Of Places and Ideas

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Bravo to Jason Michael Morgan for his essay “The Pernicious Myth of Two Americas” (View, October).  I am one of those people who live in America, the place, not America, the idea.  Specifically, Middle America—the Heartland, some would say.

I am not a Facebooker, so I was unaware, until I read Mr. Morgan’s article, of a post by a Ms. Melinda Byerley of San Francisco.  In it she seemed to suggest that educated people (like herself) might be more inclined to move to our part of the country if we would just elect progressives as local leaders.  And, I presume she believes, that by doing so, we would begin to shed those nasty outdated rules by which we live.  You know, all that Golden Rule believing, Sunday-school going, flag respecting, traditional-family stuff.  Well, with all due respect to Ms. Byerley, I have been to San Francisco many times, including recently, and have seen firsthand what progressive leadership has done for it.  The city center is filthy, and the air is often fouled with the smell of urine.  It makes me sad.  This once-beautiful “place” has been turned into an “idea.”

If the wizards of today’s San Francisco want to move here, with us intolerant bigots, they are welcomed to do so.  However, it is they who will need to adapt—to small-town, rural America.  And they would be in good company, too.  An acquaintance of mine once told me how proud he was to be from a small town.  “Jesus was from a small town,” he said.  “Do you know how I know that?”

No, I replied.

“It’s the only place God could find three wise men and a virgin.”

        —Chuck Robertson
Owosso, MI

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