Showing posts with label flyover country. Show all posts
Showing posts with label flyover country. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

I'm in 12-step plan to swear off American politics: I vow never to watch or read any more political news--ever!

 I've known a few alcoholics over the course of my life, and several told me they were saved from destruction by Alcoholics Anonymous.  

I'm not an alcoholic, but I admit that I became addicted to politics during the recent presidential campaign.  I watched television news obsessively, and I worried about our country's future no matter who won the presidential election. My friends are divided politically, but almost everyone I know has been distressed by recent political events. I found we couldn't talk to each other about our concerns for fear of losing a friendship.

And then on Wednesday morning--the day after the election, I realized that I don't care who gets sworn into the office of the presidency in January.   I don't care who is appointed to cabinet positions, and I don't care who controls Congress.

Like a recovering alcoholic, I realized that I was powerless over the national political scene and that America--like the life of an alcoholic--has become unmanageable. Like a recovering alcoholic, I came to believe that only a Power greater than the American people can restore us to sanity.  

As an elderly white guy who lives in Louisiana, I now realize that our national politicians don't give a damn about the people who live in Flyover Country. 

They don't give a damn about the jobs that have been lost in the Midwest--the jobs that went to China.

They don't give a damn about the opioid epidemic that has swept through rural America.  

They don't give a damn about the strip mining destroying the heartland or the wind turbines that have turned the high plains into a vast junkyard. 

They don't give a damn about the spike in mortality rates among working-class Americans--rates fueled by drug overdoses and suicide.

They don't give a damn about the fact that American universities have become criminal rackets run by academic gangsters.

They don't give a damn about a global economy that is destroying the American middle class.

And you know what? I don't give a damn about the global elites who have turned our country into a moral cesspool.

So--I'm not going to read the friggin' New York Times, the friggin' New Yorker, or the friggin' Washington Post. I'm not going to watch the friggin' cable news shows or the friggin' Hollywood movies. I'm not going to read the friggin' op-ed essays in my local newspaper. 

Instead, I'm going to cultivate a garden, learn to hunt deer, and watch international movies on Amazon and Netflix like Far From Men, The Load, and Black '47. I'm going to root for the New Orleans Saints and read the sports page. I'm going to try to be a better husband, brother, and grandfather. I'm going to learn to smoke a better brisket. 

And I will continue trying to ease the burden of our nation's 45 million student-loan debtors, which is the only professional interest I still care about.

And I will continue to pray for the canonization of Dorothy Day, the greatest American Catholic of the twentieth century.  If we all aspired to live like Dorothy, our nation would be healed. I urge you to read her book, Loaves, and Fishes, and you will see that I am right.

I have been on this new path for only about ten days, and so far, it feels pretty good.  Not great, but pretty good.

Servant of God Dorothy Day

Monday, November 9, 2020

Was the Good Samaritan a Cajun?

When I was a child, my family were 80-proof Methodists. Every Sunday, I would wriggle into my little plaid sports coat, adjust my clip-on bow tie, and head to Sunday School.  

Looking back, I think Sunday School was good for me. My Sunday School teachers were all women--mostly young moms. We sang lovely children's songs--"Jesus loves me, this I know"--and we listened to the same Bible stories hundreds of times. 

I especially liked the tale of the Good Samaritan. What impressed me most about this biblical character was his generosity. He spent his own time and money helping a stranger who got mugged out on some lonesome highway. I knew I would never be as good as the Good Samaritan, but he became my ideal.

Let's face it. We don't meet many generous people today. Very few people will stop to help a mugging victim. In fact, many Americans want to defund the police--the people we pay to protect us from muggers.

Indeed, a lot of Americans have become muggers.  I'm not talking about the hoodlums who lurk in dark alleys. I'm talking about the bankers who take a cut from every financial transaction. I'm talking about university professors who do no useful work but have lifetime job protection. I'm talking about the politicians who fly around in private jets and stir up racial strife. All these people are muggers.

But last weekend, I went deer hunting up in Claiborne Parish near the Arkansas border. There were nine of us at my friend's deer camp, and about half the group were true Cajuns.

No one shot a deer that weekend, but no one was bummed out. We spent time in the woods, and in the evenings, we shared fellowship and a meal together.

No one argued about who was entitled to sit in the best deer blind. In fact, everyone offered to take the worst blind. No one argued about how to split the ticket at the Mexican restaurant. A couple of guys just picked up the check. No one worried about who might be drinking someone else's beer.  If there was beer in the fridge--well, buddy,  that beer is for you. 

If someone writes another modern-day version of the Bible, I hope the Good Samaritan will be called the Good Cajun.  And instead of loaves and fishes, Jesus will hand out gumbo and jambalaya.

As we start the third decade of the 21st century, America is becoming a nasty place to live. Thank God, there are still a few good-hearted Americans, some cheerful Americans, and some generous Americans. A lot of these good people live in Flyover Country, and a good many are Cajuns.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Lady Bird, the movie, sends an insidious message about elite East Coast colleges (Spoiler Alert)

Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig's  new coming-of-age movie, has been nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. But it is an insidious movie, which delivers a treacherous message that self-fulfillment can be found at an elite East Coast college.

Christine, who calls herself Lady Bird, is a discontented California girl who attends a Catholic high school in Sacramento. Her mother doesn't understand her, the guy she is sweet on is gay, and she cheats on her exams.

To make matters worse, Lady Bird's parents live in a tiny ranch-style home, with only one bathroom. She self-deprecatingly tells her boyfriend she lives on the wrong side of the tracks, an insult he guilelessly passes on to her mom and dad.

Sacramento bores Lady Bird, which she dismisses as "the Midwest of California." She longs to escape California to go to college on the East Coast.   Although several elite schools reject her, she finally get accepted to a fancy college in New York.

But the school is expensive. Her father, who comes across as a genuinely nice guy, recently lost his job; and at his age, he is unlikely to get another one. Lady Bird's mother, a nurse, works double shifts at a hospital to make ends meet.

But Lady Bird simply must go east to college, so her dad refinances the family home to cover the cost. The movie ends with Lady Bird in New York City, where she lies to one of the first guys she meets and tells him she is from San Francisco.

What a piece of crap! Any young woman who allows her out-of-work father to refinance the family's pathetic little house so she can attend a snooty East Coast college is a self-absorbed jerk. Although the movie is pitched as a young woman's heroic quest for self-fulfillment, it's really just a gratuitous insult to flyover country, which the filmmaker expanded to include parts of California.