The Western United States has a split personality. The film that exemplifies what I'm talking about is Serenity. In that movie, Earth, too overpopulated to sustain those on it, is left by large numbers of settlers for a new solar system. The Inner Planets form a totalitarian Interplanetary Alliance, while the Outer Planets remain essentially freewheeling and libertine. I guess you could compare the first set to:
- Washington State: Where the City of Seattle has a bottomless supply of schemes to force (notice I didn't say encourage) people out of automobiles.
- California: Where at one point they were attempting to make homeschooling illegal.
- Oregon: I'm not quite sure exactly what they are doing but this state gives me the creeps. --Austin, TX/Denver, CO: the twin towers of Southwestern-style doom, which watch the West Coast in admiration and are emulating them.
While the second set would be more comparable to Montana, Eastern Washington/Eastside of Seattle, Wyoming, Colorado, West Texas, Idaho, Nevada.
Really, it comes down to the people who created the West. On one hand, you had the corporate men, the government, the cavalry, the people who came more for money or power then freedom, land, or a simple life, and they attached themselves to high convoluted ideas like, Manifest Destiny, and if you and yours didn't fit in to their little vision, you had better get out of town because they would find you and kill you, just as they did with the Indians. They wanted to make Europe, wanted to make a grand civilization, and then they started Starbucks. They may be city people, and they may act effeminate and drink Lattes, but don't let that fool you, they are mean nasty dudes. If the gangs in Philly saw these guys riding over the ridge, they'd wimper, they'd cry, they'd quake in their boots and they'd get out of town immediately, and to their credit, some of the cities with this mentality (like Seattle) have low crime rates.
Now, in this day and age, they don't really kill people much - maybe they softened up a little, or maybe they just know that now lawman has arrived, you can't get away with that kind of BS anymore. But that doesn't mean they don't still want Eurotopia. They build mass-transit systems, and then insist people ride them, as if the people are for the train, and not the train for the people. And if you don't listen, they throw a $6 toll on the bridge from your town in to the city, and if you still don't listen, they restrict parking and shut down all garages beyond a certain size. And in California, to get their little slice of heaven, they take a useful industrial town and use a wacky combination of environmental activism, population limits, and bizarre byzantine regulation to push all useful business out of the town and make it in to a Hacienda for the rich and glamorous - it's called Santa Barbara.
But then theirs the other western mentality, the one that John Wayne tried to portray on TV and was usually showcased (not very well) in the Western's. The loud, but humble, ambitious, but simple, open-minded, but honorable, lawless, but responsible, American Cowboy. He's the guy who just want's to be left alone and go on his way, and he's like the crew of Serenity. See, he wasn't the one who killed the Indians. He thought they were just folk. He wouldn't have done it, he wouldn't have seen it as right. It was all the pretty people off in LA and SF who did that dirty work, plus the law men, or contracted out the Army to do it, and even to this day they still try to rid the West of all that isn't European. One target down, so many to go.
Of course, the way Obama, and California, is going, who knows, 2012 could be their last stand! But, probably not, probably just a minor setback.... (notice I'm trying to incite an argument.)