Real vs unreal Americans

By Bernd Debusmann
October 29, 2008

– Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. —

By Bernd Debusmann

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – What is a real American? As opposed to an unreal American, a fake American, an un-American American or an anti-American American.

The answer is in the eye of the beholder and his or her political orientation. The question, and variations of it, has been asked in several periods of U.S. history and has bubbled up again, one of a number of odd sideshows, in the closing stages of the campaign for the presidential election on Nov. 4.

Are real Americans a minority in this richly diverse country of 300 million? You might well come to that conclusion if you believe the definitions publicly provided by several Republicans, including Sarah Palin, the vice presidential candidate, and conservative radio and TV talk show hosts.

“We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit and these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard-working, very patriotic, very pro-America areas of this great nation,” Palin told a campaign rally in North Carolina in mid-October.

John McCain, the Republican candidate, has also sung the praise of small town (real) America. “Western Pennsylvania … is the most patriotic, most God-loving part of America,” he said at a rally there.

A belief in God, judging from speeches by both McCain and his Democratic opponent, Barack Obama, is an essential part of American-ness.

realamerica_oct28-w-21
Robin Hayes, a Republican congressman from North Carolina, provided details on Americans who do not qualify as real. “Liberals hate real Americans that work, and accomplish, and achieve, and believe in God.” Both Palin and Hayes later “clarified” their remarks to say they had not actually meant to suggest the existence of pro- and anti-American parts of the country. Nevertheless, their words prompted a vivid debate in cyberspace and on talk radio.

REAL AMERICANS AND EUROPE

It quickly went beyond geography and into political beliefs. “Is it possible to be a real American and to be a socialist?” radio talk show host Chris Plante asked his listeners in the Washington area. “Can you still be a real American if you believe that the regimes that govern in Western Europe are a better way forward than the system that we have here?” Callers reassured him that no, that was not possible.

How much influence conservative talk radio has will be apparent on election day. The Rush Limbaugh Show alone claims 12 million daily listeners and other conservative talking heads, such as Sean Hannity, also pull in huge audiences. But listening to them, it is difficult not to come to the conclusion that they are preaching to the converted and their shows function as big echo chambers.

As the real vs unreal Americans debate unfolded over a few days – teacup storms have been relatively short in this election — another Republican member of Congress, Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, poured fuel on the argument. She suggested in a television interview that the U.S. media should “take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out if they are pro-America or anti-America.”

That conjured up the ghost of Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who was helped in his hunt for hidden communists in the 1950s by a congressional investigative body called the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Sorting the populace into good people and not-so-good (or downright bad and dangerous) people is nothing new in an election campaign – the not-so-good people are always those of the other party. Seen in historical context, today’s good vs bad rankings are tame, as are negative advertisements.

When John Quincy Adams ran for re-election in 1828, for example, he called his opponent Andrew Jackson a cannibal and a murderer and he had unkind words for Jackson’s followers. The charge didn’t help. Adams lost.

In the 2008 campaign, attempts to portray one set of Americans (those living in rural areas and small towns) as more American than their big-city compatriots run counter to demographics. Nostalgia for a country that no longer exists?

According to the 2000 census – the counts are taken every 10 years – America’s big cities and their suburbs are home to 192 million people. That compares with just under 60 million in rural areas overall and 30 million in towns of fewer than 50,000 people.

A community of 50,000 people is large in comparison with Wasilla, the Alaskan town that had 5,000 people when Sarah Palin became its mayor in 1996. It has since grown to close to 10,000 – still small enough to fit the latest definition of real America.

(You can contact the author at Debusmann@Reuters.com)

89 comments

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Either this is just the typical anti-urban, anti-change tirades of a few of the rural populace feeling left out of the perceived prosperity of the cities that one often exists in many other countries or it is the sinister embryonic beginnings of something akin to Kristalnacht in 1938 Germany.
Lets assume and hope it is simply the former.

Posted by JF Chalmers | Report as abusive

Sarah Palin is real, well, at least the $150,000 wardrobe she sports is.

Sarah Palin is also the real QUEEN of PORK in Alaskan politics:

–to the tune of hundreds of millions of real dollars as Alaskan Gov., which included pocketing the many real $ millions earmarked for the Bridge to Nowhere,

–and even real $ millions in US taxpayers’ money harvested in Washington by hiring a D.C. lobbying firm while the small-town mayor of Wasilla (population 7,000).

While mayor of Wasilla, she also became really “famous” for manipulating the city budget to force real female r@pe-victims to pay, either with their own insurance, or out of their own pocket, for the forensic-kit and exam needed in the r@pe work-up (see NYT 9/26/08).

That ties in with her publicly stated belief that even women who become pregnant as a result of r@pe should be required to carry that real pregnancy to full term and birth.

Her use of r@cism against Obama at her rallies in recent weeks, eliciting real screams like: “t-rrorist”, “b-mb him”, “off with his head”, and “k-ll him!” by the frenzied crowds, is really off the charts!

A few news cycles ago, Ashley Todd, the white woman McCain-campaign operative, was caught really playing with fire by making up her story of being mugged and brutalized by a black Obama supporter.(Exposed by smart Pittsburgh police detectives, she confessed, and was charged with filing a false police report).

The two recently apprehended real skinheads, with swastikas tattooed on their shoulders and chests, and real automatic rifles in their arms, planned to take the hatred and vindictiveness of the McCain/Palin campaign to its final, logical step.

Rogue actors, sure! But they have been shown the way, and incited to their actions, by the real rhetoric of Sarah Palin and John McCain, – who’s gutter campaign tactics have been bringing just this element to the surface at their rallies these past weeks.

However, the problem with Palin is not just that she is really ignorant, incompetent, and utterly unqualified for national office, but rather,

1.) that she has real high odds of taking over as President in the next four years, and

2.) what appointing her to be second-in-command shows us about the really poor judgement of John McCain when making important decisions.

How ironic that with his campaign really unwinding, McCain is now confronted with a Palin going “rogue”, biting, so to speak, the hand that had been feeding her. Real honor among thieves? Never was, never will be.

Posted by fbla1805 | Report as abusive

Progressives vote aspirationally, for the people they look up to and wish they were more like. Conservatives vote via identity politics, for people they believe are most like themselves. Both claim their candidate would be better at running the country. The problem is, for conservatives, this means that they’re arguing — and voting — for an ordinary person, when it takes a truly extraordinary person to run the country. Superior-minded conservatives like George Will or William F. Buckley could never get the Republican nomination, because they’re not “ordinary” enough.

We elected an “ordinary person” in the shape of George W. Bush, and look where it got us. It’s time to give the presidency to an extraordinary person: Barack Obama.

Conservatives often attack progressives as unpatriotic. But it’s a poor sort of patriot who doesn’t want someone smarter and more capable than himself in the White House.

Posted by Ernest Adams | Report as abusive

It is disappointing, to say the least, that this column does not address the issue of aliens. Regrettably, the two presidential candidates have also failed to speak to this extremely important subject.

What needs to be asked are these questions:

1) Can an alien ever become a real American?

2) What is being done to make sure that aliens who apply for citizenship have the potential of becoming real Americans.

Now, on question 1), it is clear that some aliens do qualify. Would anyone question that Arnold Schwarzenegger, a former alien born in Austria , is a 100% real American? He even drives a Hummer!

But the process of making aliens Americans is in dire need of revision. As it is, all these aliens have to know is American history, what’s in the constitution, how many stars there are in the flag, how many people in congress etc. etc.

Is this really enough?? What if they know all the answers but sympathize with European socialism? Like wanting health care for everybody, public transport to all sorts of places, free or almost-free education? Should such a person be given an American passport?

Is the knowledge-based test adequate? What about values? If these aliens support abortion, for example, or progressive taxation, or limits to CEO bonuses (no more than $300 million, for example),they clearly are NOT real Americans. Should they even have the right to live in the U.S.? Not even to talk about getting a U.S. passport.

The answer seems obvious to me. No, no, and no.

Posted by Jack Serkoff | Report as abusive

The sad part is not how inappropriate Palin is for office but how gullible the American population is. How can we be convinced to think in terms of “real” Americans ? That is so unAmerican. This is the stuff that Rwandans massacred each other about, Timorese displaced half their population for, Sudanese suffer in camps in Darfur and Zimbabweans are being kicked out of their country after being there for several generations. Palin tactics are plain hate-mongering. These are destructive and divisive Hitleresque strategies. Let’s not buy into any of this lowbrow, ignorant rhetoric that is not befitting of our great nation.

Posted by ProudAmerican | Report as abusive

I think the most important question is this: can you be a “real American” if you are married to a person (the “First Dude”) who believes that Alaska should secede from the union? That’s about as un-American as it gets.

Posted by Catherine Kirsch | Report as abusive

Thanks for doing the math. We so often forget to do it.

Posted by Claudia Dunitz | Report as abusive

We are all REAL Americans.

It is unAmerican to question someone’s patriotism just because they disagree with you.

McCain, Palin, Samuel the self promoting fake plumber, should all be ashamed of their smear tactics. It must be the death throes of the far right base of the Republican party.

Can Perrot and Ventura take up the banner of the loyal opposition with the Reform Party? If Palin leads the Republicans in 2012, it is the end of the Republicans as we know them. Lincoln,Teddy and Goldwater are spinning in their graves.

Posted by Lee in Minneapolis | Report as abusive

“Is it possible to be a real American and to be a socialist?” radio talk show host Chris Plante asked his listeners in the Washington area. “Can you still be a real American if you believe that the regimes that govern in Western Europe are a better way forward than the system that we have here?”

To the best of my knowledge there are no “socialist” governments in Western Europe. This is a frustrating, limiting, uniquely American philosophy.

To my mind, no other western democracy amalgamates God in to political philosophies more than America. This extremely diverse, cosmopolitan country, the self proclaimed leader of the free world seems to be the least secular of the advanced western democracies-An interesting similarity to draw between America and the Middle East.

