I Spend Every Day in America — A Response to Jim George

 

Yesterday, Ricochet member @jimgeorge wrote about how he spent the day in the “real America.” You can find his piece here. According to George, it’s a place where everyone still loves America, the Founding Fathers, and the flag. It’s a place where people are warm and welcoming and guns and religion are referenced constantly. It is far, far away, we are assured, from the Clinton Archipelago.

Okay, so I need to push back against this a little.

@jimgeorge wanted to exclude New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Palo Alto from his list. Because, somehow, they are not the “real America.” Let me take that list in reverse order.

Palo Alto is the home to Hewlett-Packard, Skype, and a slew of other technology companies. It was the incubator or former headquarters of Google, Facebook, PayPal, Apple, and many more. The last 20 years of incredible prosperity in the United States wasn’t built on the back of dying steel mills and coal mines in the “real America,” it came from the creation and dispersal of information technology around the world, centered in Palo Alto.

Chicago is (and God help me, you’re making me defend Chicago) a center of American commerce and culture. The commerce part speaks for itself, so let me address one aspect of the culture part. America tends to take the best from around the world and make it our own, but there is a short list of art forms that are uniquely American inventions. One of them is rock and roll music. We would not have rock and roll music as we know it if it were not for Chicago blues, created by black musicians who came to Chicago during the Great Migration.

Los Angeles is the center of the American television and film industry. And by that, I mean the world’s television and film industry. The world watches American movies and American television. The world’s popular culture of the last hundred years came from Los Angeles. Not only is it a major source of culture, but a major center of American commerce based on selling that culture.

And then there’s New York City. I don’t know how else to put this: the most recognizable symbol of America in the world, other than the stars and stripes, is the Statue of Liberty. I don’t really need to make the case for New York City, do I? It’s the capital of the world. The idea that religion is somehow shunned there is ridiculous. Google Maps lists 96 churches there, including two of the most beautiful in the country. And that’s just Catholic churches in Manhattan.

I dislike the notion of the Clinton Archipelago. It overemphasizes the divisions in our country. Half the people who voted in 2016 voted for Hillary Clinton. That includes a large chunk of your friends and neighbors. Even in West Virginia, the state where Donald Trump won his highest percentage of the vote, a quarter of the people still voted for Hillary Clinton.

Now, I don’t deny that there are people in the above-mentioned places that hate America, God, the Founding Fathers, and apple pie. But you’ll find people like that everywhere. That doesn’t mean they’re not part of America. They’re still our countrymen. They’re still Americans.

America has always been a very big, very diverse place. If you look at the 13 colonies, there was incredible diversity, from Dutch patroons, to Virginia planters, to Pennsylvania Quakers, to New England Puritans, to Maryland Catholics, to the guys who split off from the New England Puritans because they couldn’t stand them. They had very different views about things, very different cultures, and very different values. But they were all Americans.

The truth is that there is no part of America that’s any more “real” than the rest of America. Dividing America up does the country a disservice. There’s much talk these days about division in America. Fostering that and furthering that does real harm, because once you decry “them” as an “other,” it’s not a big step to violence.

Whenever you’re tempted to divide “Red America” from “Blue America” or “Trump country” from “Clinton country,” or whatever other formulation that separates the people in “real America” from the people who live in “those parts” of the country, I ask you to remember one thing:

The most popular musical in America (all of America, not just the “real” parts) right now is about the Founding Fathers. It is a love letter to America and the American founding. And it was created in New York City by a man who was a vocal Hillary Clinton supporter.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 105 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter (View Comment):

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter (View Comment):
    Nobody in Wisconsin is banning plastic straws, or drinks over 16 oz.

    Not even in Madison, WI?!!!

    Sure Madison’s not even thinking about it?…

    Historically, Wisconsin contributed a fair amount to Progressivism, the Wisconsin school of economics being pretty influential in the New Deal, and so on. Times change, of course, but I wonder how much non-Progressive Cheeseheads might be tempted to simply dismiss Progressive Cheeseheads as not-really-Cheeseheads these days, despite Wisconsin’s Progressive legacy. […]

    If I were given the power to unilaterally redraw state lines I’d chop Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison off into their own state, separate from Illinois and the rest of Wisconsin. Attach the U.P. to Wisconsin while we’re at it. It’s not like the Trolls were using it.

    You seem to be the second person who’s taking this entirely as a question of geography.

    As a matter of fact, I’m not. Rather, what I’ve observed is that there is no one small-town culture, not even one small-town red-tribe culture, nor is there one monolithic blue culture. We are more culturally mixed than it might be politically convenient to admit — that isn’t just a matter of geographical counterexamples, but of the “real America” vs “fake America” divide being too simplistic.

