It is hard to tell when the myth began, but it certainly gained traction among Republicans with John McCain's disastrous selection of Sarah Palin - the idiot of Wasilla. What myth? The myth that the Republican party speaks for "real Americans" while the Democrat Part speaks for effete liberals and those who are "other." Never mind accurate facts and history. Take Donald Trump, the supposed champion of these "real Americans." All of his grandparents and his mother were born in Europe. Meanwhile, most American blacks can traces their ancestry in America back a century or more longer. In my own case, some of my ancestors were in America close to a century longer than Trump's. Why am I not a "real American" while Trump with a short term family history in America claims he is? Sadly, it is all a lie and when stripped of all of the smoke and hypocrisy, the myth is a coded message driven my race and in some cases religious extremism. Despite their protestations to the contrary, many of my Republican "friends" ultimately bought into this race based myth. A column in the Washington Post looks at the disingenuousness of the myth peddled by the GOP. Here are column excerpts:
The most offensive and corrosive idea in our politics today is that some Americans are more “real” than others. Don’t you dare buy it.Republicans are cynically peddling this un-American conceit. “Real Americans” elected and continue to support President Trump, they claim, in defiance of snooty “coastal elites” who are hopelessly out of touch with the country. It’s a total crock, and shame on those using it for political gain.
The whole point of democracy is that every citizen’s voice is supposed to have equal weight — even voices in favor of fair and compassionate immigration policy, universal health care, fighting racism, promoting gender equality, enshrining LGBT rights and other progressive causes. There is no need to be tentative about these views for fear they somehow make you, I suppose, “unreal.” They do not.Nor does living within some arbitrary distance of an ocean, having a college education or preferring big-city life deprive anyone of standing as an American.The notion has taken hold that because the miner is a “real American,” his views must therefore be more authentic — and the barista, if he does not share or accede to those views, is “out of touch.”With world-class hypocrisy, Republican officeholders and activists are selling this load of bull while themselves, by and large, being “coastal elites.” One recent illustration: No group is supposedly more elitist and clueless than the so-called mainstream media. At the media’s biggest social event of the year, last month’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, comedian Michelle Wolf made some biting jokes about the Trump administration. Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, and his wife, Mercedes, the White House director of strategic communications, conspicuously stood up and walked out.“It’s why America hates the out of touch leftist media elite,” Mercedes Schlapp harrumphed on Twitter. She sent the tweet while she and her husband were in a limousine, on their way to a glittering after-party thrown each year by NBC.I know the Schlapps. . . . they recently purchased a $3 million home, as I certainly did not. Both have advanced college degrees. Matt Schlapp was a top lobbyist for Koch Industries before taking over at the ACU. The couple also founded their own public relations and lobbying firm. How are they anything but “elite,” according to the false dichotomy they espouse?To put icing on the cake, Mercedes Schlapp reportedly said at a recent White House meeting that “I stand with Kelly Sadler” — referring to the White House aide who said of Sen. John McCain’s opposition to CIA nominee Gina Haspel that “it doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.” Schlapp is awfully selective about what she finds offensive.Think for a moment about how ridiculous this whole thing is. Trump is a billionaire who started life as a millionaire, his father having been a wealthy developer. His Cabinet is a coven of plutocrats. His administration’s most consequential achievement thus far is a tax cut that showers corporations and wealthy citizens with lavish benefits, leaving just peanuts for the middle and working classes. The administration is also waging a relentless campaign to punish immigrants and the poor, apparently for existing.
But Trump cleverly uses cultural, racial and geographic markers to define who is “real” and who is not. And the Republican Party, to its eternal shame, has decided to go along.
Yes, it matters a great deal what people think in small-town Pennsylvania or rural Texas. But it matters just as much what people think in the rebuilding inner cores and thriving suburbs of our major cities, even if those cities happen to be on or near a coast.
Progressives have to speak to those left behind by wrenching economic and social change. But our voices are as authentic, and as worthy, as anyone else’s. I am a real American, too. Deal with it.