It would never be tolerated in Europe if presidential or prime ministerial candidates so often referenced God as a fundamental characteristic of being patriotic or authentic, even though there are far fewer prevalent religions in Europe.

Would the other readers agree that one of the benefits of intelligence and education is the ability to question the structures around us? And implying that there is only one correct method or system, or in this case insinuating that to be a real American, you have to be a God loving, God fearing American is a regressive approach?

My biggest criticism of this country has long been the unwillingness to question or admit wrong doing, a trait I have always associated with ignorance. This is well illustrated by people’s polarised view on the 2 political candidates. Many people are stubbornly unwilling to credit their opposition candidate with any progressive or intelligent ideas, instead implying they are ignorant, short sighted or idiotic to a disproportionate degree. Surely if this was the case it would be the greatest indictment of America; that potentially an ignorant short-sighted idiot could be in contention for the most prestigious office in the land.

My bottom line is that all four candidates are intelligent capable people, with flaws and talents, that all have the countries best interest at heart. Your vote should be cast not for the person with the best ideas, the most experience (being experienced doesn’t infer you are best equipped to utilise it), the most charismatic (they’re have been many poor charismatic leaders) or indeed the most God fearing but rather to the candidate you believe can best utilise all of the resources at their disposal. This may necessitate questioning if Americans are actually the best at everything in the world, and if not who is, and can we implement their systems and processes, so enabling us evolve and prevent stagnation.

I’d love to hear feedback,for or against, anything I’ve wrote.

Posted by John Egan | Report as abusive

“Is this really enough?? What if they know all the answers but sympathize with European socialism? Like wanting health care for everybody, public transport to all sorts of places, free or almost-free education? Should such a person be given an American passport??”… asked Mr Serkoff.
I think i rather see 50 mill people uninsured in the country and the huge crowds of homelesses i saw in cities like NYC!. Your loathed France has one of the best Medicare sistems in the world… but anyway, keep being so “American”, i am sure your average JOE will definitely like it.

Posted by Fausto | Report as abusive

To claim to be the whole when you are a piece of the whole is the pattern with this rhetoric. It was first used, without challenge, by bible thumpers twenty years ago or more when they defined themselves as “Christian” and thus excluded more traditional denominations which do not practice adult baptism from using the word. In the vocabularly they defined one could not be a liberal, or a socialist, or a lover of neighbors of the same sex, and be a christian. Now essentially the same subset of the population wants to take over the use of the word “American.” What next, the take over the word “person” or “human?” It is, in essence, the ultimate expression of selfishness, and would appear to be a group form of narcissism at its worst- self important and delusional.

Posted by Bradford C. Riendeau | Report as abusive

I was going to write a lengthy exposition on this as from a European perspective, but John Egan beat me to it on almost every point and made them far more articulately than I ever would. Very well-written, sir.

One paradox about the right in the USA that never ceases to amaze me is that the very people who repudiate Darwinism in evolutionary terms are those who espouse economic Darwinism as an article of faith and an act of patriotism in the most overtly ‘Christian’ nation on earth. The dictum seems to be ‘if you’re poor and you get sick, you’re gonna die and that’s good because it makes America stronger’. How is that a ‘Christian’ attitude? I defy anyone out there to find me a passage in the Bible that supports it.

Jefferson wrote the constitution on the basis of freedom of religion, that also includes the right not to believe if you so choose. This is another fundamental liberty of which the USA appears to have lost sight over the last few decades.

The USA really needs to lose the ‘with us or against us’ credo. A lot of people in Europe grew up admiring and looking up to America and we’d like to be able to again, but in a spirit of adult debate. We may not agree with you on everything, but that doesn’t make us all terrorists, Muslims or ‘socialists’, much less communists (and there is a BIG difference between the two). It is (still)the only nation that can lead the world and believe me many of us in Europe would like you to again – as partners and friends.

Just look back 40 years – this was the nation that put men on the moon. 60 years ago, you saved the world from fascism. I grew up watching in amazement a country that had the energy and imagination achieve such a thing.

The USA should be something for the rest of the world to aspire to. You have an opportunity to begin the process of restoring that next Tuesday.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

If these aliens support abortion, for example, or progressive taxation, or limits to CEO bonuses (no more than $300 million, for example),they clearly are NOT real Americans. Should they even have the right to live in the U.S.? Not even to talk about getting a U.S. passport.

The answer seems obvious to me. No, no, and no.
- Posted by Jack Serkoff

So, Jack.. since I am an American, born here, and hold some of the views you object to, do I have to then renounce my citizenship? Do only those that accept your definition of a ‘real American’ have the right to vote, and participate as a citizen of this country? Frankly, I find your position arrogant, and yes, unamerican!

Posted by Lou Crisp | Report as abusive

Re the post from Jack Serkoff. I note that he has no problem with Arnold Schwarzenegger being regarded as a true American although it is not clear if this is because he drives a Hummer or because he is a white aryan. Presumably Schwarzeneggers countrymen (ie Adolf Hitler, Jorg Haider and Joseph Fritzl) would also be acceptable if they drove the right car and agreed with Mr Serkoff in every respect.

Posted by John Duncan | Report as abusive

Standing on the outside it is hard not to get the impression that the Republican (neo-con/evangelical) vision of the American dream and American values are largely based on greed and avarice, and an attitude of ‘every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost’.

It’s seems to me that anyone should have enough compassion, love and respect for their fellow man to want to build an inclusive society. One that takes care of the poor and the sick – even while working to stimulate the industry needed to pay for that. Yet in America – an overtly and in your face Christian country – that’s a compassion that for many seems sadly lacking. It’s a lack of charity that is shocking.

As for un-American? America is a land built on immigration; people arriving to seek their fortune, people fleeing persecution, and people arriving in slavery. (True native Americans are in something of a minority). Diversity has always been a part of America. To try to redefine ‘American’ around a narrow white small town rural image is frankly to not understand the country you live in. It is an unnecessarily narrow and narrow minded view.

And that other question.. Can you be American and be socialist? Now let me see… Isn’t that government by the people for the people? ;-)

Posted by Paul C | Report as abusive

I love the touting of the european system with all it’s free this and free that, of course one never mentions how much taxes are paid for these “free” things. Also people neglect to mention it’s easy to provide social services when your national defense is being subsidized by the US. I don’t know what America some of these people grew up in, but I grew up in one where people strove to be self sufficient and make something of themselves rather than one where the government is there to provide everything and redistribute the hard work of people to those who choose not to.

Posted by Frank Castle | Report as abusive

how disappointing that intellectual elitism and progressive humanism have so deeply gouged the roots of “real” America – hard work, fierce individualism, and a revolutionary spirit that resists the encroachment of federal interference in all aspects of life. These ideals should transcend geography, race, class, and religion – that they no longer do is a sign of the waning spirit that was once America.

Posted by da6d | Report as abusive

any politican using the word ” hate ” is UNREAL

Posted by oberst | Report as abusive

No offense, but I don’t think that Americans are required to consider the European perspective in this election year or any other. I understand that our choices affect the rest of the world, and we can be mindful of that, but in the end we have to do what is best for us. So, though I would like to see us move toward a more secular public speaking style, the occasional reference to God just doesn’t get my hackles up as much as my European friends. Maybe that’s what it means to be a “real American”: the ability to tolerate and even welcome those with whom you disagree in an attempt to build something better for yourself and your family. In the end I think that dream ends up benefiting the whole world.

Posted by Jen C | Report as abusive

What about Canadians? They live in North America too.

I’m shocked that label-pasting has become the modern proxy for rational thought and intelligent, repsectful debate. Today’s issues have more shades of grey can be counted, yet loud-mouthed extremists have convinced a large minority of voters that it’s all black and while; “real” and “unpatriotic”, liberal and conservative. It’s disgustingly simplistic and, worse, totally misleading.

Above, Mr. Jack Serkoff states that some aliens, like CA Governor Schwarzenegger, are more “real” because of his choice of vehicle. Serkoff claims that an American can’t sympathize with European government regimes (“socialism”, as he calls it, obviously not understanding the many parliamentary systems in place overseas). The US government, it may be news to him, has always played an active role in the economic affairs of US enterprise, sponsored programs for the benefit of citizens. In the current “conservative” administration, the greatest government expansion in the history of the county occurred, with token tax cuts for popularity’s sake, dramatic increases in unchecked government spending, and shocking government bailouts of enterprises that overextended themselves in times of lax regulation. This is more “American” than true fiscal responsibility where the government only plays essential roles that private enterprise cannot, and spends only what tax proceeds will allow?

Issues of affordable health care, public transport, and affordable education are indeed critical issues that Americans must improve, since they lag far behind other industrialized in most objective measures of these issues. Serkoff apparently advises that “real” Americans should stick their heads in the sand.

Serkoff further questions “values” of these supposed unreal Americans. He seems to have forgotten the Constitutionally guaranteed right that Americans enjoy – freedom of religion. The separation of church and state allow people of different value systems the right to live and voice their opinions. It should be well remembered that the first European immigrants to America were religious refugees whose beliefs were not mainstream in their native lands.

“Real” social conservative Americans always push their Judeo-Christian beliefs system into matters of the state. Serkoff provides an example. Abortion, in his opinion, must be regulated according to his narrow views, and all other viewholders should be deported. While 99% of the American population agrees that abortion should be avoided in all possible cases, it would be an extremist view that would propose deportation of all women who demand the right to protect their health in the instance of rape, incest, or life-threatening pregnancy complication. Perhaps this issue might best be addressed by a constitutional amendment banning all taking of human life, including the death penalty and offensive war except in cases of self-defense. If you are a “conservative” and/or Christian who believes that it is acceptable to kill an adult but not a child, then your review of the Bible is necessary.