    Consider the Five Types of Trump voter study, or the different types of Trump voter profiled in Salena Zito’s book — or perhaps better yet, both at once! A town that’s red because one Trump-voter type predominates is culturally different from a town that’s red because another type predominates, even if both are equally rural — say, one in Nebraska, the other in West Virginia.

    Blue culture is not monolithic, either. But I think, if you’re in the red tribe, it’s easy to view the blue folks as all about equally “foreign”– as not really “native”, even when they are. 

    Even if we did limit ourselves to one-dimensional red-blue polarization, we see this as the county level:

    While it’s true the gradation between red and blue doesn’t look as smooth in 2016 as it was in 2008, there’s still a lot of purple in the 2016 map. The Vast Trump Sea surrounding the Clinton Archipelago still contains a lot of marshland, in other words.

    • #91
  2. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Fred Cole (View Comment):
    That’s only like two and a half hours from my house. 

    Thanks for telling us where we can stay!

    But seriously, we are thinking of driving up to “Bah Hahbah” Maine to spend a week.  We could bop up I-91 (checking Vermont off my list), then meander over to Bangor on Highway 2 before heading to BH.

    • #92
  3. Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger Member
    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger
    @MattBalzer

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    While it’s true the gradation between red and blue doesn’t look as smooth in 2016 as it was in 2008, there’s still a lot of purple in the 2016 map. The Vast Trump Sea surrounding the Clinton Archipelago still contains a lot of marshland, in other words.

    I might argue that that’s part of the reason, actually. Living in even a medium-sized city, as I do, it’s easier to blend into the background and not have to deal with a lot of people outside of business interactions. In the small town where I grew up, it’s more of a challenge to manage that, meaning you’re going to have to deal with how people see you anyway. 

     

    • #93
  4. Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger Member
    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger
    @MattBalzer

    I should note that I’m perfectly prepared to argue on geography. Just because I don’t like the maniac leftists in Madison doesn’t mean I’m not going to run them up as crazier than anyone else’s leftists, even if they aren’t yet banning straws.

    Although I’m also totally on board with Hank’s suggestion in regard to redrawing state lines. I might go so far as to take the Iron Range of Minnesota into the bargain.

    • #94
  5. Hank Rhody, Red Hunter Contributor
    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter
    @HankRhody

    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger (View Comment):
    Although I’m also totally on board with Hank’s suggestion in regard to redrawing state lines. I might go so far as to take the Iron Range of Minnesota into the bargain.

    I could see an argument for including Eau Claire and the Twin Cities in my prospective Blue-Enclave state, but then we’d have to gift southwest WI to either Rural Illinois or Iowa, neither of which I’m very happy with.

    • #95
  6. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter (View Comment):

    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger (View Comment):
    Although I’m also totally on board with Hank’s suggestion in regard to redrawing state lines. I might go so far as to take the Iron Range of Minnesota into the bargain.

    I could see an argument for including Eau Claire and the Twin Cities in my prospective Blue-Enclave state, but then we’d have to gift southwest WI to either Rural Illinois or Iowa, neither of which I’m very happy with.

    This is the stuff that should have gone into RSR 10: Northern Command

    • #96
  7. Hank Rhody, Red Hunter Contributor
    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter
    @HankRhody

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter (View Comment):

    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger (View Comment):
    Although I’m also totally on board with Hank’s suggestion in regard to redrawing state lines. I might go so far as to take the Iron Range of Minnesota into the bargain.

    I could see an argument for including Eau Claire and the Twin Cities in my prospective Blue-Enclave state, but then we’d have to gift southwest WI to either Rural Illinois or Iowa, neither of which I’m very happy with.

    This is the stuff that should have gone into RSR 10: Northern Command.

    I mean you could have, but talk Arahant into giving up the UP? Gregor Arahant, let go of any prize however small once it’s in his clutches? You stretch the bounds of fantasy.

    • #97
  8. Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger Member
    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger
    @MattBalzer

    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter (View Comment):

    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger (View Comment):
    Although I’m also totally on board with Hank’s suggestion in regard to redrawing state lines. I might go so far as to take the Iron Range of Minnesota into the bargain.

    I could see an argument for including Eau Claire and the Twin Cities in my prospective Blue-Enclave state, but then we’d have to gift southwest WI to either Rural Illinois or Iowa, neither of which I’m very happy with.

    This is the stuff that should have gone into RSR 10: Northern Command.

    I mean you could have, but talk Arahant into giving up the UP? Gregor Arahant, let go of any prize however small once it’s in his clutches? You stretch the bounds of fantasy.

