Wednesday, March 23, 2005

"The Common Clay"

Earlier this week, one of my left-leaning good friends and I were exchanging some humorous banter about the Mel Brooks movie Blazing Saddles, one of our favorites. My friend mentioned that one of his favorite lines in the movie, in addition to "Mongo - Santamaria!" was this:

"You've got to remember, that these are just simple farmers, these are people of the land, the common clay of the new west. You know . . . morons."

Until this point in time, I found this dialogue equally amusing. But given the context of the politically-oriented discussions I have with him along with other left-leaning friends, thinking about this dialogue caused me to reflect a little. (Note: as to whether or not the views of my good friend here are sarcastic or genuine is unknown, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, since he grew up in a very "red" state and I consider him to be a good person.)

I work in a profession that is overwhelmingly leftist, in a city that is overwhelmingly leftist. I often get the feeling that my professional colleages have a genuine disdain for all things "red state". I would like to think that it's sarcasm, but it has become more blatant since the 2004 election. Many of the people around me really consider the "red-staters" to be "morons."

In spite of their rhetoric of accepting and embracing differences in people, it seems that many on the left hold a deep and pervasive prejudicial opinion of red-staters and people who live in rural areas. I now ask you leftists a question: did you ever stop to think that the red-staters find you to be superficial and mistakenly self-important? Did you ever think that they probably consider your opinion of them to be unworthy of both attention and comment? Did you ever stop to consider the possibility that the "common clay of the new west" choose not to belittle you because they consider such behavior to be impolite?

So I ask all who read this - who is less of a moron: a single, urban-dwelling, pottery-barn-shopping, J.Crew-wearing, nonfat-latte-drinking 30-year-old with a BA in Graphic Design? or a married-with-four-kids, rural-dwelling, wheat-farming, Carhartt-wearing, steak-eating 55-year-old with a high school diploma? It all depends, doesn't it? The point here is that to judge somebody at face value is contrary to both the best traditions of the American experience and true ethics/morality in general.

Thankfully, the Constitution grants us all the right to be "morons". But never forget that the definition of "moron" changes a little from New York, NY to Burns, OR. And never forget that we, in spite of our differing and well-considered opinions, are all in this Union together.

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