Newcomers are often insecure, and a debt of gratitude can make anyone feel a bit awkward, so I try my best to be patient with some of the sillier things often said by those from the American "heartland" about supposed "East Coast elites" in general and New York in particular.
But that patience has its limits and I may have reached those limits listening to various non-New Yorkers bloviating about where and how New Yorkers ought to be allowed to worship. (I'm from the heartland of New Jersey, myself, where I was taught that real Americans don't imagine it's their business to tell someone where they can or cannot worship.)
So before I endure yet another silly speech about how the real-er real Americans from the real-er real America are so superior to the illegitimate pseudo-Americans of New York, I would ask that the speaker first respond to the following questions.
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1. Please indicate which stripe on the American flag represents your home state. (New York's is that red one third from the bottom.)
2. Please name the representatives of your state who signed the Declaration of Independence. (William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis and Lewis Morris signed on behalf of New York.)
3. Was your state originally part of a territory purchased by the United States and thereby paid for, in part, by the taxpayers of New York? If so, please say "Thank you."
4. Was your state formed out of territory claimed by armed conflict with another nation and thereby purchased, in part, with the blood and treasure of New Yorkers? If so, please say "Thank you very much."
5. Has your state ever committed treason in defense of slavery, declaring war on the United States of America and firing on American soldiers fighting under the American flag? If so, please recite the Pledge of Allegiance — not as a loyalty oath, but just as an opportunity to reacquaint yourself with the words. Especially the last six. (The Pledge of Allegiance, by the way, was written by a New Yorker.)
6. How many American citizens reside in your state? If it's less than 19.5 million, please recite aloud the following sentence: "I acknowledge that more real Americans reside in New York than in [name of your state]."
7. Is your state willing and able to supplant New York as what E.B. White described as the "clear priority … of all targets" and the "steady, irresistible charm" for "whatever perverted dreamer might loose the lighting"? Please circle the answer below and initial in the space provided.
No, of course not, don't be silly. _____
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So now, what was that again you were saying about how the real Americans of the real American heartland are so much more authentically American than those pseudo-American New Yorkers?