I once heard a woman listing the colleges to which her daughter was applying, all in California and on the east coast. “None of the fly-over states,” she said. Ouch! And how pretentious.
I’ve been thinking about that recently, as national elections loom and my beloved Giants are in the NLCS playoffs with the St. Louis Cardinals. St. Louis gets a bad rap. All you ever hear about are high crime rates, racist cops, extreme humidity, floods, and tornados. But as with most of the so-called flyover states, there’s also a lot to like about St. Louis, which I know, having visited my parents there countless times over the last 36 years. It’s one of the oldest cities in the country, founded in 1764. There are beautiful neighborhoods, a multitude of ethnic restaurants, cafes and bakeries, and a 1,400-acre urban park (Forest Park is twice as big as Central Park in New York) containing the art museum, history museum and zoo, all of which are free.
Here’s some of what is not on the east or west coast: the Mississippi River – stand on its banks and watch barges moving millions of tons of raw materials and finished products up and down this mighty river, draining all or part of 31 states and two Canadian provinces; also, the cities of Minneapolis, Chicago, St. Louis, Memphis, and New Orleans, to name a few. The Rocky Mountains and the Grand Canyon are not on the coasts, either. My point is that all things bright and beautiful are not restricted to the edges of the continent. The same goes for all things wise and wonderful, meaning the inhabitants of said fly-over states.
As we approach the mid-term elections, you’ll be hearing the usual red state-blue state drivel. The truth is that all states are some shade of purple. Again, take St. Louis. The urban parts mainly vote Democrat and the rural parts Republican. What a surprise. And guess what, the same could be said for California. A state with a lot of Independents like Vermont might be a lovely shade of lilac, while Alabama is more like a beet red, with just a hint of purple. Not everyone in a red state is red, and not everyone in a blue state is blue. It’s all so silly. And besides, as my mother the life-long Republican says, shouldn’t the Democrats be the red ones?
Instead of dismissing the rest of the country, we should all get out and explore it, because there are some pretty cool places to see, and some pretty nice people to meet.
All that being said, I still desperately want the Giants to win! – Ann