Real Americans Don't Travel

October 15, 2008 · Leave a Comment

This post was written by Contributor RJ:


There is arguably no bigger symbol of the American culture wars than Sarah “I can field dress a moose” Palin. As we’ve seen, she is quick to play the populist card at every opportunity, from extolling the virtues of small town America to blasting the “media elite” after she stumbles during interviews.

For Palin–and the architects of her campaign–America is divided neatly into those who bowl on Friday nights and those who head to the latest wine bar. It’s pickup trucks versus Saabs. Wal-Mart versus Whole Foods. God-fearing versus Godless.

Palin’s common-man chauvinism is unapologetic. We first heard it during her acceptance speech when she made it clear that if you didn’t own a firearm, a filling station or a tractor, she wasn’t going to court your vote.

Given her attitude, it should come as no surprise that in her now legendary interview with Katie Couric she suggested that people who travel abroad are also somehow part of the cultural elite.

When Couric questioned Palin about why she only just received a passport last year, the governor offered the following response:

I’m not one of those who maybe came from a background of, you know, kids who perhaps graduate college and their parents give them a passport and give them a backpack and say go off and travel the world. No, I’ve worked all my life. In fact, I usually had two jobs all my life until I had kids. I was not a part of, I guess, that culture.

Translation: Traveling to another country (when not required by military service) is an extravagance for spoiled, liberal, college brats. Real Americans stay home and work.

As someone who did a fair amount of third-class travel back in the day, I can attest that it doesn’t take a lot of money to see the world–just an interest in other cultures.

Palin’s excuse for never leaving the country is another example of the reverse-snobbism that has come to characterize the Republican Party–a party that, ironically, benefits the people who travel first-class on their parents’ tab.

But here’s why Palin’s disinterest in traveling abroad really matters. In a world that is increasingly interconnected, it’s absolutely critical that we elect an administration capable of working with other nations. And visiting one or two of them seems like a reasonable prerequisite for the job. Based on what we’ve seen and heard, it’s unlikely that Palin possesses either the knowledge or the openness necessary to deal with our allies, much less our adversaries. Her campaign performance to date suggests she doesn’t even have what it takes to deal with the other, latte-sipping half of America.

Categories: Palin · Palintology · Politics
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