We can all agree, I think, that, all other things being equal, it's better if Americans identify strongly with each other than not; a united country is better than a divided one. It used to be that Democrats would accuse Republicans of using "wedge issues", like abortion, guns, etc., to "divide" voters into distinct groups. Republicans would be able to deny this charge because they could say that they were only raising issues that are important to Americans, and it's not a completely ridiculous defense.
In this election, however, Republicans have been beyond blatant in this strategy of tearing us apart to help their own electoral chances. In a famous Hardball appearance last week, Republican congresswoman Michele Bachmann said "I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America. I would love to see an exposé like that."
Calling Americans who have the gall to disagree with you on this issue or that "anti-America" represents a stunning effort to divide the electorate into "us" and "them". And it's far from an isolated incident among Republicans. North Carolina GOP Rep. Robin Hayes said this past weekend that "liberals hate real Americans that work and achieve and believe in God."
John McCain's brother Joe called Northern Virginia "Communist country", and McCain spokeswoman Nancy Pfotenhauer called parts of the state other than Norther Virginia "real Virginia."
And finally, Sarah Palin talked this past Friday of how much she enjoys campaigning in "real America", the small towns who "run our factories and teach our kids and fight our wars for us"
Republicans are making a fetish of "small-town America", just like they always do, but in this election cycle, they are being far more obvious about dividing one part of our nation from another. We can only hope that voters will reject these despicable tactics by voting the bums out.