I’m traveling from nowhere to nowhere. Today I’m hanging out in the 98% of the continent called (by some) “flyover country”. It’s nice. Serene even. They should organize guided field trips so urbane coastal sycophants and butt sniffing politicians could see what the world is like where people make the engines of civilization run. (Lets be frank, these are the places that really matter. If the supply of corn flakes and crude oil stops rolling out of the heartland, nobody’s going to give a shit about gun control and gay marriage in New York or LA.)
Over shitty coffee and worse breakfast in a forgettable hotel restaurant I was exposed to “news”. Fortunately the TV was on mute. People in a country I couldn’t readily identify were busy carrying on a centuries old social improvement project by hitting each other with sticks and rocks. They appeared to be screaming at each other. Here’s a hint, if you’re screaming to make the world a better place, you’re a dipshit.
I supposed the argument was about God and how his biggest interest in running the universe is the life and welfare of rock throwing nitwits on one side of some age old dispute. Perhaps they were yelping about how the heathen scumbags on the other side of this super damn important dispute were evil incarnate? Presumably the streets, once filled with the blood of unbelievers, would no longer have potholes? I couldn’t tell if they were fighting over a whole nation or a city block. There was a burning Fiat in the background. No Fiat is important enough to burn. It could have been breaking news or a replay from decades ago.
Deliberately ignoring the TV, I picked up the local paper. I forgot it’s name; “The Cowtown News” or something similar. It had absolutely no “important” news whatsoever but plenty of high school sports and the comics. I like comics. The paper was remarkably free of controversy. No word about the TSA which had recently crawled up my ass nor the NSA which is setting up a camp there.
It was a short paper.
Something on the last pages caught my eye. It was the “church report”. A two page spread, which for this little pamphlet, was huge. For each church in the vicinity there were a few paragraphs. I pay attention to Church like a squirrel pays attention to Jupiter, but the paper was short and I had more shitty coffee to drink so I read further. Each little article was a synopsis of a Church’s Sunday (or other) service.
“At Church A Reverend Smith told the congregation that it’s totally uncool to covet their neighbor’s tractor. Even if your neighbor’s tractor has in-cab heat and you’re freezing your balls off just suck it up and smile. Jesus, of course, will forgive your sins but you gotta’ meet the guy halfway.”
“At Church B, Father Jones told the congregation that they’d better get with doing good things ’cause God is paying attention. Jones continued by explaining that God is taking notes and he’s getting pretty sick of everyone’s shit. Also the Zebb family of East Main Street just had a beautiful daughter so shake their hand on the way out.”
“At Church C, Jeannie told everyone to hug their neighbor and conserve water because it’s a drought.” A hippie church? Here in the middle of wheat fields? Be still my beating Prius!
“Church D is holding a raffle and bake sale for unfortunate victims of wolverine attacks.”
“Church E implores you to quit drinking, smoking, swearing, and generally behaving like a moron. Also the ‘Toys for Tots’ Christmas drive was a big success.”
“The town’s synagogue wishes to thank everyone for learning to spell ‘synagogue’ and also inviting them to Christmas parties last month.”
Every church, and there were many, was on the same page. I was delighted! Why? Because it’s part of America’s brilliance!
It’s easy to forgot that our heart is in the right place. Despair seems logical. We’ve got a debt of $17,324,010,325,351.85 and two parties of dumbasses who simultaneously deplore the situation, want to control it, and are the ones that created it. Meanwhile the NSA bugs my phone and the TSA fondles my balls because people from Saudi Arabia crashed a plane in a different timezone a dozen years ago. That makes sense? To whom?
Letting dissonance roll off your back takes a strong spine. But don’t give in. Hang tight. Bullshit is not the whole story. America is, has been, and remains the biggest baddest dude on the block. The silly little newspaper in flyover country proves it.
Our country has such big brass balls that we’ve got a dozen competing religious institutions in one town. Are they at war? Are the Baptists setting fire to the Catholic’s Toyotas? Are Jehovah’s Witnesses beheading grandmothers at the Hippie Unitarian bake sale and yoga gathering? Hell no!