Serkoff goes further to propose that progressive taxation is anti-American. Apparently he doesn’t realize that there are so many progressive and many regressive taxes, they vary dramatically from state to state. Moreover, the loopholes that are best exploited by the financial elite who have teams of professional planners and attorneys managing their offshore estates, effectively burden the middle class much more today than in recent history. Do “real” Americans want to see their society strongly stratified like the European societies that US Founding Fathers specifically went to great lengths to prevent from occurring in the new American society? It will happen when power – the fiscal power – is increasingly held in the hands of the few.

Limits to CEO bonuses wouldn’t be un-American, but they would be fiscally wise for investors. There should be, I hope, a large percentage of Americans who are intolerant of corporate corruption. As it is in the USA, there is inadequate visibility of the riches that corporate officers pocket. There is no incentive for corporate boards not to enrich their friends at the expense of all others, and that is the very definition of modern corruption.

Serkoff, I’m glad to be able to disagree with you on all your points. Because I’m a Canadian-American, and I know my rights, my freedom to publicly disagree with your closed-minded views. The country you describe, with its closed religious-based dogma and doctrines, with restriction of all dissent, more closely resembles Iran than it does the USA … except, of course, that most Iranians were born to a different faith than you were.

Posted by Jean | Report as abusive

Some might remember the famous letter:
“Dear Red States…” A Letter From The Blue!
(http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/sf o/80714812.html)

I think we Americans should not be that narrow-minded and super-patriotic about Europe. There are some good things there to borrow, just like there are some good things to borrow form the USA. I find that the secondary education of Europe outstrips the high-school education. There is far to much “Euro-trashing” in the states, it’s much too easy. And gradually, Europe is forging stronger ties to other countries and the risk is a sort of isolationism. Some countries, and I would rather not mention them, cling to the USA the way that fawning waiter does because he wants a tip. But is that what Americans want? A bootcleaner? Perhaps. But the choice is between forging solid ties again and winning by synergies, or becoming irrelevant. It’s up to the voters, I guess. Because today, unlike what Jen C says, all due respect, you have to vote with a global mind. You want a hothead like McCain, who has no idea where Pakistan is, or that Sunnis and Shiites are different? Or who, embarassingly, believes firmly that Russia aggressed Georgia and whose foreign affairs adviser is a lobbyist for Georgia? Go ahead, lets vote for him, and in a few years we will have about as many friends as North Korea does, because we haven’t grown out of the Cold War mentality.

Cheers

Posted by Talleyrand | Report as abusive

Jean mentions that Canadians live in North America, too. True enough. So do Mexicans, who resent that U.S. nationals call themselves Americans, as if they were the only Americans in North America. Now what about uniting Canada, the U.S. and Mexico in one big, new America? No need for the border wall, then, nor Predator spy planes flying along the U.S.-Canadian border.

Posted by Metternich | Report as abusive

What is a real American? I think that question was best answered back in 1835 by Alexis de Tocqueville in his “Democracy in America.” It’s still accurate. Try reading that instead of listening to self-serving politicians.

Posted by Paul Levin | Report as abusive

If I am an un-real American then perhaps I should start paying my taxes with monopoly money.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

I’ve personally noticed some horrible backlash against individuals advocating the McCain/Palin ticket, much more so than the Dem side. And, in terms of racial aggression, it’s been unreal the comments and actions of blacks in the past several months, as it relates to talking about this election. As a white person, I’ve felt the discrimation has reversed during this election term. It seems almost dangerous to speak any negative against the Dem ticket, because it is immediately perceived as racisit or elitist. In my own case, my views are very conservative, and any liberal would not get my vote. Obama and race? For me, it’s not an issue, but the attitudes and actions of Dem supporters I’ve met have been almost 60ish in nature, in terms of their radical and totally disrespectful nature. And to think, as a child of that era, we worked hard for equality and brotherhood, and now look- it seems to be the reflection of just the opposite.

Posted by Rick | Report as abusive

I am glad to see that “real Americans” are reading the news and commenting on it as we are exercising our constitutional right to freedom of speech! I just hope Americans can remember that this nation is wonderful because it has a history of tolerance for differences. I for one do not care to live in a country where everyone looks the same, talks the same, thinks the same, and people self-censor because they fear the actions of their neighbors. We should not set the bar so low, we turn into a nation of bitter and divided individuals. Are there not enough places like that?

Posted by Carolyn B. | Report as abusive

Change is inevitable. Political systems change to meet the needs of their populace. McCain’s administration, though, will be a change from the ultra-[social]conservatism we’ve seen for the last eight years. A simple examination of the 2000 Republican primary race demonstrates the chasm between Bush and McCain.

The answer to your question as to what differentiates a “Real” American from an “unreal” American is that “Real” Americans subscribe to the idea that the US is a meritocracy. You hear people [immigrants] talk about coming to the US to achieve “The American Dream”. Most of the best works of American Fiction surround themselves around that very theme. “Real” Americans, regardless of socio-economic status, believe that if one works hard enough or is resourceful enough, they can rise above less desirable socio-economic conditions. There is a belief in “pulling oneself up by their bootstraps.” It is this meritocratic belief that is the most crucial element of the American Spirit [and arguably, derivatively, the American Economy].

It has nothing to do with faith in God, small town values, or patriotism. It has everything to do with meritocracy.

I confess that simply hearing the phrase “real American” puts me on guard and especially so in connection with a political campaign. Somehow we have forgotten how difficult it would be to describe such an ideal. We are, after all, constructed as a nation on a foundation of diversity. That construction comes about not simply because we were and are a vast land, and that our history of opening the doors to immigration is unparalleled. It has come about because of the wisdom our founders expressed in the construct of the constitution. In this document, hastily written, lie the tenets that eschew eltism and rejects separation of classes based on wealth or perceived birthright. It also provides the basis by which we celebrate our differences, which understandably are many. Villification of the “other” is not an American ideal, yet inevitably and especially in difficult times, it rears it’s threatening menace. The degree to which we individually express and practice tolerance, in my view at least, reaches for the apotheosis of “real American”.

To Mike: The Constitution of the United States was not written by Thomas Jefferson, he was outside of the United States during the Constitutional Convention. The “individual” most often credited with assembly of the Constitution is James Madison.

That being said, the influence of Thomas Jefferson can clearly be seen in the First Amendment. Thomas Jefferson is noted as having worked with James Madison on this – most importantly on the Freedom of Religion. Thomas Jefferson fought hard to get the Constitution of Virginia to include Freedom of Religion in it – and beseeched James Madison to carry this into the Constitution.

What many people seem to forget, not know, or ignore is the lack of Religious Involvement wanted by the Framers of the Constitution. The Framers saw first hand how Religion was used in Politics to gain additional control of the people – and how effectively it could be used to turn them against one another.

As the majority religious doctrine practiced in the United States is currently Christianity, many want to perceive the nation as a Christian Nation. This, again, is against what was conceived by the Framers and Founders of this Country. There is no mention, whatsoever, of Christianity or a Divine figure in the entirety of the United States Constitution. This is for good reason. While many of the Framers did believe in a deity – they felt any relationship with a Divinity was a personal one – and not something subject to public scrutiny or governmental regulation.

As seen in this link, Article 11 of the U.S. Treaty with Tripoli of 1796-1797 http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/trea ty_tripoli.html, “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen…” the United States was NOT founded as a Country of any Religion.

It is important to note that John Adams, one of the Founders, was the President who signed this Treaty into effect. This Treaty, which was signed less than 10 years after the penning of the Constitution of the United States, clearly states, with no ambiquity, that this is not a Christian Nation. That this is not a God-Fearing nation (on that note, shouldn’t you Love your Deity, not Fear it?). That this is not a nation of a Religion.

The only Faith the Constitution has is the Faith in the People of the United States of America.

Posted by Jeffersonian | Report as abusive

I live in California and I support Obama, as much of the state does. I have noticed among Obama supporters a level of intolerance that I had not seen before, and it is disturbing. Tolerance is the cornerstone of our country – without it we are not America. One might even say, intolerance is truly “un-American.” In a campaign of gray issues, the one clear distinction, is Sarah Palin’s ploy of playing off rural America against urban America. Whereas, Obama or Biden has argued for inclusion and unity. The fact that Palin is unqualified is undeniable (read the Anchorage endorsement for Obama), but the fact that Palin seeks to polarize Americans, makes her un-American and dangerous.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

All that matters is FREE Americans. Stay that way and resist enslavement to bigotted regressive ideology and we in the rest of the free world can all breathe easier. May the Force be with you next week

Posted by Dundee | Report as abusive

I read and liked the commentary. But your choice of best comment was a perplexing. How is the best comment on the column an article about negative retoric – a comment which espouses negative retoric? Either the writer never fully read the column or he didn’t fully understand the column. Perhaps the commentary should have been about how dense people can be. Or perhaps how missing the point is the point! Either way I sure am looking foward to the election ending. Then all of this poorly disguised republican hate speech will go away. Because you can soften criticism of it but we all know its meant to be mean and divisive, you bet ya.

Posted by wayne | Report as abusive

Great comments everyone!

Now that the task of defining the concept of the “real American” has been ‘tackled’, let us digress further by defining the concept of what it is to be a “real Human Being”… dum dum dum… And then let us move on to what the difference between a human being and a human organism is ;)

And laugh out loud (not abbreviated) at fausto for not catching onto Jack Serkoff’s satirical style… i.e. He is mocking the person who he pretends to be!

Some brilliantly written pieces on the Nation that could Still stand as the quintessential result of Enlightenment thought in action. How could any real member of the American nation exclude the products of Ivy League universities or the animal-righters who may squirm at the thought of gun toting governors blasting God’s creatures off the face of the tundra?

Not that God has anything to do with anything; tell my fellow atheists who happen to live in America that they are not real Americans because they have dismissed a fairy tale.

I’m not surprised at this direction in tactics; the politics of division is alive and well and stalking the TV screens in bumble bee hair style and glasses.

