City dwellers are ordinary people
Yesterday, Post columnist Kathleen Parker made the peculiar observation that 78 percent of Americans are not ordinary. Specifically, she argued that President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan, doesn't satisfy Obama's stated desire to nominate someone who is in touch with "ordinary Americans" because she is from New York. Parker states that "[c]ertainly New York City dwellers would argue that they struggle with ordinary concerns, just in a more dense environment. But New York, like other urban areas, tends to be more liberal than the vast rest of the country."
Parker appears to be saying that New Yorkers cannot be in touch with "ordinary people" because New York is full of liberals. But it seems that her real problem is that New York, like other urban areas, is, well, urban. This comes out loud and clear when she suggests that someone like Clarence Thomas has a leg up on claiming an identity with "ordinary" people as a result of his rural Georgian upbringing. That the residents of rural Georgia tend to be more conservative than the "vast rest of the country" doesn't seem to enter her calculations of who qualifies as "ordinary."
But what is an "ordinary" American? According to the Census, 78 percent of Americans live in urban areas (defined as cities over 50,000 people). Moreover, 58 percent of Americans live in cities over 200,000 in population. Only 20 percent of the U.S. population lives in rural areas. Thus, more people grow up in and around a city like New York or Washington than grow up in small towns like Clarence Thomas's.
While there are obvious demographic and political variations between a city population and a rural one, we city dwellers have no less of a claim to "ordinariness" than our rural or small-town brethren. How we vote doesn't change that.
Posted by: GaryEMasters | May 13, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Simon23p | May 14, 2010 2:02 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Baltimore137 | May 14, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Dan78 | May 14, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: schnauzer21 | May 14, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: nikFlorida | May 17, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: nikFlorida | May 17, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.