Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Living in the True America

About nine years ago I visited China and saw the Forbidden City, walked the Great Wall, etc. But what impressed me most was the extent to which China had become less Chinese. Hyper-capitalism didn't make it less Chinese, though the streets were clogged with autos rather than bicyclists in Mao suits. Leaving rural roots is what changed the culture.

And so it is with us. Our culture is based on traditions from our agrarian past. That is one reason we love living in the midwest. It is the conservator of traditional American values.

Being American has no reference to ethnicity. It is completely an idea. But again, it is certain that Middle America is the reservoir of positive American values. Middle America is the part that rescues us when the excesses of the coastal residents threaten to plunge us into oblivion. When the East Coast decides to start a war in a foreign land, they call up the boys from the Heartland to fight for them. West Coast residents become giddy because they think the business cycle is history, and make investing errors large enough to bankrupt the country, then they are saved by the only people who save money in the bank: the people living between the two coasts. And devastatingly expensive natural disasters are almost always within a few hundred miles of the ocean. Guess whose taxes rebuild the beach mansions for those who should have never built them in hurricane or earthquake zones?

The coasts are the ears of America, bringing knowledge from overseas, starting trends and fashions, hearing without listening…. In between is the brain: America’s Heartland.

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