Posted by Aussie Eddiie | Report as abusive

And further I am sure my sympathy with the facts of history, combined with the clarity of distance in assessing the big picture allows me claim to be a real American ‘on this distant and fatal shore’(Gold Coast, Queensland). ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…’ Where’s the spirit of inclusion of the most cosmopolitan nation on earth?

Posted by Aussie Eddiie | Report as abusive

“how disappointing that intellectual elitism
and progressive humanism have so deeply gouged
the roots of “real” America – hard work, fierce
individualism, and a revolutionary spirit that
resists the encroachment of federal interference
in all aspects of life. These ideals should transcend
geography, race, class, and religion – that they no
longer do is a sign of the waning spirit that was once America.”

-Posted by da6d

So, I reread this ‘best comment’ and offer my own aphoristic rebuttal—and then some:

Dearest da6d,

Out of your grandiosely ambiguous ROOTS has grown a TREE which—quite simply put—is much more complex and diverse then whence it grew from a seed.

The moral of my trite maxim you ask? If you haven’t already deduced for yourself I will help you. Although the roots have their place, there has been an additional base added (which would be the trunk if I am to continue using this boring analogy). On top of this base, or trunk, has even more complexity added to it with branches and leaves. Basically, I am suggesting you are far oversimplifying things and looking how things were and how things now aren’t (which is a conservative impulse in thinking—this idea of looking back at how things were).

And I believe you were aiming for “RUGGED INDIVIDUALISM” rather than “FIERCE INDIVIDUALISM” ; from which has been borne the notion that people simply can ‘pull themselves up by their bootstraps’ and elevate their social class through “HARD WORK” (I used the bootstrap cliché hoping that it might resonate with my idea of the likes of you).

Be careful not to too quickly jump into categorizing me with YOUR concept of ‘intellectual elitism’ and ‘progressive humanism’…. And as far as I can tell YOUR ‘progressive humanism’ is only a website, not some larger school of thought as you seemingly suggest. You might have meant secular humanism? I can only infer. Cheers! :)

Posted by Potential Carnie | Report as abusive

You know how I know I’m a real American? I look at my birth certificate and then I stop wondering.

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

I am astonished that some “americans” believe that others are “non american” because they have different views? How can the USA be the most free country in the world etc. if this is true?

And im not being funny but surely if anyone is a “real” american its native americans and not the european settlers who claim to be?

Posted by Gary | Report as abusive

Dear Sir,
I have just read your article and I am even more confused than before.
I am a non-American and have over the years met many Americans all of whom had some sort of prefix: Irish-American, Native-American, African-American. Now we have Real-American. Why on earth can’t people in the States just be Americans and be happy with it?

Posted by simon marriott | Report as abusive

Thanks Mike for the compliment. I absolutely agree with you that America was essentially the big brother we all looked up to. The majority of humanities major achievements in the earlier part of the last century were the result of American ingenuity, Wright bro’s first flight, space exploration, Capital markets etc, and it was the Marshal Plan that allowed the rest of post war “Western Economies” to flourish.

A Caveat: this may stray way off point

Frank Castle;
In response to Franks comment “love the touting of the european system with all it’s free this and free that, of course one never mentions how much taxes are paid for these “free” things. Also people neglect to mention it’s easy to provide social services when your national defense is being subsidized by the US…..”

I would consider myself moderately socially conservative, idealistically capitalist, and feel similar frustrations with my own political system (Irish in America). It irks me to see 3rd generation social welfare families who in no way contribute to the national well being or national productivity, I do feel that these people are a burden, who decide not to contribute (In Ireland an individual can claim approx $300 a week basic, before rent, child allowances, free health care etc from social welfare) and rely on tax payers to fund there relatively avaricious life style, But…..

…..Like a lot of Europeans I feel there is a balance to be struck between the free market and social welfare policies (this does not make us socialists!). A balance to be struck between the initiative and ambition created by capitalism and the belief in the nation state fashioned by social systems. A social welfare system like the ones seen in many parts of Europe ensure that people don’t fall under a certain base level of poverty, below which people often descend into serious criminal or anti social behaviour. The ideology behind it from a capitalist stand point is that by giving these people something to lose, they are far less likely to engage in behaviour that results in their imprisonment etc, allowing the residents and visitors to the country to live without that level of fear, hence enjoying there life and expressing themselves to a greater degree.

And without trying to antagonise people, it’s impossible to estimate Europe’s required defence spending without U.S involvement – It is possible for instance it may be less if European countries weren’t allied to the U.S. I personally don’t feel like it’s the U.S.A’s spending on defence infrastructure in Europe that allows E.U countries to provide social welfare to it’s citizens.

Jen
I completely agree with what you said and I didn’t mean to sound so presumptive as to suggest what was “Real American” or “Un-American”. My reasoning for mentioning the “God” issue was primarily because America is so staggeringly diverse, and rapidly evolving due to it’s relatively recent beginnings that I always found it an interesting irony that the God Issue held so much weight on a cumulative stage. I didn’t mean to say it was wrong to do so, but religions in general have always been something I’ve found interesting and it’s not that I get particularly annoyed when I hear it mentioned, but more that I find it intriguing that it holds such weight in a country whom most people would identify as secular. So while I agree with you that my point may not be relevant in the context of this election, I do feel that it’s always worthwhile to be aware of how other countries approach similar situations
Very good point about that possibly being what it means to be real American.

I’d be interested to hear how people would identify a “Real” or “Unreal” European? An American (Canada and Mexico included) would be particularly interesting.

Posted by John Egan | Report as abusive

A real American is a citizen of the USA. Thinking of people as “other” is tolerable but unfortunate. However, considering yourself a real American but not your neighbor, for whatever reason, is bigoted and depending on the reason may be racist.

Posted by DavidBaltimore | Report as abusive

I guess by definition, I’m a “real” American. I was born and raised on a small, family-owned dairy farm in central Ohio. I’ve lived in towns of under 50,000 or in rural areas all of my 64-year life. I consider myself a Christian and try to live a Christ-like life. Our household makes less than $100,000 a year. We took a vacation last fall to Branson, MO, for goodness sakes!

But herein lies my confusion! I’m college educated. I have friends who aren’t just like me (thank Heaven!) I’ve lived in Ohio (rural and small town), Missouri (suburban St Louis and the eastern Ozarks), and coastal California small town. I’ve worked as everything from a car salesman to a teacher to an editor and sales & marketing director of a small business. I bore three children and they all went to (and graduated from) college — with loans. I’ve divorced and remarried.

So what does all of this make me? A DEMOCRAT WHO IS HAPPILY VOTING FOR OBAMA AND PRAYING FOR HIS PROTECTION AGAINST ANGRY, HATE-FILLED, SELF-PROFESSED CHRISTIANS!

I wouldn’t go back to Branson if the vacation were free!

Posted by Carole | Report as abusive

I chuckle when I hear people that live in urban areas wanting to or travelling through rural areas. They find it so quaint and cute and expect it to remain that way for ever. They travel out of their cities to ‘look for America’…how many times have you heard that expression? It’s all over popular culture. It’s not that ‘America’ doesn’t exist in cities, it’s that we identify with our agrarian past and every so often want to take a trip out there and see if it still exists.

Not that people in urban areas aren’t, most people that live in rural areas are ‘genuine’ (for lack of a better word) toward one another and hard working people trying to make their families lives and their communities lives better as they make it through life.

Church is often the central meeting place for many rural persons and so is the focus of their life. Our country was founded with a religious premise and freedom was given to us and ensured by thousands who gave their lives for the cause.

As someone who lives in a rural area, I get a kick out travelling to cities. Shakespeare was right when he said that we are all actors upon a stage. I see so many people in ‘costumes’ trying to impress one another and there is such a lack of connection to nature. It’s almost as if weather is something that get’s in the way of things, but things carry on the same way, everyday in a city. Life in the country is so cyclical and dependant on the seasons.

We’re all American’s and real in one way or another, but why do people feel the need to visit rural areas to ‘find America’ if it is where they already are? Can’t we be tolerant of one other, even if the other person has a different thought pattern than you do? We’re tollerant to so many different so-called alternative lifestyles but not to lifestyles that used to be traditional.

Posted by DaveB | Report as abusive

John McCain and Sarah Palin show once again how “McSame” they are with George W. Bush and how they at “Uniters not Dividers”. LOL

Posted by BlueZolar | Report as abusive

All the rhetoric. The accusations. The pityful illusion of a world they insist that exist. After years of watching the G.O.P do their thing. Lie, cheat, steal and spin logic, their recent antics that seem to have come from a disgruntled teenager brings forth an image with in my head. An image a the devil himself poubting, stomping and crying, when he finally doesn’t get what he wants. I am disgusted and oh so ever tickled pink at the same time.

Posted by Priza | Report as abusive

I love a good debate!

I dont understand people’s fear of socialism. I accept that it’s a step towards communism but they’re are aspects of the socialist premise that i support.

If my neighbour has lost his job or has become ill, I think it is right to offer him support. Whether that’s my taxes to help him meet his mortgage repayments or some of my home made chicken soup . If his illness is a little more serious than a common cold however, i think he’d prefer access to free medical care, it’s not like he chose to get ill.

Obviously this is a simplistic form of socialism but in this instance is it not a case of ‘do unto others as you would have others do unto you’? With reccession looming and unemployment rising all of us without access to private hedge funds, off shore accounts and Double Yaa’s friendship will have to either ‘pull up our boot straps’ or pray to God/god/gods. Instead, why can’t we can all help one another?

I dig the idea of progressive taxation for many reasons but the main thrust is this. Capitalism at it’s best works. Being encouraged by the state to be innovative, hardworking and fruitful is a real blessing. Being given the environment to do so is another and I think it’s right that the better I do in my endeavours because of that freedom, the better the nation does as a whole. i.e more tax. “What belongs to Ceaser….”

