Geography at the DNC

As the Democratic National Convention (DNC) draws to a
close, I hope you’ve been paying as much attention to geographic references
during the event as I have. Just as the primaries saw states jockey for position
in the national spotlight, there seem to be as many expressions of local pride
as calls for unity at this year’s DNC.  Here’s a review of some of my favorites.

Kennedy_2Ted Kennedy Tribute
Monday night featured a video tribute to veteran Senator Ted
Kennedy. Central to the piece were images of Senator Kennedy aboard a sailboat,
presumably in Hyannisport where he lives in my home state of Massachusetts. Kennedy and his family gushed
over his love for the ocean, where he is “at peace” and shares special memories
with generations of his famous family. I think the National Geographic
Education Foundation made an excellent choice by presenting the Senator with a
framed photograph of a sailboat in Hyannisport when he was named a “Geography
Legislator of the Year” earlier this summer!

Michelle Obama: The
Girl from Chicago ‘s
“South Side”

Michelle Obama made several mentions of her childhood in a
“working-class” family on Chicago’s
South Side.
The references to the Chicago neighborhood were as much descriptively
autobiographical as they were meant to counter accusations that she and husband
Barak are part of the privileged elite; ivy-league graduate celebrities “out of
touch” with average Americans.

Barak Obama: The Boy
from Kansas

Similarly, the DNC has highlighted footage of Obama watching
the proceedings from Kansas City, KS, and Billings, MT. The selection of these two
locations is no accident; it’s meant to portray Barak as a “down-home boy” from
“heartland.” Several political analysts have noted that Barak emphasizes his Kansas roots, while barely mentioning the time he spent
in Hawai’i as
a child. When the Senator traveled to
the island state with his family earlier in the summer, some tried to
characterize him as “exotic.”

Continue reading “Geography at the DNC”

Headcount: Stand up and be counted in the presidential election!

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