I'm from the same city as Joe the Plumber. I grew up not even 2 miles away from where he asked Obama to spell out his tax plan and its effects on his purchase of a plumbing company. I make not much more money than Joe does, and a whole lot less than the hypothetical company would.
Joe the Plumber and other hard working, "average Americans", seem to be pretty easy to define.
They believe in their Christ.
They believe that abortion is murder.
They believe that Muslims are a hateful group.
They believe that gay people marrying will destroy the "sanctity of marriage".
They believe that the terrorists will come to their town one day.
They believe that their party is the real party of America.
They believe that drug users should be jailed.
They believe that this nation was founded on Christian values.
Me? This American... well, I'm a bit different, I guess.
I believe in no gods.
I believe in a woman's right to choose abortion.
I believe in the fact that the 'founding fathers' of this country went to great pains to separate the church from the state.
I believe consenting adults should be allowed the lifestyle and legal benefits of marriage regardless of their sexual orientation.
I believe that an individual should be allowed to take any drug they want as long as it does not infringe on the basic rights of other humans.
I believe that this country needs less fear and xenophobia in our daily lives.
I believe that policy decisions should be made with real science and information coming first, instead of policy crafting the science.
I believe that the last 28 years of presidents have destroyed the dignity of the office, culminating in one of the worst administrations to ever occupy the White House.
Am I less of an American because of those beliefs? Some would say so. All I'd need to do is move to a big city like New York, and I may as well never look at an American flag ever again, right?
This is getting old.
A farmer in Minnesota is no less or more of an American than I am. I work harder than most of my coworkers - because it's MY WORK ETHIC. I choose to work my ass off because I want to provide the best possible life for my kids, and yet SOMEHOW, because I don't work with pipes or factory machinery or the soil, because I work with information in an office, because I don't believe in god, because I choose to believe that we CAN be a decent country that treats everyone with fairness regardless of personal beliefs and attractions, because I believe that a woman should always have the final say over her own body, because I believe that the best parts of our country ARE involved in the upper echelons of academia and science- because of all of these things, I am somehow less of an American to people like Sarah Palin.
The politics of division, fear, and subtle hatred are all the palin/mccain ticket have left. If this strategy works, I'll feel badly for this country. MY America isn't fear and hatred. MY United States of America is a place where anyone, regardless of that person's background, can make it. It's a hard place, in a hard time, to be sure - but it's STILL a place where we can live, love, and learn in peace.