I also find it interesting that a country built on the truely aspirational values of freedom of speech, religion and liberty that it wouldn’t vote for a man who wasn’t a Christian. Religion is personal thing and judging a man on by your own beliefs often undermines the religion you espouse. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” As a practising Christian ( i actually go to church and sing the songs willingly…;-)) i’ve found i have enough sin of my own to worry about…let alone that of others.

Religion and politics are powerful bed fellows and in my opinion any democratic election influenced by anything other than politics itself isn’t a free election. I welcome the day an American citizen stands for presidential election and declares himself to be a Muslim.

And i can imagine the shiver thats just run down your spine. But it’s his constitutional right and you can’t take that away from him.

The whole world has been inluenced by the internal and foriegn policy of the USA and it’s allies. On Nov 2nd the whole world will be watching and hoping for a new beginning. A world where any life is precious, we can all realise our ambitions, a world where we can be exactly who we want to be without fear of recrimination or reprisal. So for me their is only one clear person to vote for and I hope that America agrees with me.

Posted by The King | Report as abusive

[...] though, you meant that he is the voice of Governor Palin’s America, you know, real America.  I imagine that being a place where spending tax revenue on social programs is the only criterion [...]

It seems clear we do need change here in the USA. We need to be gutless and self centered like the europeans for a bit, just so we remember why it doesn’t solve anything. We also need a democratic executive and legislative branch to remind us that they are just as bad, well IMHO far worse than the current batch of clods and cronies we have now. Then the next congressional election we can get rid of many of them and bring the needed dual party system of gridlock to keep the federal government in check. I look forward to the disillusionment that will occur once Obama actually gets elected and people see what an empty promise his non policy of being not George W. Bush gets them.
Change in and of itself is not good. Don’t ever forget it can get worse, and if you actually work and try to better yourself it will under the new socialist programs being touted. I’d be all in favor of redistributing the money of corporations and old money, but sadly the only people who get punished by these socialist policies are those people who manage to drag themselves up to the top of the middle class. They pay for the excesses of the truly rich and the laziness of the poor.
Oh well I don’t get mad anymore, I just chuckle thinking about how foolish some people will look in a few years. Anyways, like I said sometimes you need to suck it up and deal with a few bad years of liberal nonsense to try to get us back to the center where we belong. I’d hope for a real viable 3rd party but I fear it will never happen, so the best we can hope for is that the people realize that neither party, in their current forms represent most people and hopefully they will be forced to change.

Posted by Frank Castle | Report as abusive

As someone who tends to have conservative views on many subjects and progressive ones on others, I find it increasingly disheartening to listen to the arguments that America can only move forward in a purely conservative or a purely progressive manner. Conservatives tend to think that America needs to be what it once was, and progressives tend to think that America needs to be what it should be. Both forms of thought utilize idealized and unrealistic concepts. Unfortunately, both sides seem to think that the ideas of the other are unworthy of consideration. What ever happened to the idea of taking a bunch of ideas THAT MAKE SENSE from both sides and the middle and trying to make America what it will be, regardless of what it should be. This would, however, entail giving the finger to the 15% of people on BOTH far ends of the spectrum who long ago stopped giving a rat’s a$$ about an original thought.

Posted by Simandl | Report as abusive

Independence from some centralized power, conservatism in applying only what our own knowledge dictates or keeps interpreting from older experience including what we learned, some type of fear of the unknown, seem to be the philosophy of those who call themselves “real Americans” opposed to the other ones who are curious, try to rely in some way on an increasing and developing knowledge, on an undefined future which, obviously, creates some anguish and who, in some way, could maybe question, at the end of the day, about God reality.
This becomes a highly philosophic question.
However Human progress – and America has widely cooperate to it – obeys to 2 human gifts:
Curiosity and the law of the less effort (better use of our own Human energy) as the invention of the wheel provided us.
We do need experience in order not to repeat former mistakes but we need, as well, curiosity in order to know how to go ahead.
Feeling that only past is reliable means refusing future and, therefore, implies “de-synchronization” with our present.

May I add that Europeans believe that Governments are (or at the least) should be aware of EVERY development and their future implications?

I can’t believe that Americans are having a debate on who is “real” or not! I wholeheartedly agree with the commenters who ask about immigrants, etc. As a U.S. native, I was raised to believe that anyone who was born in the U.S. or became a citizen was an American. There was also a time not too long ago when our nation welcomed anyone who wanted to live in states as an Americam-to-be (I’m talking about the ’80s and ’90s, by the way). What a sad day it is when we’re questioned and defined as real or unreal, patriotic or unpatriotic for the sake of politics. Do politicians stop and think how hurtful it is that they want to govern all of us but only really care about some of us? That’s what it’s been like under that Bush guy, if you’re not a republican and cheerleader for the Iraq war. Americans used to be able to disagree and have all kinds of various ideas, until only one type of ideology became the norm. We’ve lost our identity as Americans, and it must be quite perplexing to citizens of other countries who don’t seem to have this problem. I don’t often read about real or unreal Canadians or Russians or Brits; we’ve become a disjointed bunch who’s lost our standing in the world. Here’s to hoping that some type of dignity can be restored when this election is over and done.

Posted by C. Fay | Report as abusive

For The King – you should try living in a country with socialist rule, you’ll soon realize that what some people claim to be the “human rights” of others conflict directly with your rights to own property and create wealth. In a socialist country, those without look to those who have and think it should be theirs, no matter how the one who has it got it. It is un-American to stick your hand out and expect everything to be given to you. After many generations of socialism, people believe that it is their right is to be provided for and do not accept that personal sacrifice and hard work are often needed to get what one wants and needs. Redistribution of wealth is also anti-American. Would you have the US go through an agrarian reformatory program where the land is taken from the wealthy and given to the poor? Ag reform is a quite common policy of socialist governments and I challenge you to give me an example of when and where it has worked. Of course I am not claiming that Obama would support such a thing, but we’re talking about Socialism here. Obama says he’s not a Socialist, but it’s very clear that he has quite the disdain for wealthy people; except those multi-millionaire actors and artists that have given him so much money for his campaign. There’s nothing wrong with creating wealth, it comes straight from the essence of being human – to create, innovate, hell, to try to be better than the next guy, be it in a spelling contest in school, to beating the other team in basketball, and yes, to being better than your colleague and getting that promotion instead of him. Competition is real American, and Socialism quells competition, because hey, what’s mine is yours. Socialism hammers down that nail that sticks up and tries to be different. The good of the majority tends to curtail the desire of everyone. As an American who has lived outside the country now for nearly 15 years, from southern France, to Scotland, Spain and now Chile, traveling for months at a time to Russia, Central and South America and to the Middle East (if only Egypt), I have seen all types of government and I can tell you that Socialism is far from being the real “American Way”. No-one can argue that it’s not anyone’s fault when they get sick, and that the poor were, in most cases, born into it, but better than any country in the world so far, America provides the opportunity for those people to move up and out of poverty through their own hard work. I grew up on a farm in southwest Idaho, paid for my own university education, and then postgraduate education, worked for multinational companies and now am a partner in my own company. I mailed in my vote for McCain three weeks ago and am still glad I did not vote for Obama. I can understand why people don’t want another George W. Bush, and I voted for Kerry for that very reason. I can see that the US needs change, and I can’t stand the religious right and their self-serving belief that their morals are the only ones with any virtue and I have been disappointed with McCain’s campaign and how he has bowed to the neo conservatives, becoming someone that I don’t recognize from the real McCain, but I can see through Obama’s rhetoric from thousands of miles away down here in the far corner of the Earth. He is a master at saying what the crowds want to hear, and right now the US is in such a state that a crowd mentality has taken over. Obama has spent his entire political career campaigning for something, and very little actually doing anything, his short 3 years in the Senate speak for themselves. John McCain’s 25 in the Senate also speak for themselves, and whether or not he’s more of a real American than Obama or vice versa makes no difference to me. Do I consider myself a real American? Who cares? Unfortunately, Mr. Castle’s comments are probably the ones that we, at least I, will be remembering and can only hope, as I believe he does, that the lessons from a failed Obama presidency, made possible by a Democratic led Congress in both houses, will not be forgotten.

Posted by Dennis Korte | Report as abusive

Potential Carnie: Good for you to note the satire. I was getting a little worried…

Posted by Jack Serkoff | Report as abusive

I am disappointed by the many recent fanatical descriptions of “socialism”. It is hilarious that the term raises such fear in some Americans (especially “real Americans”). These people mistake bad policy for socialism and have difficulty distinguishing the different degrees of ideology. No European state is “socialist” (Merriam-Webster: “governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods; a system of society or group living in which there is no private property”). Moreover, the USA is not entirely capitalist or free-market. Alas, “real” Americans may never see how, in many ways, America is far behind the advances of “Old Europe”. By objective analysis, the world’s oldest democracy is falling behind newer “socialist” democracies. In an attempt to catch up with the educational and health benefits that these other democracies offer their citizens, the “real American” Republican candidate himself recommends billions of dollars of government intervention into private enterprise and stimulus in the form of research grants for specific initiatives that he deems important.

It appears that “conservatives” and Republicans, just like Democrats, strongly support socialism when they benefit from it, but unlike “liberals” they lambast it whenever it aids someone else. Such hypocritical behavior, then, is not surprising after witnessing the Republican party scaring the populace of “one-party rule” in 2008 while spending the entire 2004 campaign convincing people how much more efficient government would be if it controlled both legislature and executive.