America is so rock solid… so completely in control of it’s own immense self that we coexist in peace and harmony every damn day. Food gets processed, trucks run, shipments are made, and it happens like clockwork. Agnostics, atheists, the lazy, and the hung-over happily spend the weekend watching the Broncos piss themselves and welding monster trucks. Yet they get along just fine with the devout who have an exclusive, all expense paid, golden ticket to heaven. The newspaper was proof that believers of several religions could interact with their deity of choice weekly without lobbing rockets into each other’s back yard. Meanwhile everyone (in flyover country at least) gets their ass to work Monday morning to keep the whole thing afloat.
Americans never let religion interrupt the bacon supply. That’s just how we roll!
It a mature society to put our beliefs all out there on a single page. Side by side. Ready for comparison. In competition; presumably of the friendly sort. We do this weekly and everyone, everywhere, gets to believe whatever the hell they want. We’ve got polite society so damn figured out that nobody sane cares to cause a ruckus. Religious riots, tantrum level behavior wrought large, are big fun in various parts of the world. Not here. Never! We don’t play that game. It’s beneath us.
Besides, if Americans really went toe to toe we wouldn’t screw around throwing rocks. Top predators usually avoid fighting each other. They know better. For the most part, Americans get this. Whether from moral dictate or simply because we’re not idiots; we get the fuck along! We do this not because we’re weak, but because we’re strong. Battle, for us, is not a hobby.
Getting along is the hard core way to live and we’re fearless about it!
I glanced back at the mute TV. A couple dickheads were throwing rocks at an ambulance. I still couldn’t identify the location. Whatever country was involved, it looked like the gross national product is dirt.
Also, how low on the scale of dumbass do you need to go to throw a rock at an ambulance? Americans pull our humongous overpowered SUV 4×4 battle cruisers to the side of the road so ambulances can go faster. Do we do that because we’re afraid of ambulances? Do we do it because we’re afraid of cops protecting the ambulance? No, we do it because we’re not idiots!
Whatever rock throwing, car burning, stomping around the streets, screaming with fists waving in the air, chimps were barking about on TV there’s only one thing I know for sure. They’re weak. A “church report” could start a riot. Assuming literacy in whatever shithole I was watching (which is questionable) a paper like the one I’d just read would make a not insignificant portion of their population go apoplectic. ‘Cause they’re pussies!
America does every day what half the world thinks is impossible. We don’t even notice.
Good for us.
Whoops, the optimism got turned up to 11 today..
Its only worth “getting along” with people who want to do the same. 1/2 of this country sees you as a slave owned by the collective – especially those folks who keep the bacon supply running. You can’t get along with people who will not treat with others in good faith, and who vote to hold a gun to your head to make you live their way. These are the same people who want to burn that page and make sure ONLY THEIR views are published. Its no longer friendly competition, and one set of top predators IS picking a fight with another set. Not in Flyover country. There it is as you describe. But that leaves non-flyover country. The City mice certainly are doing everything they can to make sure the country mice cut off their oil and corn flakes. The Country is fractured. Prepare accordingly.
Sure the cities are busy trying to corkscrew themselves… but what’s new about that? London was a polluted, crime ridden, cesspool long before the industrial revolution and Rome was debt ridden and corrupt before the Renaissance. None of that means the countryside has to follow their lead or care about their opinion.
Heck, the ink was hardly dry on the Constitution when the Whisky Rebellion happened.
Nothing new under the sun…
An excellent reminder about something we all kind of take for granted.
Pingback: Social Observation #2987 – (Or: America’s Hard Core) Blog | nebraskaenergyobserver
PS don’t hold back, it’s bad for ya, Preach it brother!
Bravo Zulu, AC! As shitty as things sometimes seem, we need to remember what a damned remarkable country–and people–we are. Thanks for the reminder.
Very well written. Yep…preach on!
Every day I give thanks to my creator that I live in flyover country, not far from you as a matter of fact. Where a handshake is a binding contract, where self-reliance begets charity for a neighbor not so well equipped, and where above all I get to *know* the people I associate with and hence the group identity that drives bigotry is quickly destroyed by the light of day, knowing members of that group.
I can’t say much more than the folks above, but carry on. Great piece.
Life has been so easy in the US. I think people are generally good everywhere. Perhaps they are fighting for “standard of living” overseas. Perhaps the debt debt machine that build the US standard of living is going into reverse…
‘Merica – Fuck yeah
Cheers – BH