By: Pat Austin
FORT SMITH, AR – I am on my way back to the deep South after a family vacation to the heartland of America; we went to the Midwest where in Iowa, for example, many people don’t answer their phones because “it might be a politician.” They have answering machines still screening their calls. It’s a way of life.
Over the past ten days I have talked to people in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas, not to mention my home state of Louisiana, and I see a real pattern of frustration with big government and frustration with not only this Obama administration, but in general with the way this country is headed.
People in the heartland of America are hurting. While I certainly don’t pretend to speak for the Midwest in general (because there are definite pockets of liberalism – especially in college towns) what I saw and heard tends to give me hope that the tide is turning. People seem to be realizing that Obama and Hillary are not working in their favor.
In Texas, for example, I spoke to a woman who used to have health care coverage through an independent plan and now does not have any medical coverage; she signed up for Obamacare but her doctor won’t take it. She’s almost eligible for Medicare but who knows who will take that. In the meantime she has nothing.
And she is very nervous. Mind you: her previous coverage was just fine, thank you. Then Obamacare changed everything.
As I moved more to the Midwest, I saw more and more people who were hurting for different reasons. In the farming communities I saw people struggling to survive as their small towns dry up. The culprit there is not Obamacare but it’s a more entrenched problem: hyper-capitalism. Even in the smallest town in Iowa, for example, the downtown of the town is shuttered while on the outside of town, closer to the interstate, the Wal-Mart (aka: China goods) is thriving.
The mom and pop stores are gone. That means American jobs are lost.
In the heartland, the little grocery stores, drug stores, and community center shops where one used to meet friends, socialize, shop, and visit, are dying; people go to WalMart.
To me, it’s just sad. I drove through countess towns over the past ten days where shops are shuttered and people have vacant looks on their faces as they ponder what the future holds for them.
As small businesses are swallowed up by corporations and corporations move operations overseas to strive for the almighty dollar and make a profit, the fabric of America is coming unraveled.
I wish more people would come out of the skyscrapers, cookie-cutter suburbian homes, and the cities, and visit small town America. It’s a beautiful place. When is the last time YOU stood in a pasture as rain fell about you and curious cows walked up to you to see what you were doing there?
When is the last time you went to a Farmer’s Market in a little town? One that had maybe ten tents but it was the best they could do and everyone not only knew each other but knew each other’s parents and grandparents; where you felt a sense of connectedness?
The heartland of America is alive and well; they are struggling and they are hurting, but there is a spirit there that will never, ever die. In those small towns? They are fighting against WalMart when they can; when they can they support the local guy. There are local franchises and companies that are making jobs.
And as far as that Obamacare business? From the signs I’ve seen, the heartland is done with that. They’re ready to get back to their roots and take care of themselves.
We still have a long row to hoe, but I think that the Mother Ship America is ready to right herself and set sail on a course of a prosperous future: one of self-reliance, small government, and independence. The only problem, of course,, is getting the left and east coast to figure out that there is more to America that Starbucks and subway transportation.
Come to the heartland and see what real America is.
Pat Austin also blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport