Can Your City Determine How American You Are?


Published: November 20, 2008

Governor and former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin is a controversial figure who people say represent everything from a strong Feminist mother to an unqualified “Stepford Wife.” Palin made quite a stir at a fundraiser in North Carolina in October when she said, “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.” She went on to describe such towns as homes of hard-working and patriotic “pro-Americans” 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.” She later apologized for her statement, but that may have been solely for political purposes.

Palin needs to look at how she is defining what it means to be an American. No town, city, district, state or any place in America should ever be excluded from whatever it is Palin defines as “real America.” All of the tasks Palin mentioned are common to all parts of the country, not just rural areas. Even here in the state of New York, we have plenty of examples of Americans that teach, farm, run factories and fight in our wars.

When I think of America, I think of a nation that strives for freedom, equality, democracy, capitalism, liberty and unity. A part of New York City’s unique patriotism is that it is home to the icons of American culture like the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Wall Street, Ellis Island and numerous others that embody all of those qualities, making it deserving of all of the national and international tourist acclaim.

Even aside from the monuments, New York City has opened its arms to people of all kinds of different backgrounds since the beginnings of this nation, acting as a prime example of the “melting pot.” You can walk around the city and notice a variety of cultures and languages in every borough. The fact that you can’t find that in many other places in America does not make New York less American, but rather even more of an embodiment of American ideals.

I consider it offensive for Palin to exclude such a patently American city from the definition of “real America.” If Palin believes that places like Greensboro, NC are considered “real America,” then why are they not home to all the major broadcast networks of America? Why are they not a capital of American culture and art? Why aren’t people flocking there to experience what it is like to live the American dream?