Brooks discussed the differences between the two groups. He described how “Red America” was made up of farmers and rural communities, while “Blue America” consisted of big cities with many stores and businesses. As Brooks looked at the red and blue sections of the electoral map, he was interested in the reasons behind the voting patterns. He chose two cities to represent these two sections: Franklin County in Pennsylvania for “Red America”, and Montgomery County in Maryland for “Blue America”. He lived in Montgomery county and spent time talking with different people in Franklin county. Brooks began to look deeper at the reasons for the differences between the two groups and wondered if America was really a united nation anymore.
The first reason that Brooke considered was economics. He examined his theory that the rich and the poor have separated. The blue states had higher incomes, higher end stores, and jobs. Brooks asked people if they agreed that money was what had divided the U.S. Although most people greed with that statement, most did not consider themselves the people with less, and it was the ones with less that seemed more content with what they had. As he spent more and more time with the people, he found that it was really not money that split the nation. .
The next idea he had was religion. He found that the percentage of people involved in religion was higher in red states. There were more churches in Franklin, and more people attended a weekly religious service. Even with these statistics, Brooks again found it was not religion. He found there were still ”bad people” and problems in both cities. Yes there were differences, but the differences didn’t seem to be enough to divide the nation.
The final hypothesis Brooks dove into was self. Brooks saw that in “Red America” there was less striving to be unique and impress others. Humility was much more prevalent in the red states, while people in the blue states tended to place a larger focus on self. Brooke’s decided that this was a big difference, but not big enough to be the reason for division.
After looking at all these thoughts, Brooks concluded that the U.S. is not divided, but instead it is a “Cafeteria Nation.” Brooks said that everyone has their own group to hang out with, just like what you would find in a school cafeteria. There may be differences between people, but in the end they all come together as a nation to help each other in times of trouble. Brooks used the example of 9/11, to demonstrate this principle and then concluded that our nation was not and is not divided after all.