This morning’s news reported the President has declared the Greensburg, Kansas area a Federal Disaster Area following this weekend’s tornadoes in the Midwest. Such a measure is needed in order to put into motion various Federal assistance programs and emergency assets as required to respond to major disasters.
When the President made his declaration he also mentioned something I found interesting. I do not remember the exact quote, but the essence of his words were that although he was sending aid, there exists in the Midwest a “pioneer” spirit. In those few words, regardless of his detractors, Bush was exceptionally eloquent. Clearly his words were an acknowledgment that although aid was right and reasonable, the pioneer spirit will also go a long way toward helping these folks to face their hardship.
I could not help but see in my mind’s eye the election map of the 2004 Presidential Election, and all that vast space in the middle of the nation that is different than the coastal enclaves and urban centers. Different in so many ways. That picture caused me to begin to sing in my mind the words “. . . Got a shotgun, a rifle and a four-wheel-drive. A country boy can survive,” from Hank Williams, Jr.’s “A Country Boy Can Survive.”
I was amused at myself and the direction my mind had wandered, but it also rings true to me. Now, I’m no country boy. I’m from the Washington, DC suburbs, so a farmer I ain’t. But I can hunt and I have the know how to grow my own food. And I am from a Red State. And yes, we Red Staters are different in general, or more accurately, our mindset is different than urbanites. Not better mind you, just different.
We have not lost the vision of what made us a great nation. We still see ourselves as our forefathers did 100 years ago. We are fiercely proud and patriotic, and damn fast to take matters into our own hands as opposed to waiting for someone to respond to our difficulties. Hell, break into my house and I’ll call the cops just like you Blue Staters will. Only difference is the cops will be there just to watch the coroner carry out the offender in a body bag, as opposed to trying to apprehend him, as would be the case in Blue States.
We still remember the struggles of our predecessors. We have not forgotten why they came to this country. We are thankful everyday for the good fortune that shines on us just by virtue of being American. Don’t you Lefties hate it when I get all jingoistic?
And we have not forgotten that to be American is not just an amalgam of the world’s cultures, but Americanism is a culture all to its own. Why do you think we still have our guns? Because we ain’t Europe, and anyone that tries to make us so might not live to see that one through to fruition. Being American is a distinct thing unto itself, added to and refined by the homogenization of world cultures that contribute to it, but that is not the defining thing that makes us American. We are not only all the separate pieces of the world thrown into a blender and this is the result. America has a flavor all its own, and that flavor would be largely the same even if we were not the melting pot of the world. Sorry Libs. I know I have disappointed you, but you’ll survive, maybe.
I, for whatever reason, am also blessed with the pioneer spirit. I don’t know why – maybe it’s my redskin blood, as I am part injun. Notice, by-the-way, I did not say Native American on purpose. I am an AMERICAN, unqualified, hands down, an AMERICAN, and if you are one of my countrymen, I don’t give a rat’s ass as to your native heritage.
And make no mistake about it, there are vast differences between those with such spirit and those without it. Those with it possess a can-do attitude, a natural resourcefulness and a fierce independence. Those without it . . . well, let’s just say they’re different. And perhaps that’s natural, or maybe, since I don’t know which came first, the chicken or the egg, I’m not sure which thing leads to which conclusion. Are urbanites Liberal because of their environment, or did they move to a suitable environment because they were Liberal? Who can say? I’m sure some sociologist somewhere has crunched the data.
I’m almost certain that Red Staters are a product of their environment for the most part. When you do not have as many distractions at your doorstep as do urbanites, you develop a sort of self-reliance through the need to come up with ways to entertain yourself. You can’t walk to the mall – there ain’t one. The public library may not be very large, or it may be damn far away. I mean, there are counties out West as large as Rhode Island for Christ sakes. But now with the Internet and our shrinking world, the two worlds of Red State/Blue State are coming into conflict.
Twenty-five years ago your choices besides Sears & Roebuck were few and far between, and if you were really rural, it might be 50 miles to the nearest department store. And as much as Blue Staters hate and demonize Wal-Mart, that chain did make better the lives of many hundreds of thousands of Red Staters. Sorry for the Mom & Pops that suffered, but things like that don’t survive when there are huge land areas with relatively small populations per square mile. When the choice between a large store with huge selections and fairly low prices is pitted against a Mom & Pop operation, the Mom & Pop doesn’t stand a chance. It’s simple economics. Even us dumb Red Staters know how to save a buck.
I guess where I get lost in this issue is why do Blue Staters so dislike us poor, dumb Red Staters? Or if they don’t dislike us, why do they sound like they do? Are they jealous (tongue in cheek)? Or since we disagree with them on many things, especially politics, and they are the erudite urban liberal, are they dumbfounded as to how we could possibly disagree with their obviously well thought out political and social opinions?
We Red Staters don’t really need so much to consider what Billy Bob’s business is, because Billy Bob conducts his business in his own damn backyard, as it were, whereas an urbanite’s business is automatically everyone elses business because of the proximity of their neighbors. Leads to lots of potential conflict, what with everyone so close to each other and all. It is not nearly so urgent that we develop this “tolerance” we hear so much from the Left about. Not to say Red Staters are not tolerant. In fact I find uncomplicated people are by far the happiest, the most polite and the most considerate. As I wrote earlier today, statistics undeniably prove that Conservatives are more generous than Liberals in terms of charitable work and monetary donations.
So, what are we left with? People who live in close proximity to one another are more likely to be Liberal; people with more room to roam tend to be more Conservative. Seems to me the Conservatives are self reliant, while Liberals depend more on government to provide for them. And not because Liberals are not capable of providing for themselves, but because that is what they are used to. Cities and more urban areas provide a great many services just not available, at least in close proximity, to the less crowded citizens.
Now as the less urban poke fun at the City slickers, I can completely understand the urbanites poking fun back at the hicks. But what I have been hearing since the 2000 Election was not the Left poking fun, but the Blue Staters saying some rather vile untruths like “redneck fellas use family reunions to meet women,” and other such Jeff Foxworthy jokes as they deem sufficient to try to marginalize the vote that came from the Red States. Now, I like to meet chicks at my family reunions as much as the next redneck, but Hell, that don’t mean I ain’t smart, or socialized for that matter. Just means I don’t wanna do too much work to hook up!
I think it would be a real mistake for the erudite urbanites to underestimate us Red Staters. We are a tough bunch, and one helluva lot smarter than you smarty pants peeps think we are. After all, we have the good sense not to live stuck cheek-by-jowl like you smart folks.
As an interesting sidebar, if the collapse of modern Western society is on our horizon, I’d damn sure rather be a Red Stater than a Blue Stater. See, I’ll be up in the mountains, well armed, sheltered, hunting small game and growing my own food. You Blue Staters . . . , well . . . what the Hell do you think I’m gonna be huntin’? That’s right -Blue Staters! Now that’s some good eatin’! Ummm ummm good. “Sir, may I have another?”