The name of my column is Real America. I try to give opinion and commentary from Flyover Country, where I live.
Every so often I get asked exactly where Flyover Country is. Here’s one definition.
Take out a map of the U.S. and mark the biggest cities in red. You’ll likely circle such places as Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle.
In other words, you’ve made a big loop around the perimeter of the country. Everything else is Flyover Country, called this because everyone flies over it in their trips to reach the large urban centers.
There’s a lot to be said for this definition, broad though it is. To hear a lot of the media, you’d think these huge metropolises around the boundaries of our country are the only place people can, or would want to, live. Who in their right mind would want to be anywhere else? Doesn’t everyone long to be in these cultured and sophisticated enclaves? But the media is missing something huge. That something is Real America.
In response to my obvious bias, occasionally readers living in big cities will send me outraged e-mails. “What about us?” they cry. “Don’t we live in Real America?”
Not really. The trouble with big cities is they’re almost always liberal. Anyone with a dissenting view is drummed out of town, either literally or figuratively. Those who are common-sense in their beliefs and voting records keep a low profile for fear of reprisal. That’s not “real,” folks. That’s intimidation.
Consider Andrew Klavan’s observation about “cultural para-stimuli.” He says, “It’s sort of like peer pressure on steroids. It was discovered by Nobel Laureate Victor Ransome Starling, who found that when he surrounded normal cats with cats whose behavior had been bizarrely altered by brain surgery, the normal cats began acting like the crazy cats all around them.”
Are urban liberals like crazy cats? Maybe. It just seems that those who live in big urban centers – whether officially crazy or not – frequently have similar mindsets, often completely at odds with the thoughts and opinions of those in Flyover Country.
To illustrate: On page 103 in Ann Coulter’s book “Slander,” she examines the liberal bias against conservative books, even those that are runaway best-sellers. After Rush Limbaugh’s book “The Way Things Ought to Be” spent nearly a year on the New York Times best-seller list, a book reviewer explained away Limbaugh’s success by saying his appeal “is to a part of middle America – call it the silent majority or the American People or the booboisie.”
That’s what they think of us. We’re the “booboisie.” The implication is that liberals are so much more enlightened, compassionate and advanced than we pathetic Flyovers. They prefer to pat us on the head and tell us to toddle back to our lowly blue-collar jobs while they, the lofty and elite, will decide what social policies are best for us.
Because they can’t take the collective opinion of Real America seriously, we are dismissed. To hear the media talk, every single inhabitant of the millions of square miles of Flyover Country is a rube. A yokel. Backwoods hick. Troglodyte. Or, to quote the charming e-mail I received from Kimberly in response to last weekend’s column, a “backwoods country bumpkin.” (Thanks, Kimberly. I’ve worked hard to overcome my urban rudeness to become a backwoods country bumpkin.)
Yes sirree, we inhabitants of Flyover Country are ignorant. Our opinions are stupid, our votes are not worthy, our voices should be silenced. If you wear a blue collar or if you’re not a college graduate (particularly of the Ivy League schools), fogheddaboutit.
But in dismissing our voices, the media and the urban liberals are ignoring the backbone that keeps this country moral, sane and true to the vision of our Founding Fathers.
Now, having lumped millions of inhabitants of liberal cities into one category, let me expand my definition of Flyover Country. Flyover Country is not a location; it’s a state of mind. It’s anywhere people are tired of having their common sense dismissed as ignorant or unworthy. It’s anywhere people recognize that the elites and the politicians are utilizing us as cash cows and slaves to the state for their own socialist agendas – rather than for the good of the nation in accord with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Many inhabitants of Flyover Country do indeed reside in metropolitan centers. They have my sympathy, for they are surrounded by intolerance.
The ways of liberal urbanites are strange and foreign to the inhabitants of Flyover Country. Their logic, their reasoning, their voting record, their opinions … these are incomprehensible to us, bordering on lunatic. Why on earth would anyone be against family values? How can anyone favor socialism over the free market?
Even the (ahem) “simplest” truck driver knows you can’t spend more than you make before trouble starts. Even the “dumbest” farmer knows that giving people free money doesn’t encourage them to make a living.
For too long, those of us who have principles and moral character have been apologetic for having them. Large groups of people from Flyover Country do not walk down the streets of Seattle and break windows when they don’t get their way. Real Americans do not threaten individuals, churches and businesses for voting against a ballot measure the majority found repugnant. Flyover Country is a sleeping giant – we’re still sleeping, but not very well.
So here’s a warning to the liberal elite and the media: Don’t dismiss us. We are far stronger than you realize.
By the way, I’m writing a new book. Are you a Real American trapped in a city? Do you live in a small town or rural area of Middle America? Are your opinions conservative or libertarian? E-mail me. My plan is to give a voice to the unheard.
Flyover Country is waking up. And when we do, we’ll do as we have always done. We’ll get to work.