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.
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.
So if the so-called liberal elites "hate" small town America, it's because they feel that small town America is holding this nation back. Small town America's love for the past is preventing everyone from moving into the future. They refuse to accept that no party or group has a monopoly on values and, most importantly, no one has a right to impose their values on others. An essential component of human existence is the ability to accept the rights of others. Indeed, many liberals should remember that the ideals represented in small town values aren't passe... self-indulgence and excess aren't any more productive than ignorance and intolerance.