As an independent (a “real North American”?), I feel that collaboration between public and private interests is inevitable and natural. Modern civilization will ALWAYS be partially “socialist”, because there are some things that private enterprise simply cannot do well. Remember, those live in the UNITED States of America, that you UNITED to accomplish something that no one could accomplish alone. Now greed has cleaved the country in two parts. Healing the strife will not occur by pasting fear-inciting labels, but by the elimination of waste wherever it exists and regulating the nation’s affairs for the long-term health and stability of all, not for the quick buck this fiscal quarter. Shamefully, “free market” advocates appear largely ignorant of the bureaucratic inefficiencies of corporate market control – often in the form of poorly regulated duopoly. Apparently freedom of choice between A or B meets their requirement for efficient competitive market operation. I propose that healthy markets are ones in which efficient regulation maintains a level playing field for all market participants over the long term, high efficiency lowers the barriers to customer and competitor market access, and the consumer has multiple choices. This indeed requires competent government to ensure that resources are not squandered by the highest bidder, but rather used in a sustainable manner for the maximum benefit of all stakeholders. This is not socialism, this is long-term planning. One prime example of hypocrisy on the part of the Neo-Con/Republican/Maverick party is the illogical support for nuclear powerplants. The reason that one hasn’t been built in the USA for decades is because a business case can’t be made without the help of government funding. The current nuclear plants that exist can’t even afford to protect their spent fuel without federal aid. Do “real Americans” support socialism if it means “energy independence”?

“Redistribution”, thanks to Mr. Wurzelbacher, is now a hot-button issue. Sadly, extremists like him miss the point. Unjust, unethical, or immoral profits should ALWAYS be recaptured and returned or redistributed. That is justice. This is not to say that all billionaires are thieves, however, regulation and tax policy should create equal opportunity, not allow handouts for the well-connected. No one is proposing American adopt unfair or unethical policies of redistribution (as in Zimbabwe, for example). Most employees recognize that an entitlement-mentality is a morally shameful condition that affects lazy people (in my experience, just as many in the USA as anywhere else). No one objected to the re-distribution of Saddam Hussein’s wealth. Would any “real American” object to redistributing Kim Jung Il’s wealth? Likewise, all wealth that “free market capitalists” have garnered by lobbyist intervention, market manipulation, and loophole-creating tricks is also unethically gained and, yes, should be redistributed. To do so will take a massive sweep of corrupt legislators, Senator Stevens being only the tip of the iceberg. Dramatically revised legislation should streamline regulation and government operation, not eliminate it via hatchet as both Bush and McCain have advocated. Legislation should not be vehicles for earmarked pork and handouts slipped in after midnight, often by those who proudly campaign on a small-government platform. Call me “socialist” or “liberal” or “an unreal American” if you so desire, but I believe that special interests and corporate entities should not be allowed to directly write legislation, fund candidates’ campaigns, and dominate city councils. I believe that government waste is largely due to special interest’s grip of the election system and the two major political parties. What American needs is not more “real” Americans, it is to reform itself into a more pure democracy where the ideas of collaboration are not squelched by one of two self-interested parties funded by pork-hungry special interests.

If only Teddy and the Bull Moose party were here today…

Posted by Jean | Report as abusive

@JF Chalmers:
“…it is the sinister embryonic beginnings of something akin to Kristalnacht in 1938 Germany.”

Ohh, the drama, my man, Theeee drama! I think you can count on it being far, far from Naziism. You are very, very DRAMATIC though. Good stuff!

Posted by Jon O | Report as abusive

Here is the problem I have with government, beyond their job of providing security for the nation and being a watchdog over the money managers, and securing our boarders, what I look for is what is government not going to do to me, versus, what is government going to do for me. Too much of the nation has been led down the path to believing they are entitled. They vote for anyone that says they will give them more.

We have a governmental body of legislators on both sides that are more interested in their power base than they are in actually accomplishing the good that they can do for the nation.

As a nation, unfortunately, we get what we have become. Like a swamp we attract what we have become (the bugs in the swamp) versus the swamp being there because of the bugs. Congress is a reflection of who we are. We are not a result of congress. A great majority should be cleaned out and start over with people that have a passion for a great nation, versus a passion for their position in life.

Our family has been in the position of being eligible for unemployment and food stamps and I suppose other hand outs the government might give out. It never crossed our minds to put our hand out.

Our personal condition was tough through no fault of our own. We did not look to someone else or the government to bail us out. We did it on our own. Yes we ate a few meals at other people’s homes that knew of our condition. We in turn have helped others.

I came from a family with little education. I worked my way through college over 15 year period. I have worked hard. I have gone into debt to develop a concept and idea to teach America to become better fiscally responsible. I am now 100% debt free. I am about ready to realize a dream of building and helping others. I do not want a government that wants to redistribute my wealth after 40 years of hard work. If I can do it, so can others.

We have our own program of giving. Let me give and target who I want to receive our funds. Let others take on their own responsibility to develop their skills. We need to get government as far out of our lives as possible.

I am disheartened to see how accepting the nation is becoming of redistribution. Everyone, I mean, everyone should pay their fair share, but not more than their fair share. That goes all the way from the bottom to the top.

I would guess the millions that have been receiving from government don’t want to give it up and want more. Our education departments in our major colleges and even on down through the school system are teaching these concepts early in order to win over the ideology that what someone else has earned really belongs to them. That concept has to be a sick concept and should not exist as part of our culture.

Instead teach that anything is possible if you put your mind to it and you become accountable to yourself and your community. That is the real drive behind the success of America. Why change it?

On November 4th, Sarah Palin, Robin Hayes, FOX ‘News’, and the talk radio bloviator cadre will likely discover that they are not the only ‘Real Americans’!

Posted by Jon Hall | Report as abusive

Sure, on one level it’s arbitrary, but in terms of real attitudes it does matter.

I’ve developed a simple test to determine where a person’s real loyalties lie – most Liberals fail this test because there are no consequences for claiming to be pro-American while being anti-American.

If you believe you have a right, or duty to criticize the United States yet fail to tolerate criticism of your preferred identity then you are not really pro-American, in fact that you criticize not out of love but of intolerance suggest that you are anti-American.

Posted by Aaron Truitt | Report as abusive

Jean,

If you love socialism so much, please move to Europe or Cuba or Scandnavia! You are an unreal American. This nation was funded on the principles of freedom! Freedom of association, freeodom of religion, freedom of the press AND THE FREEDOM TO PURSUE HAPPINESS! Success comes by working hard, and it’s NOT a right. If you don’t try you don’t succeed. If you’re unable to try because of some disability, then it’s up to CHARITABLE organizations to help you, NOT the government. The kind of “cooperation” between the public and private sector that you praise is what has gotten us into the financial mess we’re in right now. FANNY MAE?!?

Think about it!

Posted by tdog | Report as abusive

tdog

A few guys in Wisconsin once told me that America was the greatest country in the world. When I asked them what countries they’d been to, they stared at me blankly. When I asked them what other states they’d been to, they said Minnesota. 2 states in one country in the whole world and these well educated guys were presumptive enough to insist that America was the greatest country in the world, and that they would tolerate no debate.

tdog, have you ever been to Cuba, Europe or Scandinavia? tdog have you ever read or watched any type of informative international media?? Because I am absolutely shocked that somebody who is intelligent enough to spell “Reuters” in order to get to this website can throw out those regions and socialist in the same breath. Firstly Cuba is a communist regime, I’m going to assume you are aware of the difference. Secondly Scandinavia is part of Europe the cotenant and all but Norway are part of the E.U, but it is part of the European Economic Area. Thirdly, the E.U is composed of 27 independent sovereign countries. Each country has it own political system according to the wishes of its electorate.
It’s astounding how many people on this thread have inferred that, one, Europe is entirely socialist and two, that there are socialist states in Europe. Tdog goes as far to juxtapose Europe and Cuba. EUROPE and CUBA!!!!!!

Stubbornly idiotic ideologies like that are much of the reason that much of the world are aware of the growing level of cynicism directed at the united states. The U.S is the most advanced, the richest, most diverse country in the world, a beautiful country I love living in but it is also the country who places the greatest emphasis on the rights of the individual as opposed to their responsibilities at the expense of the majority. It is in my eyes a staggering behemoth, that resists change or flexibility.

Many Americans feel they are required to patronisingly demean everyone else for a reason I struggle to get my head around, as if the countries with thousands of years of history and civilisation have nothing to teach the relative novice. How about directing some of that cynicism inwards at a country that claims to be the most democratic in the world yet every vote is not equal, a majority vote does not mean governance, and a country of 300 MILLION people ruled by just 2 parties!!!just 2!so everyone has to subscribe to either one black or white ideology or the other? The most diverse country in the world provides only two political philosophies? Is it socialist that in Europe they have representation from far more groups? I don’t see European posters insisting they’re right at the expense of American ideas.

You can’t really think tdog that extreme free market behaviour can provide a functioning society? It would mean the collapse of the nation state and all its synergy and personality, the rise of the individual , the prioritising of the here and now instead of development for future generations. Surely you see the need for balance? A flexible balance that would change from country to country and from time to time to suit the requirements of the day and provide for current and future generations? Anybody who’s good at anything realises the importance of balance and adaptability. Or is it socialist to provide for the future generations of your country? If the free market reigned supreme, it would be irrelevant as to who or what the characteristics of a “real” or “unreal “ American were because there would be no loyalty to your country or its future. Your loyalty would be to yourself in your most current state, the complete collapse of personal responsibility, self sacrifice (this coming from a trader) and most importantly from the clichéd Americana perspective, patriotism.

To reitterate the point I made earlier- there are no socialist countries in Europe, and comparing Europe and cuba is so ridiculous tdog should feel obliged to clarify and justify his point

Posted by JD | Report as abusive

tdog

trying to blaim the collapse of fannie mae on a political ideology at this point is completely unfounded and without basis. Its intriguing though, that you think you figured out the root cause(and by inference the cure) of a global financial collapse that the majority of people would have thought would have taken many years to unravel. ( many of the MBS products alone have term structures not maturing for the next 10 years).

