How do you unite a collection of groups that have disparate and often conflicting interests? By turning them against a common enemy. In an early-morning postelection blog post, former Enron adviser Paul Krugman revealed this ugly truth:
One big thing that just happened was that the real America trumped the "real America." And it's also the election that lets us ask, finally, "Who cares what's the matter with Kansas?"
For a long time, right-wingers--and some pundits--have peddled the notion that the "real America," all that really counted, was the land of non-urban white people, to which both parties must abase themselves. Meanwhile, the actual electorate was getting racially and ethnically diverse, and increasingly tolerant too. The 2008 Obama coalition wasn't a fluke; it was the country we are becoming.
And sure enough that more diverse and, if you ask me, better nation just won big.
The lack of self-awareness here is something to behold. Krugman identifies a racially defined out-group, excludes it from the "real America," and declares the in-group to be a "better nation" than the out-group (which is, in fact, part of the same nation). All this in the name of tolerance.
So if you're white, not from the coasts and not a Democrat, you're not part of the Real America, according to Herr Doktor Professor Krugman. I didn't know that. But Krugman still has a lot of work to do in fleshing out his conception of the Real America. Perhaps he could write a book about it. There are plenty of white people who live on the coasts who are not Democrats -- are they also not part of the Real America? Then there are minorities who are not Democrats -- same result? I guess Black Conservatives are an easy case. Krugman probably doesn't even regard them as human. What about Catholics? In or out? They split pretty much the same way as the electorate did over Obama, so I'm really not sure. I hesitate to bring them up, but Jews? If you're a Jew, but really pro-Israel, can you still be part of the Real America? I almost forgot! Mormons! Easy-peasy!
It's a good thing Krugman is such a big man, not in body, true, but in his heart, his mind, his uber-soul. The vastness of his sheer humanity just shines through, doesn't it? You would have to be a giant to sort all this out, who is and isn't a real American. I concede it seems quite beyond me to make these kinds of judgments. It's almost humbling to watch this genius at work. Note how he has discovered the tolerance that is beyond tolerance. I hate non-urban white people because they are not tolerant, like me -- I guess that makes sense. Does that make sense? OK, I'm not really sure, but then I don't claim to be a genius, like the good Herr Doktor Professor. Maybe he could be given another Nobel (Memorial) Prize. For what you ask? For tolerance! Duh! --TS
And what about Bruce Springstein?! lols . . . But as long as I'm on this subject, The Boss is Catholic, lapsed I understand, but in his weltanschauung you can't get more urban, working-class Catholic than Mr. Springsteen. But, one of the reasons I was so impressed by Nebraska (the album) was how deeply he could see into the (dark side of the) heart of white, non-urban, flyover country. Some people seem more able than others to imagine other people's lives. I guess there's just a meanness in this world, even in Princeton.