Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly blog accuses me of "David Brooksian rumination." What can I say, it wasn't intentional, but maybe that's just what we're taught to do at Chicago.
But, to respond to Drum's complaint, which is:
I have to confess I don't get this — the same way I don't really get it when Brooks does his schtick either. I was born and raised in suburban California, so I'm pretty thoroughly blue, but I've also visited red states plenty of times on both business and pleasure and it's never seemed like that big a deal.
Lots of churches? Yeah, I guess so, although we build ours a lot bigger here in Orange County. I just drive by them. Quieter? Definitely. Restaurants? About the same, really. There are regional differences, of course, though with the growth of chains even regional differences aren't that dramatic anymore. Accents? Yeah, but I've never had any trouble understanding anyone. More Wal-Marts? Sure, but I've got two CostCos and several K-Marts within ten miles of my house. The difference isn't that noticable.
Suburban California, I'd imagine, is quite different from the center of Manhattan, which is where I grew up. For starters, cars. My family never had one, and I never thought that to be especially odd. Where would we have put it? What would we have done with it? I took the subway to school, and my family and friends also took public transportation to get around. As for abundant churches or Wal-Marts, again, not things I grew up with. Does that make me better? No. Provincial? Yes. Those who choose to read this blog must accept that they are reading the musings of someone who, until quite recently, didn't get out much. And I also noted in my post on visiting a "Red State" that the difference is also rural vs. urban, so there's no reason some "Blue State" experiences, such as Drum's, might resemble stereotypically Red State ones more than my own has. My post was about going from extreme-blue to extreme-red, and I maintain that it was, well, weird. Does that mean that I cannot connect with people from the "other side"? Hardly, or else I wouldn't have been in Rolla in the first place.