Sunday, October 19, 2008

Divide And Be Conquered

The dwindling supply of workable issues for the Republicans, through which they reveal not only the sorry state of their souls, but the dearth of ideas that has always existed at the base of right-wing politics in America, now features not only racism (which everyone had to know would rear its ugly head before election day) but the return of "real" America - parts of North Carolina, Virginia's rural areas and other sundry places yet to be specified - and the yet-to=be-named "unreal" America. The latter, I'm assuming, are such oddities as the eastern seaboard, Hawaii (Obama's home state), California and the rest of the west coast, and probably the upper Midwest except for Indiana.

I live in Illinois, which is so blue no Presidential candidate has set foot here all year. Yet, Boone County is very Republican, as is the whole stretch west of us, through the city of Rockford, and rural Winnebago, Stevenson, and Jo Davies' counties, and those areas just to our south, such as Ogle, Lee, Burueau, LaSalle, and Rock Counties. So, am I a "fake" American living in a small portion of "real" America embedded in enemy territory? What of conservative Republicans living in Chicago/Cook County?

Similarly, I grew up in New York State, which is pretty Democratic, yet there as well, I grew up in very rural, very poor Tioga County. Now, what's really odd is that Tioga County is in the 28th NY Congressional District (now, because of redistricting, known as the 22nd), which all of my life, both while I lived there and since, has elected pretty liberal Congressmen. Growing up our representative was Matt McHugh who was first elected in 1974. He left Congress during the 1990 "House Banking scandal" because he, along with many other long-serving members, he had been kiting checks on his House bank account. He was replaced by an even more liberal Democrat, Maurice Hinchey. How to account for this? The cities of Binghamton and Ithaca - cities in name only, really, but big enough for our little slice of heaven - are also within the district. Both McHugh and Hinchey were originally from that Cayuga Kremlin, Ithaca, so it's no wonder they were so liberal. But, neither one had any serious competition from Republican rivals, even though the seat seems pretty unsafe for such a liberal Democrat.

Since I, for rhetorical purposes, am no longer considered a real American, does that mean that my vote doesn't count? Better yet, does it mean I don't have to pay taxes, or pay in to Social Security and Medicare?

I'm trying, exactly, to figure out what it means to be a "real" American, other than to be a citizen (or at least resident) of the United States, and revere the Constitution as the basis of our national life. Since I'm liberal, and been told again and again how clueless we liberals "really" are, I need some help here.

Virtual Tin Cup

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