Tuesday, September 16, 2008

In Defense of Mayberry

Disclaimer: This post is a rant, pure and simple. It has no useful medical information whatsoever. Sometimes a girl just has to blow off a little steam. 

(Julia takes a deep breath, and lets 'er rip.)

I find myself watching the Sarah Palin drama with interest. I have noticed that whenever she is derided for being unsophisticated, dismissed with a bored look over the top of the eyeglasses which insinuates her lack of intellect, or characterized as a naive woman from a small hayseed town, I feel personally insulted. My blood boils. 

I am not going to turn this post into a discussion of the merits of the Republican vs Democratic party platforms. I am not going to discuss pro-life vs pro-abortion points of view. I am not going to attack or defend Sarah's choice to be politically active after giving birth to a special needs child. 

I am, however, going to defend every woman that grew up in the boonies, Podunkville, Mayberry RFD, or any one of a million rural areas in the world. Whenever Sarah Palin is put down because of where she chooses to live, I see red. Is it obvious by now that I grew up in a rural area? 

Yes, I grew up on a dairy farm in the middle of what political pundits would call "nowhere". Or the "fly-over" zone. Which just goes to show how little political pundits or talking heads on the news channel truly understand. Folks that grow up in nowhere or in the fly-over zones know how valuable we are, both to each other, and to the country as a whole. 

I don't know how to field dress a moose like Sarah, but I do know how to butcher, pluck, clean, and cook a chicken. I can catch and clean a fish. I can milk a cow. I know how to grow my own vegetables and preserve them. I can drive a tractor, and I know that if you put calves in a barn, you have to feed them, and care for them, and shovel a lot of manure. Yes, I drive a hybrid car, but I also know how to unload a truck-full of grain, bale hay, drive a motorcycle, and can handle a snowmobile with the best of them. (At least I used to be able to do all those things until autoimmune disease intervened.) 

While these skills may seem as rustic or quaint to those inside the capitol beltway, in reality they are survival skills. Not only are they practical, they are also skills which connect one to the reality of life. I know that chicken doesn't magically show up in plastic-covered yellow trays in the supermarket. I know what fresh fish smells and looks like, and I won't buy anything else. I know that in order to have good food to eat, we have to take good care of the earth that the food comes from. We rural people were "green" long before being good stewards to the earth became fashionable. 

Those sophisticated political analysts would probably be surprised to hear that we Podunk-ites actually read. Yes, we do. Time, Newsweek, and the Wall Street Journal make it to our homes regularly. And amazingly, we also get the internet. Well goooollly, Gomer! We also go to school and college. When I was a kid, all or most of my friends scheduled their day just like I did. We got up early, did chores, took a shower, went to school, stayed after school for sports or cheerleading or debate team or whatever, then came home, did more chores, did our homework, and fell into bed. Problems sleeping? Never happened. Our school had a 100% literacy rate and 95% graduation rate. 

After scoring in the 90th percentile for most of my college prep exams, I went to college, graduated as an RN, went on to work in a large metro area, and I wasn't alone. Most of my friends went on to college.  Several went on to earn their Ph.Ds or other advanced degrees. When it came time to raise our children, however, most of us returned to a rural or small town neighborhood. We knew where truly good quality of life could be found. 

Here's another news flash - They let us out of our little towns sometimes! Oh, yes they do. Because those little roads that lead into our little towns? They also lead out. And sometimes we travel those roads to big cities everywhere. Sometimes they even let us out of the country! Before I graduated from high school, I had traveled to Germany, Austria, and Ireland. Since then John and I have traveled extensively, both within the US and abroad. 

I watched a news anchor interview Sarah's husband today and gagged when he was asked, "Have you ever been to Washington, DC?" For crying out loud. Of course he had, and his wife took him there. To his credit, he handled the patronizing question very graciously. I laughed when he answered, "Yes, and we had dinner at the White House with the president." 

What the pundits can't seem to understand is that after seeing those metropolitan mega-cities and other countries, we choose to return to our little towns. Yup, we choose to live in Mayberry. I'm betting Sarah Palin could have chosen to live anywhere, but she chose Alaska. Good for her. 

What I'm trying to say is that an arrogant, dismissive attitude toward small town American women just demonstrates stupidity in those that display that attitude. Yes, stupidity. We bring common sense, intelligence, an independent spirit, and yes, sophistication to any table. 

Take that, CNN. 

1 comment:

Vicky said...

Thank you! And Gee...if she dresses like a woman....apparently she is a "hussy". You don't have to wear the pants in DC to be in charge!