This is the very last I hope to be writing about politics for a long time. The election is over and after months and months of being bombarded with lies and hate and bullshit from every direction I’m tired. It was a hard time to deal with, I’m sure, for us all, but, I can only try to explain how it was for me in my little corner of America.
I titled this little essay “IN but not OF” because that is exactly how it feels to me to be living in a place that is “in” America, but, not a place that is at all very much “of” America any more. I live in Central Virginia on the East flank of the Blue Ridge Mountains between Lynchburg and Charlottesville. I am closer to Lynchburg than I am to Charlottesville and that makes all the difference. The two cities are separated by about 70 miles of drop-dead gorgeous scenery and more American history than you can shake a stick at. At the Charlottesville end we have The University of Virginia (Mr. Jefferson’s School), Monticello, the homes of James Madison and James Monroe, Lewis & Clark and, heading south toward Lynchburg, the Rockfish River and the home of “The Walton Family” (Goodnight John-boy). For a while there Charlottesville was home to more billionaires than any other city in America, but, lately we have acquired a lot more billionaires and now nobody really knows for sure.
At the other end of the road we have Lynchburg. If one city can be the opposite of another Lynchburg is the opposite of Charlottesville. Billionaires don’t live in Lynchburg. When Civil Rights Laws dictated that black people should have the right to swim in the Lynchburg Public Pools the decent, God fearing, people of Lynchburg decided to fill them all in with dirt. When those same laws dictated that black children had the right to a public education along side white children a young preacher named Jerry Falwell opened up “Christian Academies” for white children only. Today that little experiment in profiting from fear and discrimination has grown to be “Liberty University”, the largest Evangelical University on the planet. Gay people are not permitted to attend. Democrats are not permitted to organize on campus. Being caught alone with a member of the opposite sex is something that can get you expelled. Carrying a loaded gun to class is permitted, but dancing is not. Lots of famous rich people live in Charlottesville and on more than one occasion in the past ten years it has been named to the list of Best Places to live in America. Lynchburg has never been on that list and the only rich people in Lynchburg have the last name of Falwell. It seems that with the untaxed income the Falwell Cartel, I mean Family, has amassed over the years they have reached the point where they own just about everything in Lynchburg. The earth itself is believed to be between 6 and 10 thousand years old in Lynchburg. In Charlottesville it is over 4 billion years old. Lynchburg voted overwhelmingly Republican yesterday and C-ville, that’s what we locals call Charlottesville, voted Democratic.
Lynchburg Virginia is In America, but, it can no longer be said that it is at all representative Of America. It is a town on its last legs destined to become a living museum of what went wrong with the Republican Party. Black people are still niggers and gay people are still abominations who have neglected to pray themselves straight and “chosen” to be gay in Lynchburg. Planned Parenthood was picketed and driven out of town years ago, long before that kind of thing caught on in other culturally backward towns across our great nation.
Charlottesville has a Whole Foods, Trader Jacks, new Wegman’s on the way and every kind of International and ethnic product and produce you ever heard of. Lynchburg is a food desert. Last week it was announced that even the local SEARS is closing and the building was purchased by… you guessed it, “Liberty University” to be a civic center for Christian activities.
Now, some people might be wondering why I would want to live anywhere near Lynchburg Virginia. Why I would want to expose myself to so much hate and down right primitive behavior. So I will tell you. Besides the beautiful countryside, absurdly low taxes and fantastic weather there is the opportunity to study a foreign culture, a dying foreign culture, without having to get even one inoculation.
I spoke to a senior in High School this morning. She told me that the Senior Class voted in a mock election yesterday and President Obama won overwhelmingly. While Mom and Dad were voting for Old “Magic Underpants” Mitt the younger generation were all for gay marriage, birth control and equal pay for equal work.
Did I mention something about a dying culture?