While researching a brand of wristwatch yesterday I chanced upon an article where the term “flyover country” was levied most certainly as a pejorative.
I’ve been guilty of this myself a few times. It’s no secret that I don’t see eye-to-eye with the local culture/way of doing things in Fargo, ND where I currently reside at my employer’s pleasure. I only volunteered for the Fargo posting because nobody else wants to go there and I was sucking up to curry favor with management for my plan to request Italy, Germany, or England in another year or two. It became very apparent to me that I’m just not a midwest personality. I ache to be out west again, in mountain country and to have a city large enough to support a Cheesecake Factory within an hour’s drive. My wife heard an old man from Bismarck say they couldn’t live with the “hustle and bustle” of Fargo. We cracked up laughing, not derisively, but in amusement at our own culture shock. How two different people observe the same subject but see two different things. He sees “hustle and bustle” where we see a quaint, small town.
But as miserable as Fargo sometimes makes us (Arizona natives in a Fargo winter are a pretty bad match) and as firm as we are in our plans to leave when possible, one thought keeps shouting at me from the back of my mind.
These people that big-city folk like to call “hicks” grow and provide all our food.
Let that sink in a minute. I might really enjoy big city life, but you tell me what metropolis in America isn’t a net importer of everything that sustains living? Millions upon millions of people in America would starve if it wasn’t for those “hicks” or “bumpkins”. Think California or New York could feed their own state’s population if they had to? Not on your life. Texas could probably feed Dallas/Ft. Worth. The pacific northwest (where my wife and I dream of moving) would be fine. I don’t know how well Arizona could support Phoenix and Tucson.
My point is this: I don’t like living in the midwest (or northern plains country) and the way they do things, but I don’t grow my own food and wasn’t raised a hunter either. My food comes from the grocery store. But I know where it comes from before that, too. (Anti-Monsanto rants saved for a future post.) So I do my very best to keep my mouth shut and be grateful, because my well-paying job doesn’t actually make me self-sustaining.
The next time you want to talk about “flyover country” as if there’s nothing there worth consideration, consider what you eat for a month. Then consider being nice.