I live in real America.
Yorktown Heights, NY, in my case. It's not the Yorktown where the Revolutionary War battle was fought, but it's named after it. It's turned into a bedroom community for New York City in the dozen years I've lived here. But there are two apple orchards, and every year Rhys and Vicki and I go to them and pick Too Many Apples, and, yes, the mother in the family makes apple pie with them. On 9/11 I climbed to the top of the tallest hill in town, and saw the smoke from where the World Trade Center and lots of us had died. That's real America.
I've lived in real America before. Boston, say. Remember that tea party? Now Boston is full of Indians from India, more than native Americans. And Asians, and the descendants of Pilgrims, and Irish, and people whose Boston accent is so thick that they might have been born in a beanpot, and Italians, and people from all over the world, near and far, and that's not even starting on the people of mixed ancestry, and all living together in a city full of life and spirit and all kinds of good things. That's real America, too.
And I used to live in Williamsburg, Virginia. Williamsburg thinks that Boston is a newcomer to the continent. It's a little place that keeps colonial life alive, simulated at least. And if you drive five minutes out of town you get to places like Toano, where several of my highschool friends lived, which is as redneck a place as anywhere in the country. That's real America, too.
I'm from Ann Arbor, though I was only there for ten days so I don't really remember it. I'm from Cleveland, though I wasn't much older, and mostly remember the museum of trains and covered wagons. I'm from Indianapolis, racetrack and all. I'm from St. Louis, right in the middle of the country, in the crossroads. I'm from Ithaca, which, like Williamsburg, hangs on to another beautiful piece of our history. Real America, every one.
It's my country, my home: all the complexities, all the mixed-up backgrounds, all the beautiful messy history and culture and everything, all the hybrid vigor. Real America.
And a politician who doesn't think that the whole nation is real -- who doesn't know that as a part of their deepest heart and spirit -- really shouldn't be running for national office.
Edit: If you live here, and if you want, post a bit about your own part of Real America. Show me some of the other complexities and beauties that I haven't managed to see yet. (And if you live somewhere else, tell about your own Real Country, too. I love America, but I love all Earth too.)