immigrants, poor people, and folks who appreciate diversity—few of them voting Republican.

My son and his friends are being raised right here in the city "with honesty and sincerity and dignity," all right, plus a lot more exposure to people who aren't just like them. When did the Republicans start to fear the American melting pot, anyway?


Anonymous said...

Seriously? I think Republicans started fearing the melting pot when it actually started showing up in their elections. So... I'd say the Civil Rights movement had a good bit to do with it. I know there are some good people that are Repubs (and who say they don't agree with everything the party stands for), but I can't imagine wanting to be associated with a party that has so many values I don't agree with.

Julie said...

I also think that romanticizing the small town is part of the whole "baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie" schtick, a rhetorical device more than anything — unfortunately, one that resonates.

Mignon said...

Also, people that choose to live in small towns are oftentimes eschewing the melting pot, as well. You don't find a lot of staunch conservative religious folks seeking out ethnic and socio-economic diversity.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. Just one observation: That line wasn't "crafted" for Palin; it was lifted verbatim from the writings of Westbrook Pegler (1894-1967), notorious anti-unionist, populist rabblerouser, and right-wing columnist for the Hearst newspapers. He was kicked out of the ultraconservative John Birch Society for being too anti-Semitic.

"Crafted"? More like "crafty." Read Frank Rich on this "creepy subtext":

Anonymous said...

Just went over to Pandagon and read the thread there. I'm glad to see that Pegler was well and truly outed, so ... never mind!

I love the "espalier techniques" comment. I've always lived in cities; would never trade the stimulation and diversity for any other setting.

wordsong said...

Maybe they are more afraid of the idea of a "tossed salad."

Andrea said...

To me, a person who grew up in a small town, the "glorification of the small town" is hypocritical and infuriating. They claim they are running on a platform of change as well, right? Small towns do not represent change in the slightest. Most small towns shun change. They fear what is different from them.

And as you pointed out, yes most small towns are populated with white folks. White folks that like to hunt. And fish. And sit on the porch and drink their Budweiser while talking about the college football game or Nascar.

They do these things because that's what they do. They do it that way because, well, it's the way it's always been done. It works, in their mind, so why change it.

So, for some of them, yes...they (small town residents) are completely racist and that's why they may not vote for Obama. But not all. Some of them just fear the change that he represents. They fear, what they perceive, as the unknown. People are feeding residents of these types of areas propaganda ("he's a Muslim!") about Obama, knowing that the majority of them will not do any research. It's like in the movie The Music Man, when he was getting people riled up over a pool table. In my experience, that's what it boils down to. The unknown, the fear that can be instilled from the unknown, and the unknown that change can bring.

So for the Republican party to be glorifying the small town, well, they're not really so much saying that big towns are the suck...they're winning voters. They're being manipulative to a group of people that fear change. But doing so by making them feel like they are justified in that fear. Justified to continue doing what they do because that's what they've always done.

Being a person that grew up in a small town it pains me to see people not only used in this manner, but actually allowing themselves to be used in this manner. It pissed me off when Hilary did it and it's pissing me off seeing McCain/Palin do it.

I may have gotten off topic/point a bit...