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A reader writes:
Honestly, I think one thing that is driving me absolutely bonkers about this whole issue is that Palin constantly paints New Yorkers (and everyone on the eastern seaboard) as not being of "real" America. Yet here she a) rushes in to defend New York-as-America when she happily throws the east coast under the bus the rest of the year to appeal to voters elsewhere and b) clearly does not understand the fundamental value of freedom of religion that drove the founding of this country.
Let us not forget that Palin adores Manhattan, as evidenced by her RNC-funded shopping sprees at Saks Fifth Ave, Barney's and Bloomingdale's. So maybe her concerns about what is built in that city can be justified. But as long as she's claiming NYC, she has to give up the fake small-town, "heartland," one-of-us charade.
I don't normally write in to blogs, but this issue is so infuriating to me that I felt compelled to add something.
I live in Astoria, Queens, one of the more ethnically diverse neighborhoods in New York, and I love it here. I live a few blocks away from a stretch of Steinway Street that's been dubbed "Little Cairo," because it's attracted a substantial Middle Eastern population, and you can see it in the hookah bars and Arabic script on the front of the stores. A few blocks in the other direction is a mosque and Muslim community center, which I frequently pass when I go for a run. Next door to my apartment building is a barber shop for Arab men.
Living around Middle Eastern and Muslim communities is part of normal life for me, as I would argue it is part of normal life for any New Yorker, even if they don't realize it. And that is why Sarah Palin's comments anger me so: she claims to speak for "us," to stand up for the common New Yorker who was so hurt by 9/11. And, of course, she's not "us"; in fact, she goes out of her way to demonstrate that she's not "us," and that we urban elites are what's wrong with this country. And now she wants to stand in for "us," because there is an even more nefarious "them" on which to focus her scorn and paranoia. The presumptuousness is astounding, and hurtful.