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A while back, I wrote a column, “God has blessed America,” regarding a visit I made into a portion of the heartland of America.
“I flew into and landed in Minneapolis, Minn., then was picked up and driven to Brookings, S.D. Next time you fly somewhere in the U.S., get a window seat and look out at the incredibly varied landscape below. Besides bustling cities, there is a vast amount of uninhabited land in almost every state.
“When you fly over Minnesota and South Dakota, you have to be impressed with the number of acres dedicated exclusively to farming, with occasional homes dotting the landscape. Driving down the highway, you see miles and miles of miles and miles; as far as the eye could see were rolling landscapes with fields full of corn, soybeans and a multitude of food plants. Silos, barns, small towns with truck stops and huge farm implements dealerships, grain transports, truck and train, parked roadside and thousands of power-generating wind turbines.
“There and back, everywhere we stopped people, male and female, were friendly, helpful and supportive. (And incidentally, if anyone noticed I was black, there was absolutely no evidence of it.) This was heartland America, where violent crime per 100,000 ranks South Dakota 46th out of 50 states; North Dakota is 49th.
“Maybe the solution to many of our “anti-America” problems is to simply let Americans see the real America with their own eyes, not the jaundiced eyes of the media elite and professional agitators.”
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I received many responses to that column, including one from a local who confirmed the reality I observed from my vehicle. With her permission, I quote from her response to my piece:
“What a wonderful and uplifting column today on WND. It’s nice to see something positive to counter the plethora of negative news we all hear.
“I noted with interest your statement, ‘People have a tendency to judge all by their immediate surroundings.’ That is so very true.
“My husband and I live on a remote 20-acre homestead in northern Idaho; two of four miles are off-road. We raise beef and dairy cattle, chickens (eggs and meat), small fruits, wheat (sometimes) and have a large garden. We are not unusual in this part of the country – many around us are very self-sufficient. While our terrain is nowhere near as flat as South Dakota, we’re just as capable (depending on what direction we drive) to go for hours without seeing a city.
“There is relatively little crime in this area since everyone – and I mean everyone – is armed and, therefore, polite. The existing crime tends to be drug-related. (Sadly, rural areas are not immune to the poison of drugs.) But on the whole, America’s heartland is a place of deep faith, active church attendance and fine people. Many children leave the area when they grow up and migrate into cities for jobs, but they bring with them a heritage of hard work, thrift and conservative values.
“Because we’re surrounded by patriotic and independent citizens, I forget not everyone is like-minded. It’s always shocking to travel to a big city (I take a business trip once a year) and see blatantly progressive opinions and attitudes from people who have no flipping clue how dependent they are on government, either directly or indirectly. When you cultivate your own food, a loaf of bread or a block of cheese (both made from raw ingredients) becomes a small God-be-thanked miracle rather than something taken for granted. The same applies to our constitutional rights and liberties.
“Keep up the excellent writing, and thank you for your accolades to rural America. If you ever find yourself headed to our area, please drop me a line. We’d love to give you a farm tour and treat you to a meal of home-grown organic grass-fed beef.” (Patrice Lewis)
Meeting, greeting and getting letters from people like this lady are part and parcel of what keeps me from becoming less than optimistic about the future of America. While I know it appears folks like herself, her family and neighbors are rapidly becoming the true “minority” in America, I recall the history of this great country; the original patriots were also a minority so, as they say, “hope springs eternal.”
Finally, as someone who grew up eating (we didn’t know it was organic) food from our own garden and eating home-raised chickens and eggs, I am putting that invitation “to a meal of home-grown, organic grass-fed beef” on my bucket list!