Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Reading this I suddenly realised what has begun to depress me about the American election. Jonathan Martin concludes his post on the rise of Obama support in Virginia with the words 'Ol' Virginny is dead'. I don't want Ol' Virginny to be dead, not least because of the most beautiful song by that most beautiful band, The Band. With the now evidently catastrophic Palin play, the Republicans attempted to mobilise the so-called 'base'. This involved talk about 'real' America being found in small towns inhabited by Plumber Joes, the underlying assumption being that the authenticity of these places was predicated on Republican values. This was nasty cynicism by people who didn't give a damn about small towns. Equally nasty, however, was the Democratic response which involves, basically, pouring scorn on small town America. (They'll deny this but the tone is unmistakeable.) An old and once lethal gap opens between metropolitan and rural America. I like both, but, if pressed, I'd vote rural. It's where America is most different from Europe and it's where homemade music-making of every kind is most alive. And it's certainly not, in my experience, the repository of the 'values' dreamed up by the Republican (and feared by the European) elites.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 6:57 am