Understanding the “Flyover” States

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Comedian Bill Burr has been performing most of his tour dates in places most famous people skip over. What he found was no surprise. People are smart and chill and kind and like laughing in every little backwoods place these Hollywood types want you to believe is full of hate. The people in the middle are just Americans like you.

On election night I watched Joe Rogan’s End of the World podcast. As soon as the votes started coming in for Trump, one comedian started in on how America is so stupid and should be ashamed. Burr went in hard and exposed this person’s bias as uninformed by anything but the media. They never spoke to anyone during the election with a different opinion, and they spent zero time in the middle of the country.

“Those people are evil” is the basic outlook all the lamest ideologies have in common.

You might want to take a steaming corn filled dump on Trump’s cotton candy wig, but you aren’t doing yourself any favors pretending half the country are a bunch of knuckle draggers. It was incorrect when Fox news was doing it through the entire Obama presidency and it’s incorrect now.

Most everyone was educated in the same school system, watches the same TV shows, and uses the same roads. If you reached adulthood in America you have been inspired by the same athletes and cheated by the same businesspersons (I am happy to use gender neutral language here because female CEOs have shown themselves to be just as ruthless as their male counterparts). We’ve all been fooled by hoax posts.

We are all ready to ready to riot  if Darryl dies on The Walking Dead.

If you want to really understand what motivates average people in the middle of the country, listen to The Dave Ramsey Show. People don’t call in with concerns about immigrants taking their jobs, or fears of Muslim extremists, or any of the other shit the left wing media is trying to tell you right now. This is a show about America.

Of course, there are mouth-breathing  racist halfwits stomping about in angry white garden gnome outfits, but they are as rare as those black dudes who dress up like Egyptian pharaohs and call for cops to be murdered. You have to expect a certain amount of human compost in any society. There are thousands of people here who believe the Earth is flat.

Most people, when they’re not hiding behind their social media aliases, are decent and have the same boring concerns.

Real people everywhere are worried about paying off their credit cards, having money for their kids’ college funds, buying homes, and their 401Ks. They want to have financial security so they can spend time with their families and help people at their churches and social organizations. Just like everyone on the coasts, people in the middle don’t like being told how to think by elites who talk down to them.  No one likes that.

If you listen to the show often, as I do, you will hear people from all races, classes, and religions call in. They all want the same thing, to take action in their own lives. To live like no one else now, so they can live like no one else later. You hear from people who have fucked up their finances in spectacular ways, but became millionaires with modest incomes and good decisions. It might take you until you’re old and grey, but it can be done.

Dave Ramsey himself is about as conservative as it gets. He signs each episode off with, “Ultimately, there’s only one way to financial peace, and that’s through the Prince of Peace, Christ Jesus.” However, with the exception of his criticism of Obamacare, which is entirely logical from his position as a business owner, he rarely gets political.

His message is always the same: you have to help you. No one else will.

Some people immediately shut down when they hear this. They want to believe their situation is someone else’s fault. They want to believe someone will help them. They want to believe that other people are rich because they have somehow cheated.

Look, it might not be your fault. Bad shit happens to people. Life is very hard. I was born white and male, which many people would say (and I agree with) is a major advantage in this world. Even then it’s fucking hard. But most of the people who take action and actually follow the plan laid out in Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover end up doing better. Because they take action.

The book isn’t magic. It’s actually pretty boring. But a boring plan you follow is better than an exciting or unrealistic one you don’t.

Imagine for a moment it was all true, that there really was a chemtrail spraying class of racist reptilian overlords who want nothing more than to keep you down so they can keep faking moon landings. What would you do? If you had real proof, would you wait for politicians to help you or would you take action?

I understand this sounds like that heartless “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” talk you always hear about. It’s not. You have to help pull yourself up, but you don’t have to do it alone. If someone reached their hand down to pull you out of a hole, you wouldn’t just go limp and expect them to lift you out, you’d grab their hand and climb. You’d do it together.

Everyone in the country really wants the same thing: to do all right in life so they can do more for each other. Anyone who says otherwise is infected by some form of toxic ideology they picked up from Leftist colleges or Right Wing radio. These people are almost always the biggest losers you run across. They’re the ones flying Confederate flags and smashing out business windows this week.

Michael Moore made a great point on a talk show this morning. He said that “You have to accept that millions of people who voted for Barack Obama, some of them once, some of them twice, changed their minds this time. They’re not racists. They twice voted for a man whose middle name is Hussein. That’s the America we live in.”

That is indeed the America we live in.

I’m not trying to say that getting your own financial house in order will magically fix everything. But your income and debt are hugely influential on the rest of your life. Put your own mask on, then you can help others. And while you do so, trust that no one is trying to rip it off of you.

They’re too busy gasping for oxygen themselves.

 

 

 

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