Is Tulsa the “real America”?
I’ve always been wary of any pronouncement that certain locales or certain populations are more representative of the “real America” than other locales or populations.
Such pronouncements often come from politicians trying to curry favor with the folks of a given area who already think of themselves as more genuinely American than the rest of us.
Consider the claim by Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential campaign that small towns are”the real America” and the “pro-America areas of this great nation.” Palin’s divisive message was that the teeming masses in our big, cosmopolitan cities are somehow un-American on the whole.
That’s pure piffle, of course, but such notions aren’t confined to small towns. Take, for example, the current effort by civic boosters in Tulsa, Oklahoma (population 391,906), to have their city cited as host of the 2024 Summer Olympics.
Jennifer Jones of the Tulsa 2024 bid committee SAYS THIS:
“The larger cities aren’t truly representative of what the real America is. The real America is the midsize cities, and we want people to see America.”
I’m not going to bother slicing and dicing Tulsa’s demographics to see how they compare with the nation as whole. I’ll just say that Ms. Jones is doing her hometown no favor by wrapping its presumed charms and advantages in a veil of unfortunate rhetoric about how larger cities aren’t “truly representative” of America.