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100 People Who are Screwing Up America
(and Al Franken Is #37)

Bernard Goldberg

Keenan


For too many years now, the cultural elites hae been working overtime trying to portray all those "hicks" in flyover country as grotesquely distorted fun-house mirror images of who they really are, without the fun part.

If Middle Americans oppose gay marriage, they must be homophobes. If they don't like sex jokes at eight o'clock at night on network TV, they're squares. If ordinary Americans think gangsta rap is foul and degrading, they're racists who don't understand black culture. If Red State America thinks our "best" universities are dominated by left-wing ideologues, they are anit-intellectual dolts. If they thiunk feminists have gone too far, they're sexists.

But none of this tells us very much about real ordinary Americans. What it tells us a lot about, though, are the cultural elites themselves, those cloistered liberals who, as Tom Wolfe once put it, "do not have a clue about the rest of the United States" and "who are forever trying to force their twisted sense of morality onto us, which is a non-morality. That is constantly done, and there is a real resentment."

Yes, there is real resentment, indeed. Middle Americans resentthe smug condescension the elites routinely dish out from their cocoons in Manhatten and Hollywood. They resent the authors and journalists who call them "ignorant" because they don't see things the way the elites do. They resent the elites snickering at them because they bowl and eat at Red Lobster. They resent the notion that because they go to church every week and take the Bible seriously that there's something creepy about them, and that because they fly the American flag on the Fourth of July they're simple-minded hayseeds.

And it's precisely because of this snobby, elitist attitude that even when I agree with liberals on this issue or that, I don't like being associated with them. I'm with Tom Wolfe, who said, "There is something in me that particularly wants it registered that I am not one of them."

So, what is it that so many oridinary Americans want? It's actually pretty simple. We want a little more appreciation for the values that most of us--liberals as well as conservatives, Democrats as well as Republicans--used to take for granted: civility, mutual respect, a semblence of decency and yes...a little old-fashioned love of country, too.



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