Kathleen Parker

The "guns, God and gays" trope has haunted Democrats, and Republicans have enjoyed dusting it off when needed to rile the locals. It's an easy play.

But so-called "ordinary Americans" aren't so easily manipulated and they don't need interpreters. They can spot a poser a mile off and they have a hound's nose for snootiness. They've got no truck with people who condescend nor tolerance for that down-the-nose glance from people who don't know the things they know.

What they know is that their forefathers fought and died for an America that has worked pretty well for more than 200 years. What they sense is that their heritage is being swept under the carpet while multiculturalism becomes the new national narrative. And they fear what else might get lost in the remodeling of America.

Republicans more than Democrats seem to get this, though Hillary Clinton has figured it out. And, the truth is, Clinton's own DNA is cobbled with many of the same values that rural and small-town Americans cling to. She understands viscerally what Obama has to study.

That God, for instance, isn't something that comes and goes out of fashion. That clinging to religion isn't a knee-jerk response to nativist paranoia, but is the hard work of constant faith.

Likewise, clinging to guns isn't some weird obsession so that Bubba can hang Bambi's head over the mantel. To many gun owners, it's a constitutional bulwark against government tyranny. As Condi Rice has noted, it wasn't long ago in this country that blacks needed guns to protect themselves when the police would not.

Some Americans do feel antipathy toward "people who aren't like them," but that antipathy isn't about racial or ethnic differences. It is not necessary to repair antipathy appropriately directed toward people who disregard the laws of the land and who dismiss the struggles that resulted in their creation.

Full-blooded Americans get this. Those who hope to lead the nation better get it soon.


Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
 
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