Go inland, young man

“A big city is a big city. But here [Kansas] you get a sense of what the people are like,” Williams said. “Having served with the U.S. in a number of operations before, I haven’t really had the insight into how they really live their lives, because I’ve been blinded by New York, that that’s America.”

I’ve often said that if you only know New York, you do not know the United States. NYC is not an accurate microcosm of what the U.S. is really about. To get a real picture, you have to go inland, to the heartland.

Arkansas would be best, anywhere besides Hope. Paragould, Arkansas’ Safest City and America’s second best place to live (2004), would be a good place to start. No claims to greatness (besides being my birthplace), except solid middle-American values. Population, 22 thousand and some odd characters.

I have now lived nearly half my life outside the U.S., and in large cities (Belo Horizonte, 3-4 million; SJCampos, 600,000). But the rural and small-town values of Greene County have stayed with me.

Hollywood and the literary elite vilify small-town America, and their best attempts make it hypocritical and narrow-minded, but there lie the warmth, generosity, solidity and fervor of the American nation.

Just ask Rudy Guiliani.

J. Randal Matheny

Be pithy.

What do you think?