    I get the feeling that the Chicago Machine might also have been inimical to the proposal.

    • #98
  9. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    All my life, to be conservative means you expect to be disagreed with. You expect to have to make your case to an unsympathetic audience. You’re never surprised when they push back.

    But I made a mistake when I thought that conservatives, in general, are used to all that. There are some people here–some of them showing up as Cole’s (and Charen’s) eternal opponents–who seem genuinely stunned, even angered by being disagreed with by fellow conservatives. I don’t just mean angered by outrageous positions in a discussion; I mean any “deviation” at all. I used to think they were faking it; over years, I’ve come to realize they really mean it. 

    Why do they turn out that way? Personality is probably 90%. But I wonder if some of it is related to location; maybe they live in places where nobody much disagrees with them politically, where nobody has to defend an unpopular idea, and they think that ponying up $5 a month for a conservative website ought to mean a nice, soundproof cocoon.  I don’t know. But if they’re going to get indignant about non-compliance with their personal agenda, tough nougies. Thank God there aren’t many of them. 

    • #99
  10. Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger Member
    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger
    @MattBalzer

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    All my life, to be conservative means you expect to be disagreed with. You expect to have to make your case to an unsympathetic audience. You’re never surprised when they push back.

    But I made a mistake when I thought that conservatives, in general, are used to all that. There are some people here–some of them showing up as Cole’s (and Charen’s) eternal opponents–who seem genuinely stunned, even angered by being disagreed with by fellow conservatives. I don’t just mean angered by outrageous positions in a discussion; I mean any “deviation” at all. I used to think they were faking it; over years, I’ve come to realize they really mean it.

    Why do they turn out that way? Personality is probably 90%. But I wonder if some of it is related to location; maybe they live in places where nobody much disagrees with them politically, where nobody has to defend an unpopular idea, and they think that ponying up $5 a month for a conservative website ought to mean a nice, soundproof cocoon. I don’t know. But if they’re going to get indignant about non-compliance with their personal agenda, tough nougies. Thank God there aren’t many of them.

    I don’t think it’s that. It’s like this: I’ve been out there, say in the Land of Facebook. I’m surrounded by foes, swinging my ideological battleaxe with everything I’ve got. It seems pointless, because the enemy appears to be innumerable and possessed of the most flaming idiocy. I have a few allies, and doughty fighters though they may be, it appears unsurvivable.

    But look! To the north, Castle Ricochet! At last, a haven from the insanity. With a heroic effort, I and my small band break through a weak point in the enemy lines and make for the shelter of the castle. Later on, while enjoying a shank of mutton and quaffing from a tankard of ale, I am backstabbed! Treason, in the very heart of the castle! What a fool I was to think that succor could be had here.

    Tl;dr, sometimes a break from disagreeing with other people isn’t a bad thing.

     

    • #100
  11. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger (View Comment):
    But look! To the north, Castle Ricochet! At last, a haven from the insanity.

    Oh dear, has someone left the mug-shaped beacon alight again?

    Here in Castle Ricochet, we have but one punishment for setting alight the mug-shaped beacon…

    Tl;dr, sometimes a break from disagreeing with other people isn’t a bad thing.

    Fair ‘nuf. We’d hope the sheer variety of OPs around here would give folks plenty of breaks from disagreement. That does mean, though, folks not only writing a variety of OPs, but also reading a variety, rather than feeling fatal attraction toward only those topics which put bees in their bonnet.

    • #101
  12. Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger Member
    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger
    @MattBalzer

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    Fair ‘nuf. We’d hope the sheer variety of OPs around here would give folks plenty of breaks from disagreement. That does mean, though, folks not only writing a variety of OPs, but also reading a variety, rather than feeling fatal attraction toward only those topics which put bees in their bonnet.

    Yeah, can’t argue that. Then again, I’m mostly here for the comments anyway.

    • #102
  13. spaceman_spiff Member
    spaceman_spiff
    @spacemanspiff

    I agree with about 70% of this. Los Angeles does create/represent our culture to the world and that’s a problem. A lot of what Los Angeles creates is simply awful. As for the religiosity of NYC, if it was truly as religious as you claim, that abortion bill wouldn’t have passed.

    I also hate the “real” America conceit but the bigotry of the northeast and the coasts towards the south and “flyover country” is a very real and an ugly thing.

    • #103
  14. lowtech redneck Coolidge
    lowtech redneck
    @lowtech redneck

    Holy Resurrection Batman!

    • #104
  15. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member
    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw
    @MattBalzer

    lowtech redneck (View Comment):

    Holy Resurrection Batman!

    I’ve seen bigger.

    • #105
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.