Posted by JD | Report as abusive

First to Mr. Serkoff – I was worried that perhaps I had read in the satire incorrectly, when so many comments seemed to take your words at face value. I scrolled back up to read at least twice, saying to myself, “Surely, he was being sarcastic (or satirical)…” and getting alarmed that my radar was off when so many responses clearly took you literally. I’m glad that my radar isn’t broken.

Many people do not seem to be able to understand the differences between socialism, communimism, and -frighteningly – fascism. They are getting tossed into the same pot with the heat slowly rising until one can use any of them interchangably to engender equal amounts of alarm.

Medicare is a “socialist” program. So is social security. Any one want to give those up? So is Medicaid. So is public education. Should we take those of the list? I suppose when painted with the broadest brush, the fact that I can rely on a funded, trained, equipped military to keep me safe so I don’t have to keep a loaded rifle under my bed could be lumped in there too. I pay taxes for those services, I expect them to benefit me. Oh, and I want libraries too. And I don’t want to have to go buy gravel to fill in the potholes in my roads. Could someone…some agency perhaps…pool my money with other peoples’ money to take care of the roads so that I can drive to work without damage to my car or my back?

There was also a decision some time back in legislation that certain services were life-sustaining and public health sustaining and should be free from possible corruptive influences that can accompany the free-market. Because someone who just might have a little too little integrity might want to take advantage of what people will pay for a life-sustaining product (like water, perhaps, or electricity.) And lo and behold, when the California Legislature de-regulated the energy industry, California got held hostage by energy companies who knew that Californians (being a tech-dependent state that exists mostly in a desert) would pay whatever they needed to pay to live and work.

And perhaps health care is one of those products now too. Am I “entitled” to want to be free from disease and injury? Am I a “socialist” for thinking that my health should NOT be a for-profit opportunity? Am I un-American for being frustrated that my health premiums are going up at a rate many, many times that of inflation while I have to simultaneously worried that some critical service for myself or my children might not be covered?

Intriguingly, the top companies of the country are often successful because the LOOK at other successful companies, figure out what they’re doing right, and then emulate them. It’s a very successful business strategy. And we applaud business success. But the suggestion that we should look at other countries and see what they’re doing right and try to emulate them is somehow unpatriotic. This is ridiculous.

The most patriotic thing I can think of is looking at the country you love and call home and think to yourself, “What would make us even better?” Who’s doing it right? Who’s doing it wrong? Who made bad choices, who broke their promises? What is doing us harm, what will make us strong? Blind allegiance is dangerous, commitment without introspection and analysis is too.

Down that road lies fascism. Far, far scarier that socialism.

Posted by loreleiO | Report as abusive

In response to Jack Serkoff’s comment. You’re either the most ignorant person to have posted a comment thus far (don’t worry you’re in good company) or your particular style of sarcasm is much too subtle.

To suggest that any immigrant seeking citizenship in the U.S. should somehow be tested (or perhaps you would suggest tortured) to ensure that they hold the same intolerant/xenophobic/close-minded ultra-conservative ideas that you seem cursed with is frighteningly incomprehensible.

Are you sure you understand or genuinely believe in democracy?

Posted by Colin MacArthur | Report as abusive

I have been to the UK several times in the past decade, my last trip in March 2008. The handful of people I became acquainted with from a nearby pub had strong opinions on their economy & socialized medicine – none of it good or optimistic. Blue collar, white collar, former military- most of them spoke like they have no chance of a better life. Nice bunch of people, and I felt really bad for them. In 2005 I had the pleasure of witnessing a political demonstration in London protesting the 35 hour work week- as in they argued it is too many hours to work & should be lowered to 30. I thought “what a bunch of wussies!” From what I saw, this is what being raised in a socialist system does to young minds & spirits.

I’ve done my time as a low income American. I’ve been uninsured, worked 2 jobs to make ends meet & endured my husband’s layoff and the BS of economic policies like the marriage tax penalty. Now at age 38, my family has a home in a decent neighborhood with good schools and we have a good health care plan. This is due to working hard, living within our means, and aiming to make our lives better. Hell no do I want my kids thinking it’s OK to wallow in failure and not try for success because the government will take care of them! Hard working innovative people are what makes the US strong. Change for the good of this country will not be found in the empty promises of politicians, but in our own communities, from neighbor to neighbor. Nobody running for pres. can fix our schools, because it has to start with parents who value education and instill it in their kids. And think again if government controlled health care will make it better- all that will happen is the costs will go up & everything will take an extra 6 months to process. Government is not efficient. I don’t like either Obama or McCain, but “redistributing the wealth” is a very, very slippery slope.

I also want to say that as a stay-at-home mom on a shoestring budget, I’m really going to miss the Bush tax cuts that will expire under Obama in 2010. Anybody else with me on that one?

Posted by Christy | Report as abusive

Interesting question. IMHO, the only real Americans are Native Americans. Every body else is an immigrant, or descended from immigrants.

When Republicans wonder why they have done so poorly this election cycle it is precisely because of questions like this. Don’t question the patriotism of your fellow Americans because we don’t agree with the illegal acts of the Bush administration. Don’t question the patriotism of those Americans who want all of the volk to succeed, have affordable mortgages, and affordable health care.

Those that don’t want that are probably more un-American than the rest, as they put their own success and profit before that of the volk.

The real Americans will show themselves on November 4th and show their power at the ballots. From delusion to reality is a short shrift.

What worries me most about the non-American rhetoric is that it may continue roiling during Obama’s term should he be elected. The implication of that may move beyond typical politics.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

Hmmm! As an ex-pat. Aussie living through this hellish election season, may I give you my perspective? OK Thanks.
So here is how I see it from my Northern California home. 50% of Americans are really fabulous, hard working, neighborly, mind their own business kind of great people.

The others – born-again whacko’s who don’t believe that the rest of us Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus or heathens have a right to vote! Serious bunch of kooks who IMHO still revel in the thought of the KKK. Oh and did I mention the word ORDINARY – these folk would like an ORDINARY person to become President – phew!

I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want an ORDINARY pilot flying my plane, nor and ORDINARY surgeon waving a scalpel over my son’s belly, nor do I want and ORDINARY person in charge of that big red button.

Posted by Karen Cunningham | Report as abusive

To the Europeans who pain to see greatness and leadership from America again: Thank you.

To my fellow Americans who think that people who hate those who disagree with you: I pray for you.

I’ve never seen any chapter or verse in Mark, Matthew, Luke or John where Jesus says “welcome Hatred into your heart and make room for it to live there.”

I was a morose, wounded dog back when the Supreme Court selected Bush. I was 100% behind him after 9/11. I broke back when the fraud of WMD became smelly.

BTW, does anyone remember that Bush promised to bring integrity back to the presidency? What would prefer – Bill Clinton – a competent, pragmatic President who got cheated on his wife, -OR-, the skin deep tool who trashed the country?

Tomorrow, my vote goes for Obama because he is articulate and an effective at running a crisp campaign.

Ideally, he will also be pragmatic and continue his shift to the center!!!

Posted by SonOfHistoryProf | Report as abusive

I’m an unreal America, by the Republican definition. Too bad, then, that I pay very real US taxes and social security. If only there was an exemption for us unreal Americans. Or is it only “real” Americans who should pay lower taxes?

Either way, I’m not about to find out. The Republicans will never get a vote from me in my lifetime if they continue to spout this exclusionist neo-Nazi nonsense.

Posted by D Nicol | Report as abusive

loreleiO,

Thanks for your post (and a few others above yours in one way or another, as well) – I’m time pressed but the level of inner angst in me rises whenever I read the remarks from such blindly self-righteous people as a few of the posters here, and so many elsewhere.

Yes – for some time I have been asking what is so wrong with considering how somethings are done in other countries and then in the spirit of ‘Great America’ tuning the concept to our better advantage.

People seem to forget – or by failing their own educations – are ignorant of the fact that we did not invent democracy, for example. They fail to acknowledge that our form of government is a refinement of philosophies that had origins not only in ancient times in Europe but that many ideas were actually borrowed from some of the original Native Americans.

We hear the narrow thinking scream about the taxes that Europeans pay for such things as health care – yet they won’t admit that the 12k plus that the average family coverage costs an employer (before one’s deductibles and employee charges) is in fact a tax. Never mind that they might get more pay from the unburdened employer that does not have to shoulder that horrific expense… Never mind that the ambitious small entrepreneur might be able to attract good talent if they were able to compete in the realm of health care benefits.

Such is the god-awful thinking of so many small minded Americans. Speaking of god-awful, it is literally quite god-awful the role to which religiosity has ascended to in our national discourse. Those who claim that this country was founded on a religious premise are so mis-informed I nearly puke to consider how ignorant so many are. Fact is – the country was largely founded by those who determined that religious influence on matters of government was particularly abhorrent – not the other way around.

All of the above are in fact – testament to the failures of past parents to actively engage in their offspring’s education and an unwillingness to believe the facts that they were reading.

One of the above posters even asserts that Jefferson wrote the Constitution, when in fact, Jefferson was not even in the country (he was an Ambassador overseas) while the Constitution was being penned. His influence depended on the degree to which James Madison and others he wrote to would carry his thinking into the document. Fortunately his good friend Madison honored his arguments to a reasonable degree. Indeed when someone says ‘Father of the Constitution’ (though it was by convention) they are saying ‘James Madison’ who was considered the single greatest influence on that marvelous document.

I wonder, when one of these narrow minded Americans is faced with a burning home, how they would feel if their neighbors merely offered to loan them their garden hoses and buckets, fire departments being the apparatus of evil socialists – you know.

Posted by tpartier | Report as abusive

Growing up I spent half my life in large cities and the other half in small rural communities. When I had the chance I came home to the rural south.

I don’t much care for large cities, the northeast, the west coast, Hollywood, or the Democratic party that represents them. I don’t wish them harm I just wish they’d leave me alone. Giving me Obama as president isn’t leaving me alone.

While I won’t do anything illegal I’ll certainly do my best to engage in civil disobedience whenever and wherever possible. With the election of Obama I simply cannot consider myself a citizen of this country any longer.

