“Go West, young man,” was newspaper editor Horace Greeley’s famous advice. Writing in the English Spectator, Irwin Stelzer says that advice is just as good today-if you go west, you encounter an America imbued with the virtues of civility and patriotism.
“After a stint in the rancorous atmosphere of our nation’s capital, where resurgent Democrats are out to prove that another surge, this one in Iraq, is doomed to failure, I headed west on a business trip. America’s Manifest Destiny, of course, has already been fulfilled. We long ago ‘overspread the continent allotted by Providence’, to borrow from John L. O’Sullivan, who coined the phrase in 1845. …
“At one of those meetings I was reminded that Washington D.C. is not America, that patriotism and civility remain dominant strains in American life, and that the American West is not the same as the West Side of Manhattan, where love of country is confined to an appreciation of the virtues of country houses scattered around Long Island.”
Read the whole piece. It conveys the different world I just saw on a book tour that took me across the south and to Texas, one of my favorite places. How is a large, semi-public Texas luncheon different from one in Washington? For starters, we don’t say grace in the nation’s capital.
Discussing the disdain trendy people in New York have for the rest of the country, a friend of mine told me about a writer (whose name you know, but I promised) who had some time in Cincinnati. Her host heard her on the phone complaining about being “stuck” in effing Cincinnati. Which, by the way, is a really nice town.