Home is where the heartland isn't
"Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn't it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland?" Palin tweeted.
The first time I bristled at the word "heartland" was during the Oklahoma City bombings, when TV commentators emphasized that a terrorist had struck not in New York or Los Angeles but in the HL. The implication was that there was something especially shocking about the Midwest/South being the locus of politically inspired mayhem. We know they're just regular folks -- aka real Americans.
It's silly to pretend that a huge nation like the United States doesn't comprise regions with different demographics and mores. But "heartland" is more than a geographical signifier; it's a value judgment. It ought to be retired.
-- Michael McGough