I’ve discovered an interesting fact over the last few days. I now know what America looks like. My graphic design skills are pitiful, but here’s the overly simplistic visual aid:
See the humongous section in the middle? That’s America’s Heartland – and it’s not based on geography. We’re talking about REAL America. It’s the Average Joe and Jane who work hard to provide for themselves and their families. It’s ordinary people looking for work and seniors who are trying to get by after their working years are gone. It’s moms and dads doing their best to raise kids against a culture that thwarts their efforts. It’s volunteers who give their time, talent and money to make this world a better place. It’s me – and you.
See those people on the ends? They pretend we don’t exist. To them, our opinions do not matter. We are woefully stupid, and they are supremely wise. Credibility comes only from Wall Street boardrooms, Washington’s elite, Hollywood studios and intellectual experts with no real world experience.
Maybe we really are that stupid. We support these folks with our purchases, entertainment choices, votes and silent endorsement. We don’t speak out for fear of being labeled or ridiculed. There are no state, racial, political or social boundaries in the Heartland, yet we allow them to pit us against each other, and then we blame each other for the fight. Maybe they are right about us.
I confess I was stupid. I confess I allowed myself to be pitted against others. I never spoke too loudly because I was worried about the labels and ridicule, but then I was thrown into the spotlight when my Dear Daughter post struck a chord with millions of people. This was not something I sought or desired. I was content to write my little blog for friends and family and work a few PR jobs so I could help us meet household expenses. I had 15 minutes on the world stage, and those outside the Heartland called me every name in the book and ridiculed my opinions – but it didn’t hurt me. I was not psychologically destroyed nor scared into submission.
They did not hurt me because I knew my opinion DOES matter, and I am not stupid. They did not hurt me because I knew I was not alone.
Here’s my take on things: We need to stop beating the crap out of each other over our perceived differences and focus on what we have in common. This is our America, too. Our grandparents, parents, sons and daughters have fought for her and many paid the ultimate price. We have just as much of a right to be heard as a politician, CEO or actor. So why are we just rolling over and taking it?
You have a voice, and it deserves to be heard. Don’t be afraid. Take it from a Heartland mama, the words may sting, but they will not destroy you.
You don’t have to write a blog or organize a protest. All you have to do is get involved in life. Take care of your family. Serve your community. Pray. Forget about all of these perceived differences and recognize the similarities. Do the right by others.
You are America’s Heartland, and you keep this heart beating.