On the East Coast, the North doesn't see anything but what is near them and the South mistakenly thinks that the Redneck culture makes them unique. Yet as a man who has travelled across America I can tell you that if there was one group of people who really represent this country, it is the good ole fashioned, confederate-flag-waving, bootleg-drinking, gun-shooting American redneck. Whether you're in Jersey Devil Territory, the Appalachians of Tennessee, Central California, most of Washington State, Idaho, Wisconsin, Michigan, the redneck is there still shooting his shotgun from his porch, thumping his bible and cussing out the decadent, apathetic, pseudoeducated world that condescends him.
No matter how much reminder we get, be it the successful populist campaigns of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, the prominent featuring of Northeastern rednecks in Hollywood classic "Harold & Kumar," or the simple fact that West Texas & Oklahoma are not actually part of the South (sorry buds), we seem to forget that they really are all around us and how much power they really have. This isn't a new thing, I heard from my father that even in the American Revolution such tendencies existed, but as an automotive culture I think we have less of an excuse, as the redneck really is the spirit of America.
He rejects authority, he always tries his best, he has honor, keeps his word and doesn't accept what isn't his, he's creative and doesn't allow class distinctions to distort his mind, he fights for what's right and is a good companion on the battlefield, and though he has no qualms about offending, he is also prone to exceptional kindness, like a couple I knew on a flight where I was nervous about the way the plane was turning and they shared some Jack & Coke with me. She too, she's a strong lady, not an imaginary hurtful feminist who believes that by destroying others she can be relevant, but true strength, strength that is gentle but doesn't submit, that gives what is right and keeps what is wrong, that has dignity and sees that others have such too, and stands by her family and all that she works so hard for.
Now that's not to say Redneck America doesn't have it's flaws - no place will ever be perfect, and indeed that same lack of authority and genuineness that makes it such a special place also makes it very hard to deal with bad apples who throw blacks out of mountain towns and incite violence, but if Redneck America is lost, all that America has to give the world, and all the sacrifices, all the blood, all the vision, all the genius and real inspiration, from California to Alaska to the mighty Rockies to the Kansas Prairie to the Hard-whiskey Appalachians will have been lost and we will be succeeded by a nation of suckers, utopians, and sycophants. Republicans will compare it to France and the USSR, but we will not even be as good as those, as at least they had histories, genius and visions of their own. We would never invent an AK-47 -- or French Cooking. Actually, the rednecks made our cooking and music too.
P.S. The article on Meg Whitman will be held until next week as I am awaiting permission to use a photograph. In the meantime, I will post on many of the other topics, or topics similar to them, I discussed in the last post.