I am very upset with Sarah Palin.
And it’s not even for the usual stuff—hunting from a helicopter, lying/making up superficial answers to complex political questions, waving at Putin. No, sir, what’s got me so distressed now is that Palin’s book tour in support of her tell-all tome, Going Rogue, (Palin’s originally proposed titles: The Maverick; Going Maverick; and Maverickly Rogue-ing, were all rejected by her publisher. Another suggested title, Um, Well It’s, um…You Betcha! was similarly shot down) will not be coming to Boston. In fact, it won’t even be coming to New England. The closest the tour will come to this liberal bastion called the Northeast is upstate New York.
So why do I care?
Remember when Palin, at a campaign stop in North Carolina last October, said she liked visiting the “pro-America” parts of the country, the “real America” embedded within the larger landmass actually named America? Well, since that day I’ve been tormented by this nagging paranoia that, to Sarah Palin, my home is not really part of America.
Technically, the quote only overtly calls Washington D.C. anti-American—the line began with a jab at the capitol before contrasting it to “real America”—but it also implicitly implicates other areas of the country as well. While that line was widely interpreted as a shot to everywhere outside the beltway, I held out hope that Boston, my home, was somehow exempt.
For the past year I’ve waited anxiously for a book tour to come along so Palin could prove, through a simple visit to a local Barnes & Noble, that Boston is, as I’d previously believed, a part of America. Though the existential strain was at times unbearable—‘If Boston isn’t America, what is it? Is it anything? Am I anything?—I managed to keep my composure and stay afloat in this sea of epistemological uncertainty.
However, now that the tour schedule has been released in full, I find myself plunged deeper into that philosophical quandary. What is Boston, if not America?
I don’t mean this in a sappy, jingoistic sense, but in a more practical one. What is it that makes North Carolina ‘American’ and Boston ‘anti-American?’
Palin’s quote goes on to say that real America, “is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans. Those who are running our factories and teaching our kids and growing our food and are fighting our wars for us. Those who are protecting us in uniform. Those who are protecting the virtues of freedom.”
Running through that checklist, I notched everything as applicable to Boston, except maybe farming. Is that why she thinks this city isn’t American, because we can’t grow corn in Copley Square?
I’d ask Palin myself, but she’s busy barnstorming the Midwest and South. Instead, I’ve decided to show her the same indifference she has shown my tiny slice of anti-America by not reading her book and ignoring most anything she says, aside from the particularly hilarious bits.
Whatever Palin’s real feelings about Boston and New England in general, I’m sure they’re much further from her mind than the reported $5 million advance the memoir earned her. If this book is, as many suspect, the groundwork for a future run at the presidency, I can only wonder: would Palin even bother to campaign in fake America, or would our love for abortions and hatred of freedom get us written off from the start?