Posted by Eric | Report as abusive

Thank God,i changed my party affiliation long before.Republicans are war mongering party and they are sponsored by the rich and conglomerate and these jerks are greedy and money hungry.They put up their dummy and go for hunting.Any person call Mccain/Palin true american or patriot,forget it,they just want to be elected and rest to the story is Bush.Who cares if this country of ours goes bankrupt or turn out to be one the third world countries.Look at canada and us,where are we going.

Posted by Khanzada | Report as abusive

‘Real’ America is a concept born of fear. Fear has become the foundation of the American political right. Conservative leaders understand fear as the most effective means of motivating their electoral base. Right-wing demagogues like Sarah Palin capitalize on the anxieties afflicting insular white populations throughout this country. They tap into fears of the foreign and of the future. They tell them their traditional values are under threat from liberals and minorities, indeed from the federal government itself, and that they must be prepared to fight for their way of life. After stoking these fires, they douse them with assurances that they will prevail because they, and they alone, are the ‘real’ Americans.

This kind of tactic is grotesque, misleading, and divisive. It obviously holds no broad appeal across the political spectrum. For me it stands as yet another example of politics that cling to American mythology rather than American potential.

Posted by Andrew | Report as abusive

According to “ProudAmerican”, I don’t count. I am a naturalized American who came here from a repressive Socialist regime. Yet I think a nationally cohesive health plan, at a very basic level, would be great. I think going back to Glass-Seagall would be a good thing. I am pro-choice. I am pro-gun. I am an independent. I didn’t leave my country of origin, my language, my culture, my family and friends, and my dog behind the Iron Curtain just to come here and be told by some political party what to think and how to feel. Now THAT would be un-American. Shame on you, ProudAmerican.

Posted by Kate | Report as abusive

American Indians. My colleague mentioned this today and I reckon he’s got a point. They would have to be the most “real” Americans around. Or is it un-american to mention such a thing?

Posted by Luke Mitchell | Report as abusive

It dissapoints me to read the comments in here. An American is just to simple. We are the one’s that know America is a REPUBLIC, yes thats Right a REPUBLIC. I think most in here do not even know that simple fact. We are allowed to agree and disagree. We debate, heck some times we just argue. We Americans are entitle to our own oppinions. Get it? We AMERICANS want answers. It is our Country, and the people we elect are just that. Elected persons to office. Hopefully more than 30% of you vote. Not likley though. Data does not lie and does not show many more do vote. So I will say to all of you that call Republican’s all these off full thing’s I say REPUBLIC to you!!! The answer is yes to Question American UnAmerican, if WE Americans vote it in then that is what it is. My vote is for America, UnAmerica. It is my RIGHT. I will vote McCain, its my vote. Tommorrow will tell. Because I am an AMERICAN I will HONOR how we AMERICAN UnAMERICAN deside. “TODAY IS TODAY TOMMORROW WILL BE ANOTHER DAY” as is all days. GOD BLESS AMERICA! McCAIN PALIN 08.

Posted by Larry | Report as abusive

um for all this rhetoric… Isn’t the question of what makes a real American moot? I mean, are we not all human first? And everything else second? Take away colour, creed, religious beliefs, gender from our conversations and maybe we have a chance to treat each other with humanity.

Besides what I would love to see is an unofficial global vote – that is, a vote that allows everyone who cannot vote in the American elections a chance to vote. It would be interesting to see what the rest of the world thinks of this election.

And on that note I would vote for Obama – only because McCain/Palin keeps going down the personal attack track – And winners don’t focus on beating their opponents – the focus on being the best they can possibly be..

g

Posted by Grantus Maximus | Report as abusive

I just voted for Barack Obama and Joe Biden – Phew, does that feel good, very exciting even. Our normally sleepy little town was a BUZZ of enthusiasm at 7.02am. And yes this American had to wait 30 minutes to cast my ballot. Usually I am in and out in less than two minutes and that includes exchanging pleasantries with the polling people. Today, we have three times more polling staff than usual, and it is the busiest scene that I have seen here in 14 years – WOW! We are a largely democratic town, so if this is any indication of peoples’ desire for a better future (for us all), then we are a good indicator. I know that the world is watching with bated breath, so I thought I would share this.

And as for Larry (posted today at 12.09GMT), hopefully a great change will mean that he can better his education as well.

Posted by Karen Cunningham | Report as abusive

Here Here Grantus.

Posted by The King | Report as abusive

I believe the whole notion of “competition” is flawed and inefficient. why should there be a “loser” and a “winner” for eveything? Can’t we improve upon that? Constantly toiling away in relative isolation and being prorietary seems incerdibly wasteful and selfish – why not SHARE? if anyone loses, in a sense we all lose. shouldn’t we realize now that we’re all in this together and start working WITh one another and helping each other and cooperating? it’s so sad that we insist on being selfish and combative. our resources are dwindling, while poulation grows. Me only have ONE finite planet. it’s inevitable that we’ll be forced to cooperate or we won’t survive, so it seems to me you can get over your GREED and colossal sense of entitlement, and the quicker the better. Americans are unquestionably the most spoiled, narcissistic people on the face of the planet.. we consume most of the worlds goods and resources, including most of the oil, and are wasteful and arrogant in the extreme). We have a HUGE number of people in prisons, and the middle calss has been vainshing as the ranks of the poor and the rich grow. NOT a pretty picture.

Posted by Hans | Report as abusive

I noted one previous commentator stated that: “Ag reform is a quite common policy of socialist governments and I challenge you to give me an example of when and where it has worked.”
To quote a bit of Japanese history, one of the major social reforms conducted by the US during its post WWII occupation of Japan was a massive redistribution of private wealth, through aggricultural reform and the break-up of industrial conglomerates. In fact, roughly 70% of the country’s agricultural land was confiscated and redistributed to peasants. According to historians, the US occupation forces thought that the best way to establish foundations for a democratic nation was to alleviate the economic inequalities which existed in Japan at that time. Well anyways, I just thought it was worth mentioning the irony that if you spoke with an elderly Japanese farmer, he would probably equate “American Values” more in line with wealth re-distribution and social engineering.

Posted by T from Tokyo | Report as abusive

It is amazing to see the true values of the Republicans in this country. They have become mean, vicious and petty when they don’t get their way and have chased away any and all moderates, be they Democrat, Republican or independent. The party has been distilled to a loathsome and vile political entity. It will take years, if ever to rebuild it and it may even fracture and cease to exist.

Posted by David Dee | Report as abusive

Eric said: “With the election of Obama I simply cannot consider myself a citizen of this country any longer”.

Well, Eric then its time for you to find another country, say Russia or Venezuela.

Posted by David Dee | Report as abusive

The MOST patriotic thing we can do as Americans is to question our government, question our leaders, stand up for what we believe in, and voice our differing opinions. These are the very things we fought a revolutionary war over. They are at the very core of what it means to be an American. Yet the people who do this are the very people that the rest are calling Un-American or Anti-American.

That is what is most sad about this election and this article.

Posted by Kristy | Report as abusive

To Jack Serkoff: I’m in favor of allowing all aliens to come to the United States, except those from
Bizarro World (Superboy #68 (Oct. 1958))

Posted by David Dee | Report as abusive

[...] though, you meant that he is the voice of Governor Palin’s America, you know, real America.  I imagine that being a place where spending tax revenue on social programs is the only criterion [...]

tdog, don’t dare call anyone here an “unreal” American, expecially those who, unbeknownst to you, are retired USAF captains. Your parastic attitude typical of those who are greedy and have a complete lack of empathy or duty. Unlike you, I believe in giving back to my countrymen, and I believe that our choice of government – while imperfect – is worth supporting. Clearly you think helping anyone else falls on the shoulders only of private institutions. I believe that everyone in the boat should take a turn rowing.

If you think I don’t know the difference between a “socialist” country and “free” America, you have the wrong person. I love the USA. What have you done for the USA besides pursue your personal success?

You exemplify the closed-minded attitude that was just voted out of the White House. When someone proposes other ideas with which you don’t agree, you propose that they emigrate.

No one disagrees with working hard to achieve success and happiness. However, I guarantee that no business of yours or mine could succeed without government involvement, whether it be police law enforcement reducing crime or the postal service delivering your mail, or the public library providing educational resources and entertrainment, or the soldiers that protect the nation at home and abroad. But by all means, if you want to do everything yourself, then please choose not to use any of these public services.

Posted by Jean | Report as abusive

Well, I suggest that five generations of immigrant descendent should go to their original homes, and THEN we will realize who were here first. I don’t see why the Mayflower immigrant are less immigrant than the others, even the ones who cross the borders last night. Immigrant are that, no matter if you are a fifth or sixth generation of them. The new world, America, is full of us since Cristopher Columbus hint Europe about this land,; yes, about 200 years before the Mayflower appear on scene.

Posted by Marilyn | Report as abusive

[...] manipulate our fears and to turn American against American, reciting rhetoric about who is a “real American,”  and to strip of us of our Constitutional rights, passing such laws as the Patriot Act and [...]

[...] manipulate our fears and to turn American against American, reciting rhetoric about who is a “real American,”  and to strip of us of our Constitutional rights, passing such laws as the Patriot Act and [...]

This Debusmann guy is obviously not an American guy. He appears to be one of those socialist liberal commies.

Posted by emelemel | Report as abusive

[...] until then, YOU WILL WAIT! Which  is what most of their biggest fans will do, since their “Real America” base tends to live in areas that don’t have a Chick-Fil-A anywhere close [...]

[...] to manipulate our fears and to turn American against American, reciting rhetoric about who is a “real American,”  and to strip of us of our Constitutional rights, passing such laws as thePatriot [...]

[…] with handlebar mustaches and/or patriotic themed bikini shorts; who actually thinks there are categories of Americans, some realer than […]