A few days ago, a dear but liberal friend came to visit. (She voted for Obama, but I love her anyway.) This friend is aware of our concerns about the economy. As we walked out to the garden to look at the newly sprouting vegetables, she commented, “I hear so many people are planting gardens that seed companies are running out of seeds.”

“They’re calling them recession gardens,” I replied. “People are planting them because they’re worried about a steady food supply in the future.”

“No, they’re planting them because Michelle Obama planted a garden at the White House,” my friend replied. “They’re following her example.”

Uh, no.

I find this typical of Obama supporters: They deny reality. People can’t be scared by Obama – they’re inspired by him instead!

Last week I drove to the airport to pick up some friends. The route took me through what I call Car Row because of the number of new and used dealerships. Because I don’t go to the airport very often, it had been a while since I’d traveled this particular stretch of road.

What I saw startled me. Some of the car dealerships were gone. Their parking lots were empty, the showrooms were bare, and “For Lease” signs stood forlornly near the road. The remaining dealerships looked … well, desperate. Other businesses in the area were gone, too. Restaurants, a ballet studio, furniture stores … many were vacant.

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Although this is anecdotal, it seemed a stunningly visible illustration of the current state of our economy.

Contrary to the sweetness and light claims of the present administration, the people of Flyover Country know darned good and well the economy is not improving. Many are scared of the government’s interference in the free market and private sector. Some of us are concerned enough to stockpile supplies. This automatically labels us, for some reason, as kooks.

Kooks believe there will be widespread disruption of our current luxurious lifestyle in the near future. Since we’re not enamored of the government’s handling of the economy, we’re considered “nutjobs” and “dumb” when we stockpile essentials. (Like it’s anybody’s business if we choose to spend our money on canning jars and garden seeds!)

Consider this ABC article in which they portray everyone who prepares as a TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) survival extremist. The mainstream media tend to focus on the “peak oil” people (somehow concluding that they’re among the kookiest), without considering that most of us “survivalists” are just ordinary folks worried about job security and the economy.

Or take a look at this Kansas City Star article. There’s no question they consider “preppers” as strange and counterculture.

As I plant my nonhybrid melon and broccoli seeds, as I order a new set of reusable feminine hygiene products for my youngest daughter (who will need it within a year or two), as I can up a batch of apple pie filling, as we buy 200 pounds of flour, as I hang our laundry out to dry, as my husband stacks logs for next winter’s firewood, as I make pizza from a batch of fresh mozzarella from our cow’s milk, as I plant potatoes and peas, as we look at our steer and consider when he’ll be old enough to butcher, as we re-stake our young fruit trees, as we inventory our ammunition, as my husband helps a neighbor plow her garden, as we mend some fences … I wonder what ABC News or the Kansas City Star would make of us. We’re not extremists. We just don’t like being overly dependent on modern technology or in thrall to Washington. We’re dependent enough as it is.

The mainstream media can’t seem to portray anyone with concerns about the future in anything but a condescending, unflattering, off-the-deep-end light. Why is a desire for independence and self-sufficiency – some of the founding characteristics of this country – now considered to be offbeat, weird, or even un-American?

I find it ludicrous that some apartment-bound critic who would be hungry, thirsty, cold, in the dark and unable to use the toilet during a natural disaster has the gall to criticize someone for growing tomatoes in his backyard and stockpiling canned corn. Those of us who will be warm and well-fed during a disaster are called “nutjobs,” “wackos,” “dumb” and the ever-popular “right-wing extremists.”

And most importantly – if the bleep hits the fan, whose door will the critics be knocking on, desperately looking for handouts?

The knee-slappingly funny thing is these same critics – who possess no practical skills beyond the ability to craft a cutting sentence or verbally spear beauty queens – are positive they represent the common viewpoint of most Americans.

Wrong.

A recent Gallup poll found that 21 percent of Americans describe themselves as liberal while 40 percent call themselves conservative. Forty percent. But does this mean our opinions are mainstream? NoooOOOooo. Liberals view themselves as inherently good and conservatives as inherently evil. We’re still regarded as kooks and right-wing extremists. The liberal minority in this country are setting policy, policing our lives and telling us what to do – and then they tell us we’re out of touch when we object.

And which group is most likely to consider the need for preparedness? Why, the kooky conservatives of course! The liberals trust the government will provide for their every need, just as it did after Hurricane Katrina. The conservatives know better.

It’s not just that liberals like being dependent on government. It’s that liberals are determined to make the rest of us dependent on government as well, to the extent they think we should be. Those who don’t like being dependent are labeled as potential domestic terrorists.

But maybe things are changing. A recent article discussing “suburban survivalists” hardly poked fun at them at all. After all, it’s hard to ridicule people like doctors, lawyers, teachers and realtors who “shatter the survivalist stereotype.”

Now excuse me, it’s time to go milk the cow. It’s what we kooks do in our spare time, you see.

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