A Harrowing Trip to 'Flyover Country'
A former resident of the Leftmedia bubble spends a little time with everyday Americans ... who aren't crazy.
If you spend time watching any of the so-called mainstream media outlets, you’ll quickly discover that there’s nothing mainstream about them. The talkingheads, writers and producers of CNN, MSNBC and, yes, in some cases Fox News, think that the DC Swamp reflects the values, mindset and culture of most Americans.
Unfortunately, those who believe what they see on these networks have a grossly distorted understanding of their fellow Americans. CNN viewers, for example, must believe that all those sad souls living between DC and San Francisco are like the prisoners in Plato’s Republic, desperately needing to be led out of the dark cave by enlightened “liberals.”
There are many erroneous assumptions made by the media about Middle America. They think we’re generally a collection of uneducated white supremacists, gun-toters and religious zealots. They think we want the federal government shut down simply because we embrace federalism, or that we want the Old South to rise again when we talk about restoring traditional values.
They forget that we’re the ones who fought against slavery, Jim Crow and the KKK, and that our history is one of standing up for the rights of all Americans. Conversely, the Left is notorious for shutting down anyone with opposing viewpoints, and for oppressing and minimizing those who don’t see things as they do. They don’t merely detest those of us who live far away from the big cities on the coasts; they want to silence us.
Ken Stern, former CEO of National Public Radio, writes, “When you are liberal, and everyone else around you is as well, it is easy to fall into groupthink on what stories are important, what sources are legitimate and what the narrative of the day will be.”
So, he decided to gain some life experience. “For an entire year, I embedded myself with the other side, standing in pit row at a NASCAR race, hanging out at Tea Party meetings and sitting in on Steve Bannon’s radio show,” he recounts. “I found an America far different from the one depicted in the press and imagined by presidents (‘cling to guns or religion’) and presidential candidates (‘basket of deplorables’) alike.”
We’re shocked — shocked!
One great example Stern notes: The issue of defensive gun use (DGU) “is often dismissed by the media as myth.” Indeed, to them, anyone who owns a gun is a potential criminal, and the concept that citizens might actually own and use guns as a means of self-defense is as alien to the Left as the idea of free speech. But, Stern explains, “DGUs happen all the time — 200 times a day, according to the Department of Justice, or 5,000 times a day, according to an overly exuberant Florida State University study. But whichever study you choose to believe, DGUs happen frequently and give credence to my hunting friends who see their guns as the last line of defense for themselves and their families.”
See what happens when you actually leave the Mother Ship to meet those strange conservative creatures living on terra firma? You learn that we’re not so crazy, that we have some pretty good ideas about making our country a better place, and that our minds are open to just about anyone willing to consider the idea that constitutionally limited government and Liberty are still worth fighting for.
Some may suggest that the ever-growing chasm between red and blue states is a relatively harmless characteristic, a mere phase of evolution. But this phase is more like a seismic shift of the sort that we haven’t seen in 150 years.
Even during the tumultuous period of the civil rights movement, while blacks and whites couldn’t drink from the same fountains or eat in the same restaurants, we read the same books, believed in a higher power, and watched the same movies. We all believed in free speech, religious liberty, and the basic ideals that founded our country, at least in principle if not always in practice.
Cultural commonalities are essential in keeping society together. These bonds ensure that when there is serious upheaval, we can ride out the storm.
We emerged stronger and even more united after previous upheavals. But this time seems different. We can all feel it, and progressives and conservatives are all talking about it. This time, instead of looking for solutions, we’re pulling away from each other. And unlike conservatives, most of whom are willing and eager to have a discussion, those on the Left seem content only with launching hateful attacks.
Peggy Noonan, a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, writes, “Those who create our culture feel free to lecture normal Americans — on news shows, on late night comedy shows. Why do they have such a propensity for violence? What is their love for guns? Why do they join the National Rifle Association? The influential grind away with their disdain for their fellow Americans, whom they seem less to want to help than to dominate: Give up your gun, bake my cake, free speech isn’t free if what you’re saying triggers us.”
Yep, it’s their way or the highway. But that’s not how our Founding Fathers hashed out a new Constitution in Philadelphia.
Where we go from here is anybody’s guess, but as long as those with the power to influence our culture continue to paint a picture of Middle America as a backwater full of “deplorables,” as long as those with traditional values are belittled and dismissed, and as long as the Left is willing to destroy our constitutional rights to implement their New Society, the divide will grow wider and deeper.