During the last election cycle, and in 2oo4 as well, there was a lot of talk from S. Palin and her ilk about "real America" and "real Americans." As someone who occupied the east coast at the time I was slightly annoyed that I and my home didn't fit into these categories to some. But considering the source I couldn't work up much indignance. The maligned elitist, over-educated snobs on the east coast just didn't exist in my experience. And while R. Santorum called the president "a snob" for valuing an education, I found my somewhat-over-educated colleagues in DC interesting and thoughtful.
On Labor Day I found myself at a small dinner party full of smart east-coast lifers, most world-travelers in governement service. The conversation inevitably turned to Dr. King's I have a dream speech and what it meant. We all agreed that, while race relations had come far since that day, there was still far to go, and we were somewhat bemused by the stubborn nature of racial politics in the US. Then one diner, whom I know to be intelligent and usally lucid, opined "but there are all those ignorant people in middle America who just aren't even aware of racial issues." Having grown up in a socially liberal (if very financially conservative) household I was gobsmacked. After offering that people in a large city in my Middle-American state (Detroit) might have some awareness of racial issues, I fell silent.
And now, three days later, I still don't know what to think. Had my dinner companion's comment been about race she may have had to resign from her job, if not her social circle. But openly maligning the majority of the population for not living in her liberal bubble passed by with barely a ripple. Surely one class bigot doesn't prove a point (and I still think Princess Dumbass from the north woods is just that), but that certain brand of elitist is not pure fiction and I bear witness to that.