In today's NYT (Sunday, September 14, 2008) is a good article by Katherine Roberts, Continental Divide: A Western State of Mind.
The article talks about the "historical divide" between eastern elites and the rugged individualists of the west. The great divide in American history between populism and the establishment.
That idea was most famously advanced by Frederick Jackson Turner (1893) and known as the Frontier thesis.
The idea of an oppositional dialectic in United States history, not based on class distinctions or sex differences, appealed to American romantic notions of democracy, equality, and freedom.
It is useful for the Republican Party to advance such conceptions.
There are many ways of looking at America: cities and rural areas, demographic groups, races and ethnicities, gender, and so forth.
Another way of looking at America is one that is spelled out in Article I Section 2 of the United States Constitution which calls for a counting of the population every ten years in order to apportion representation in the US Congress.
According to the Census Bureau's regional divisions, Alaska is not a western state. Alaska and Hawaii together form the Pacific region, distinct from the bureau's western region.
So we may accurately note that the Democratic presidential nominee, Senator Obama, who was born in Hawaii, and the Republican vice-presidential nominee, Governor Palin of Alaska, are both from the Pacific region of the United States.
It is unclear what that says about Roberts' continental divide, or Turner's frontier thesis, but it is an angle that, if Roberts had addressed, would have strengthened her article.
SEE ALSO: Today's Polls (Sunday, September 14, 2008) and VOTE on whether Sarah Palin is from the West or the Pacific!