The best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation. This is where we find the...courage of everyday Americans, those who are...fighting our wars for us, those who are protecting us in uniform...
— Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin, addressing a McCain rally in North Carolina
Since the war in Iraq began, 67 residents of the city of New York, where I live, have been killed in the conflict. This number does not include those that have died in Afghanistan, nor those from the wider New York metropolitan area. In fact, from areas of the country that Sarah Palin presumably regards as not pro-America, i.e., from states that voted for John Kerry in the 2004 election, 1,789 service members have been killed.
Denigrating areas of the country that share in the nation’s ups and downs, and that feel just as strongly for our nation’s welfare as any other, in order to stoke division and garner votes, is not just insulting, offensive, and shameless. It’s indefensible and moronic. Invoking such hate is yet more evidence that Sarah Palin belongs nowhere near the Oval Office.
Of course, Palin is hardly unique in bringing these attitudes to bear in the rush to win elections. What has always disturbed me about the Republican Party is how swiftly they mortgage their future, and the country’s as well, for short-term gain. By continuing to pigeonhole a definition of what it means to be patriotic, they are ignoring long-term demographic trends in the United States. Time is not on the GOP’s side. The one constant in the United States is change. We have been a nation of immigrants since our founding. Being beholden to the status quo is silly, because the status quo will be remade. Being the party of the white majority guarantees eventual relegation to minority status.
This particular era of Republican rule was also marked by unchecked conservatism, fourteen years of which has left the United States weakened and in danger. Conservatism has proven to be more dangerous to the American way of life than terrorism. Conservatism is the ideology of non-cooperation. Every man for himself. As long as every man remains ethical, conservatism can be a brilliant ideology, but like the communism that conservatives abhor and use as a bugaboo to decry liberalism, human nature does not allow for a conservative utopia. People lie, cheat, and steal, and as long as they can do so with no repercussions, dishonest people will continue to make victims of society as a whole. Like communism, conservatism does not allow for the pervasiveness of human corruption, and is doomed to fail as a political ideology.