Before I get to the point of today’s post, a culinary prelude — this evening we drove to the north side of Harrison and dined at Jamie’s Restaurant, aka “Jamie’s Local Flavor.” The mid-scale joint was founded seven years ago by a long-time executive sous-chef at Big Cedar Lodge, and the fare shows it.
I really wanted to try the “Deep-Fried Bacon,” but I skipped the appetizer and went right for the “Woo Pig ‘Wich.” The menu describes this gastronomic delight as “hickory-smoked pulled pork topped with crispy fried jalapeños, onion tanglers, cheddar jack cheese, and a sweet chili BBQ sauce.”
Seriously one of the best sammiches I’ve had in ages.
Oh, and after a string of disappointments lately, I’m pleased to report that Jamie’s knows how to make proper sweet tea. Served in a quart Ball jar, no less.
We’ll be back. That’s a promise.
For readers who’ve come here lately for the travelogue, this post might disappoint you a little. Those who remember when Ubi Libertas Blog was my daily commentary on current events and culture will find it more familiar.
What follows isn’t political. It’s a riff on principles, values and standards, as Deb and I apply them to the journey we’ve undertaken.
When we plot our course, we’re guided by a whole range of things — time, distance, campground availability, travel cost, cuisine and culture, places and people we’d like to see and so on. In a few months we’ll have to take into account not just weather but the seasons.
We also consider the law. Under our federalist system, that means we encounter a statutory patchwork as we travel the country. Some states have enacted laws that run counter to what we believe as Liberty-loving Americans.
There’s perhaps no better gauge of Liberty than how a particular state treats rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America — gun laws, that is. And in choosing where to go, we look carefully at that.
Now I suppose we could pull up a list of “gun-friendly” states, as ranked by the NRA or some other gun-rights group. Thing is, the law isn’t about being “friendly.” In this case it’s about punishing the exercise of essential Liberty. So it’s more useful for us to look at “scorecards” put out by the Brady Campaign, the Giffords Center or the Democrat Party. The higher a state scores with these anti-American groups, the less it values Liberty.
Here, then, is a map of the states we’ve visited so far, beginning with our “shakedown cruise,” plus the states in which we’ll travel between now and mid-October. It’s clipped from a scorecard published by an anti-Second Amendment organization, which has assigned a letter grade to each state.
Of the 15 states on my map, ten earned an F or a D-minus. Two got a solid D, two a C. Only one — Illinois — scored an A.
(For the record, yes, we passed through Illinois our second day on the road. Other than one stop at a taxpayer-funded rest area, we didn’t leave the highway.)
Turning the anti-American grades upside-down, 12 of those states get a gold star from us for guarding Liberty. Two give us reason for caution and one isn’t worth our time.
Another way of looking at these states’ treatment of Liberty is whether or not they impose statewide mask mandates. It should comes as no surprise that only one does.
Eight of the states on my map — Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Montana, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming — have passed legislation prohibiting mask mandates at some level. Yeah, the feds are threatening to decree masks for all, targeting states with high case and low vax rates. I expect their punitive political play won’t have much luck on this map.
Want another indicator? Twelve of those states require voter ID. Nine of them — Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Montana, Texas and Wyoming — recently have enacted new laws to further protect the electoral process from ballot harvesting, bundling and other forms of fraud.
While I’m on the subject, it’s worth mentioning a bunch of new state laws that take effect tomorrow here in Arkansas. It’ll become a crime to vandalize public monuments or buildings. The law will prohibit schools from arrangements or contracts with anyone who performs, induces, or provides abortions. A series of laws bans state and local governments from requiring masks, bans state agencies from requiring WuFlu vaccines, bans state agencies from requiring “vaccine passports” and forbids discrimination against health-care workers who refuse to participate in a service that violates their conscience.
We love our country. We cherish Liberty. We’re off in search of America — the real America, not some “reimagined” America — and we’re not going to waste our time looking for America where its fundamental values aren’t welcome.
It’s all right there on the map.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.