There is a growing tendency among Americans to paint other regions of the country with a very wide brush. Those residing in the Southern states are cast as backward and ignorant; those living in the Midwest are labeled as self-righteous and close-minded; those residing on the East and West Coasts are as labeled pompous elites.

Having resided in each of these areas over the years (Indiana, California, Georgia), I have found the general population to be far more diverse both politically and intellectually than they are being portrayed. Labels are intellectually lazy shields we use to justify dismissing those with whom we disagree. Let's toss the wide brush and instead try to see all of us as Americans first and foremost.

Tony Banks

Northwest side

Disclaimer: As submitted to the Arizona Daily Star.

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