Commentary, Politics

Where is Real America?

10.21.08 | 2 Comments

United States Constitution, it's where

Dispatched from Boston, hotbed of liberty and patriots.

Recently, due to the campaign, there has been some debate about where “Real America” resides. Some people say it’s in our small towns, some say it’s in places like New York City, and others claim it’s southern Virginia. Really, where is “Real America?”

Since I’m on an airplane headed across the country I’ve been looking out the window at America hoping that maybe I can catch a glimpse of this “Real America.” After hours of watching desert, mountains, plains, small towns, medium towns, large cities, rivers, lakes, and everything else that makes up the United States of America, I still haven’t been able to spot it.

Perhaps a better question is what is “Real America?” I believe that “Real America” is where people are free to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.

Real America is a place where after a disaster, attack, or disease, people come together to help one another regardless of their differences.

A place where the interests of the weak and helpless are protected by the strong and able.

A place where strength is derived from our unity and our differences are settled through dialogue and rule of law.

A place where inclusion of diverse philosophies, religions, and beliefs is expected and such different people co-exist in harmony and respect.

A place where children are valued, protected, and given every opportunity to achieve their dreams.

A place where anything is possible given hard work, dedication, and persistence.

A place where ingenuity and can-do spirit will overcome adversity under any odds.

A place where people come together to protect our country from threats after exhausting all other possibilities of neutralizing these threats.

A place where public service – be it teaching, volunteering at the polls, helping seniors, caring for pre-school children, reading to those who cannot, donating blood, or generally cleaning things up – is honored equally with military service.

A place where the possibility exists to improve the quality of life of each successive generation, making the the country ever stronger over time.

A place where equality and justice thrive, where one can expect a level playing field, where anything is possible regardless of race, religion, creed, or sexual orientation.

A place where everyone is encouraged to voice their opinion and to participate in the political process.

A place where the rule of law is placed above all other means of establishing and maintaining order in our common community.

So, where is “Real America?” I think the answer is obvious, “Real America” is an ideal and it lives in each one of us. When we act in accordance to the values encapsulated in the statements above, we are the America that the rest of the world admires and wishes to emulate (or even to join and participate.) These are lofty standards, but it’s what it means to be a “Real American” and to be worthy of living in “Real America.”

It’s disappointing to me that I do not always live up to standard set to be a “Real American,” but I can assure you, I give my best effort to do so each day. I think we lose sight of all that we share when we start to highlight our differences during these campaigns and neglect our common beliefs and desires.

The thing that is most disappointing to me is that pedantic, power-hungry politicians and pundits are using the phrase “Real America” for their own gain, without even understanding what it really is. It’s not conservative or liberal, it’s not blue or red, it’s not religious or atheist, it’s something that transcends these categories and is a standard we can all aspire to embody.

When you go to the polls, be it through early voting, absentee voting, or in person at a polling place in November, I urge you to think about which of the choices presented to you as a voter, represent “Real America,” and choose accordingly. Meanwhile, let’s remember we all live in “Real America” and after this election we still have Real Problems at hand; we’re going to have to come together to get them solved.