Category Archive 'Flyover States'

02 Apr 2018

“The Middle of Nowhere”

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An 1812 log cabin somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

Salena Zito takes personal exception to the coastal urban elites’ condescension toward people who would rather live in the real America.

Earlier this year, Bill Kristol, editor at large at the Weekly Standard, tweeted ahead of the Super Bowl that it was too bad two Acela Corridor teams, the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles, had to play their matchup “in the middle of nowhere.”

It was a reference to the host city of Minneapolis’ location in the Midwest, far from the “civilized worlds” of Boston and Philadelphia – the assumption being that unless you are on the East Coast, your town’s sophistication and glamour could not live up to the modern amenities of a cosmopolitan city.

In my estimation, there is no patch of geography in this country that is the “middle of nowhere.” This is America; everywhere is the middle of somewhere.

Whether it is Tightwad, Mo., Mooresville, Ala., Hyder, Alaska, Oatman, Ariz., or right here in Lost River, W.Va., every place, large or small, depressed or thriving, or down to one mailbox on one lonely road, is somewhere.

We are all equals; we all contribute to the culture, diversity, dialect, and importance of this country. We build things, we serve in our communities, we serve in our military, we create families, businesses, and technology no matter where we are – we find a way to make each village and town and city a unique snapshot of this country.

It is an idea and an ideal that Hillary Clinton not only got wrong in the last election, but is still getting wrong; her remarks in India in March reinforced that.

“If you look at the map of the United States, there’s all that red in the middle where Trump won,” she said. “I win the coast, I win, you know, Illinois and Minnesota, places like that.”

She went on to say that where she won, America is thriving: “I won the places that represent two-thirds of America’s gross domestic product. So, I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward. And his whole campaign, ‘Make America Great Again,’ was looking backwards.”

Clinton is not the only person to hold that contempt. Many of her supporters have gone on to agree with her and to hold those same strident positions – and their condescension for half of the country has only deepened since November 2016.

No one has learned anything; no one cares to. Everyone wants to hold on to their bigotry towards the people who live and work and worship and go on with the business of life outside of “the places that represent two thirds of America’s gross domestic product.”

They don’t get that they are just as optimistic, just as diverse, just as dynamic, and deal with the same issues of gender, sexuality, and race just as often as they do. They just don’t make slick commercials of their lives to reinforce their worthiness.

They deal with these issues with dignity, not fanfare.

The response last week to Roseanne Barr’s return to ABC primetime television floored these same elites – the two-episode premiere attracted an astounding 18.2 million viewers, over-performing in the very middle of America, in states like Oklahoma, Ohio, and Pennsylvania where towns like Claremore, Center of the World, and Intercourse are always beating back the notion they are in the middle of nowhere.

Cities like New York and Los Angeles did not even crack the top 20.

Those “middle of somewhere” places showed everyone they are a viable and prosperous force to be reckoned with and that whether they supported Trump or not, they are tired of rarely finding an American family who looked just like them on television – when they do, those shows are often canceled too quickly.

Politics, government, Hollywood, and popular culture have long overlooked the middle of America – diversity focuses of the last generation have been on color and gender, leaving behind the religious, cultural, and economic diversity of the Midwest.

Their role has been to be a butt of a joke, or mocked, or sneered at, or all three.

Our current political populism has been a pushback against larger institutions like Hollywood and its disconnect with the heartland – and it has also been a pushback against establishment politicians, like Clinton and her unmasked contempt for those who live here.

It is only once the people in power understand that Trump was the result of this movement, and not the cause, that maybe they’ll start calling all of America the middle of somewhere.



That contempt often proceeds to real aggression. As Glenn Reynolds observes:

“Gun Control [u]ltimately, [is] all about humiliating the flyover rubes and letting them know who is boss. Everything else is window dressing.”

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