David Sirota has been picked up by Creators' Syndicate to distribute a column to take the place of the irreplaceable Molly Ivins in as many papers around the country as he and they can get it into, and he's asking for help to spread the word to local editorial boards. I think Sirota's voice is one that should be heard in as many places as possible, so I'm sending a note to my local papers (not that they'll listen, but still...).
I have a beef, though - In describing his qualifications, Sirota notes that most pundits live on the coasts, but he lives in "the heartland" (Denver). I agree that this difference may well provide a useful perspective that would be lost without some geographic diversity in where pundits live (Ivins' unique voice being a classic case in point), but I object to "heartland" - it grates on me every time I hear it. Type Key is giving me trouble commenting on Sirota's Working Assets site, but here's the note I'm trying to post in his comments section:
David, I'll be happy to send a note to my local papers indicating that I think your column should be among their offerings.
In return, can I ask you to reconsider your use of "the heartland" to describe where you live? I couldn't agree more that a perspective from somewhere other than the coasts is necessary, but I object to "heartland". It's historically inaccurate (any reasonable historical definition of "the heartland" would have to put it within the original 13 states), but far more importantly, its implication that those who live in "the heartland" (or anywhere else, for that matter) have some special claim to an "American sensibility" is wrong and offensive.
Despite the accusations of right-wing radio hatemongers, we who live on the coasts don't actually refer to the middle of the country as "flyover country", and we shouldn't, but neither are we happy with the description that we are somehow less American than our fellow citizens in the middle of the country. That description has, in my experience, been popularized by those same demagogues to marginalize progressive views, and it serves us all poorly to buy into that frame.
Thanks for your consideration.