White Lightning

Someone posted on Facebook a correlation between votes and areas with Cracker Barrel restaurants and Whole Foods supermarkets. The CB zones went for Trump, the WF for Hillary. First let me say that I like Cracker Barrel: they manage to make chain-restaurant food that tastes like food. And I have reservations about Whole Foods, if for no other reason that it's expensive. And I wonder about that correlation because though WF is where people in a community shop, CB is where people who are passing by the edge of a community at a fast speed on the Interstate eat. Still, I suppose there's a logic.

More to the point, I wonder how many Prius drivers voted for Trump. I suspect not many, though I also suspect many voted for Jill Stein. I first noticed the car/politics connection in the late 60s, when consciousness was highly politicized. I drove by a Unitarian church and the parking lot was full of Volvos and VW buses. The former were known for the safety that Detroit willfully ignored, the latter for its un-sleek practicality -- not to mention its hippie association.

This was on a big university campus that was about to pivot from rah-rah fraternity and football culture to the counterculture. When it did, some of us who, like myself, enjoyed that pivot were nervously aware that outside our, albeit big, enclave there was a rural America that didn't look at us with sympathy. Hell, there were Klansmen.

It was already, a half century ago, the two Americas that just ran neck and neck, split right down the middle in population and one much bigger than the other in geography. We don't smoke marijuana, then sang a (great in my opinion) country star who'd be known as a stoner. Now, left to their own devices and away from that old culture war the electorate helped decriminalize and legalize weed this time around, as part of a movement that's likely to blanket all the land. How a reefer mad populace and a reactionary government will get along is a conundrum. We like living right and (suck smoke, hold it and sing next line without exhaling) being free.

Few Priuses in the part of the country where I live. None in my small town. Pickups rule -- we have an F250 here in the farm. Closest city, a small one, has no Whole Foods, but there are a couple of health food places. Also a hipster espresso bar, Fair Trade coffee and all. No craft cocktail or New American Cuisine. The IGA in my little town does sell local produce, like collard, turnip and mustard greens in season. And the small city has a couple of farmers markets.

Still, on the whole I live in Trump's America. This is the mostly rural Deep South. Everyone has guns. There are lots of churches. Cable news of choice is Fox. People are friendly and polite. Not much of the competitive affectation of places where I've lived. A place where even squares can have a ball. I like it. But I don't talk politics, except with one or two friends -- and they too have guns. The roots of the political divide are too deep for casual discussion. 

Tonight one of those friends invited me to karaoke night at a local roadhouse. If I drink enough and Merle Haggard is on the menu I might get up to sing. If you don't love it, leave it. I ain't going nowhere.