Open Letter To The Flyover States
Dear Flyover States,
Ok, I admit it, we screwed the pooch a little.
According to some talking heads, the results of this past election might have been brought about by the latte-sipping media elite ignoring those flyover states – states in the center of the country and by which when we say “flyover states” we mean rural folk.
This media elite (of which I must be considered one: I live on the east coast-ish, voted for Obama twice, and voted for Clinton in this election, I work a white-collar job, and am college educated, and I support an FDR-style of liberalism that roots for the working guy, the underdog over the corporate goliaths) has you believing that we think that you are just not smart enough to see past the balsamic smarm of a Trump presidency.
That is unfortunate.
And for this, I apologize. To the extent that I have contributed to this idea that working-class values are not my values, I was wrong.
But I am going to make some assumptions here and stop me if you think I am wrong.
I assume you and I both have families that we care a lot about. We both like spending holidays with. I assume that we both want to protect them too, in so many different ways. I assume that we want to help them grow and to achieve whatever their dreams are, whether it is to become a teacher, or to carry on the family farm, whether they hope to become tradesmen, carpenters and electricians to build affordable housing, or sprawling estates high on some hill somewhere for people with lots of money. Or maybe our children just want to work at a job that allows them to raise their families, just as we have. Whether these children want to become welders to build skyscrapers, bridges, schools and hospitals, or if our children want to become engineers, lawyers or doctors, we have to agree that these are pretty neat things to encourage our children to become!
I assume you like to hunt and fish. Some of us do too! I assume you like to travel some. Same here! The raw, silent beauty of the Everglades humbles us, just as the same way that the fluorescent energy of New York City does you!
You place great deal of importance in a transcendent faith, and so do we, though this belief may not always be in the same things. Still we both believe in something greater than us, in some form or another.
I love poetry, and you love country music. And we all love rock’n’ roll. I love rap, and well, nearly everyone under a certain age loves rap these days no matter what state they are from. I love art, and classical music and you may carry on a tradition of family crafts or pass down a fiddling technique to your children and grandchildren.
I assume that you and I both worry about our retirements and our health as we age. We worry if our jobs will still be around when it’s time to retire. We worry if Social Security will still be here for us and will our pensions or 401Ks be enough. And don’t we both worry about our parents, and how we will care for them as they age? And secretly, don’t you worry like me, just a little, who will take care of us in our final days?
I assume you want to get to know and care for your grandchildren, and teach them the same simple joys you knew as a child, just like me.
I assume we both worry about the kinds of natural disasters that can happen to any one of us, whether it be floods, or tornadoes, or hurricanes or monster blizzards. Each of us watches the news, horrified at the loss of life and property with such empathy. And the money, the money to recover always flows from one state to the other and back again: from red state to blue, and blue state to blue, from red state to red and from blue back to red.
I assume that you, like me, like to root for the underdog. I’ll bet were both even cheering for the Cubs this past October, weren’t we? And i bet we both came to really to appreciate the great sportsmanship and work ethic of the Cleveland Indians, didn’t we?
Isn’t there always the language of baseball between us?
These are how we find ourselves in each other! Community, compassion, mercy, giving someone a second-chance, getting a fair shake. Aren’t these typical American idioms that attract so many people to our borders these days?
But here is something to consider: studies indicate that my tax money is more likely to go to you, than your tax money is to come to me. When they look at “giver” and “taker” states, many of you Flyover States seem to be on the “taker” side of the equation. And you know what? That’s ok with us!
Because when we consider all of these common values, we want to believe that we are always stronger together than as individual state, don’t we? And who knows when the situation might be reversed and we might need some of that big wad of cash we have all ponied up. That is the beauty of a United States of America. What we really are telling you that despite all our differences, is that we are brothers and sisters and that we are in this together.
But the uniqueness of our states also provides us an exoticism, like traveling to whole new countries every time we cross state lines, like Europe!
Please know that what I am talking about has nothing to do with politics. It has everything to do with the fabric of civility upon which we have built our relationships.
I hope the outcome of this election helps restore your faith in the process, and you can, in time, come to reflect on what I have said and it can be like it used to be: all of us in the same row boat, pulling in the same direction. And I hope that you will fight for our rights, the same way we that will fight for yours, in the same way that all of our parents from every state, once fought for ours.
Call me when you come for a visit. Maybe we can share a latte?
The Bi-Coastal Media Elite