Small Town Values Say: Get Off Our Side!

The most eloquent “shove it, Palin” of the entire election cycle, via reader B:

We were not rah-rah Americans made-for-TV with the Stars and Stripes as a backdrop. That’s a cartoon image that is foisted on us all today.

Instead, we were a real American family with five children trying to make ends meet and live moral lives. Our parents expected us to be good, be responsible, respect others, go to college and make something of ourselves. And our town nurtured us along the way.

Sometimes, that nurturing occurred in churches. We respected one another’s beliefs. People prayed separately on the weekend, but they all worked together during the week. Church leaders didn’t stick their noses into politics. Politicians didn’t impose religious beliefs on voters.

The thing is: Our world was small, and we knew we had to get along with one another. No one thought being a “pit bull” was a virtue. We judged people by how they conducted themselves at work and school, how they pitched in and helped others, how they raised their children and treated their spouses, how they lived humbly without ostentation and spoke graciously to others.

I don’t romanticize small-town life. It has its downsides, too. But the slick pitch by political operatives to redefine and own small-town values troubles me. The pitch is so false, the motive so base. Filled with allusion and innuendo, the disingenuous marketing campaign is aimed primarily at white people and designed to set people against one another, to accentuate our differences and play on our fears.

The campaign perverts and dumbs down the truth of real small-town life, and with that, they stole something dear to me and many Americans. I want us all to stand up and take it back.

Rosemary Weathers Burnham for President.


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