While Deb cradled a wriggling Smudge puppy on our trip east yesterday morning, she also had a photo assignment — I asked her to grab a shot of each Dollar General store we pass on the route. Just for fun, I mean.
Along a 31-mile stretch from the north side of Harrison to the center of Yellville, there’s a total of five, or one about every six miles. (Yeah, we’re definitely livin’ up to the stereotype of the rural South.)
But that’s not all we drive by on US 62. We pass two McDonald’s, for example, and a Walmart.
Just one Casey’s. Two Subways. Three Harps Food Stores.
There are four Sonics and four liquor stores. Eleven gas stations, by my count, with prices yesterday ranging from $2.969 to $3.099.
Over the farmy 23-mile passage between Bellefonte and Yellville, however, there’s no gas or diesel to be had.
The drive takes us past three farm-equipment dealerships and a good-sized tractor salvage yard. There are four independent farm-and-feed stores, two of which are actual feed mills, plus one Tractor Supply.
I notice these things.
Ordinarily, I’m what you’d call a “homer.” I think most people are, whether they want to admit it or not, and I do. That facet of human nature is why your local TV station and newspaper (if you still have one of those) serve up hometown angles on national stories.
They know that one way or another, we’re all homers.
When I used to watch pro football, for example, I paid closer attention to players who’d exceled at Ohio State. I follow country artists I’ve seen perform at Squeek’s Bar and The Bluestone. It boosts my pride when I see an alum of my small Heartland high school succeed, even if I have no other connection to that person, and generally I root for people who also hail from my hometown of Massillon, Ohio.
I do make the occasional exception — like the mayor of the crime-ridden Democrat stronghold of Chicago.
She’s from Massillon. I don’t know her personally — she’s a half-dozen years my junior, and though we have mutual acquaintances, I know only what I’ve read and seen in the media. And that’s quite enough.
This woman (assuming that she “identifies” as such, which is by no means certain) is a train wreck. Whatever she has what she got by virtue [sic] of her party affiliation, her race, her (presumed) sex and her (avowed by way of matrimony) sexual preference. She’s shown herself to be a horrible person and a destructively awful mayor (albeit of a city I care nothing about).
Staking claim to producing a mayor of America’s third-largest city could be a source of great pride, but this woman (assuming again) has brought nothing but shame on my hometown.
Last night, when I learned that Chicagoans had soundly rejected her bid for reelection — she got an embarrassing 17% of the vote — I smiled. Out loud.
Of course, the next mayor of the Windy City will be another anti-American Democrat. You can make book on that. At least he/she/it won’t be from Massillon.
The word “discrimination” has gotten a bad reputation over the last several decades. Anymore we hear it only as a synonym for bigotry, racism, misogyny and so on — always a negative, something to be ashamed of, avoided or unlearned.
Only rarely is it used positively, in the affirmative, without stain. There was a time when advertisers targeted “the discriminating buyer.” I can’t recall the last time I saw that phrase.
More subtle, perhaps, than how this shift has affected everyday English is the ways it’s changed behavior. Often it seems like people have been so thoroughly influenced to avoid “discrimination” that they’ve become indiscriminate. Read that again — for fear of being accused of bigotry (etc.), folks hesitate to draw constructive contrasts and necessary distinctions.
We all have the ability to discriminate, and we must use it. If we don’t, we won’t survive — as individuals, as a society and even as a species.
There are so many examples in American culture of how fearfully failing to discriminate has crippled the very things it seeks to build. Employment quotas for men and women, and for every race imaginable. Equal pay. Affirmative action. Policing policies. Making sure that all identity groups are “represented” equally in the prison population.
It’s how we ended up with “math is racist” and “drag queen story hour.” Think about it.
Don’t hesitate to discriminate. Tell the damned truth and there’s nothing to be afraid of. Be rational. Focus on merit, probability, even self-interest, and then discriminate.
Not all things are equal. Not all people are worthy. Not all choices are safe or easy.
If you don’t figure that shit out and start exercising your ability to discriminate, you won’t survive.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.