The semantics of politics: defining the real "real" America

Dennis Baron debaron at illinois.edu
Thu Oct 23 04:48:08 UTC 2008


There's a new post on the Web of Language:

The semantics of politics: defining the real "real" America

The real meaning of the word "real" in the phrase real America became  
a focus of the presidential campaign this week after Republican vice- 
presidential candidate Sarah Palin told a North Carolina rally that  
some parts of the country are more real than others.

Palin said, "We believe that the best of America is in these small  
towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of  
what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard-working,  
very patriotic, very pro-America areas of this great nation."

Although Palin later apologized for this remark, which suggests that  
the parts of America not on her campaign tour aren't real and  
certainly aren't pro-American, she went on to tell a crowd at Findlay  
University, in Ohio, "The best of America is not gathered in  
Washington, D.C."

Deepening this perceived rift between a pro-America "real America" and  
an anti-America "not-real-America," Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann  
questioned Sen. Barack Obama's patriotism and called for an  
investigation into whether other members of Congress are "pro-America"  
or "anti-America." And Bachmann's Republican colleague Rep. Robin  
Hayes told an election rally that "liberals hate real Americans that  
work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God."

find out if the real America exists ... read the rest of the post on  
the Web of Language

Dennis Baron
Professor of English and Linguistics
Department of English
University of Illinois
608 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801

office: 217-244-0568
fax: 217-333-4321

http://illinois.edu/goto/debaron

read the Web of Language:
http://illinois.edu/goto/weboflanguage




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