But that didn't bother me as much as reading the responses generated across the media. Mrs. Palin was viewed as "strong" and "tough," with many people crediting her "small-town" values as a reason that people should not underestimate her. And there's the rub. Because a lot of people seem to feel (and have written) that "liberal elites" have not shown the proper respect for Middle America. The perception is that big-city liberals condescend to and despise small-town America. Well, I'm here to set the record straight...
At least I do. Because, to me, Middle America isn't about "small-town values," it's about hypocrisy, ignorance and intolerance. Middle America consistently votes against its own interests by putting people in office who have absolutely no problem screwing them and, by extension, the rest of the country over. They ignore the fact that Republican economic policies have routinely led to their own economic hardship. For want of having a President with which they can "share a beer," they are willing to cede the country to the richest 1% under the myth that these people have somehow "earned" their esteemed position and should not be "penalized" for success. While I won't deny that many of the wealthy are hard-working and their success well-earned, I don't think enough credit is given to the average American worker who makes that success possible. It's a perverse form of self-hatred that allows Middle America to support the very people who out-source their jobs and ignore their communities. These "small towners" have no problem being used, discarded and disregarded only to have Republicans court them every four years with promises of prosperity, most of which go unfulfilled after the election cycle. More often than not, the reward for their donations and activism during campaigns is more economic hardship courtesy of their own party.
As for their "small town values," the vaunted "Christian" values of compassion, tolerance and forgiveness... how often have these values been selectively applied? There are still small towns across this country in which minorities could not own homes for fear of violence. As Hillary Clinton's campaign illuminated, there are many small-towners who will refuse to vote for a person simply because their skin is dark. They oppose abortion yet support the death penalty, fear terrorism yet care little when the citizens of other nations endure poverty, starvation, oppression and genocide. Small-towners believe that things like habeus corpus, due process and human rights don't apply to people who oppose American interests, regardless of validity. Small-towners believe that government should not force them to subsidize the building of roads and schools via taxation but SHOULD force people to share their "values." They ignore one of the most basic rules of a healthy human existence... that your rights end where someone else's begins.
The truth is that small town America has an inferiority complex. Almost every four years, it punishes the rest of the country for a perceived slight that, frankly, exists only to the extent that "liberal elites" feel that small town America is hopelessly stuck in the past. Small town America is still in love with a past that represents a time for many in which certain groups did not have a place. These excluded groups WANT a place and time has finally given them the opportunity to have it. The American dream should be attainable to ALL members of our society, an idea that is not accepted by many in small town America. Their "values" extend only to those who look like them, think like them and "feel" like them. That's the America of the past. The past is gone and there is no turning back.
Maybe one day we'll get past these differences. Until then, it seems as if small town America will continue to seek vengeance against the "liberal elites" even at its own expense. And liberal elites will continue to hate them for it.