I read an interesting article the other day on Matador Network, a travel website. It was called “Busted: 6 British Stereotypes About Americans” and was written by British author, Emily Nemchick. It was supposed to be a fun and lighthearted story, and it was. I really enjoyed her thoughtful way of dispelling the myths. She seemed to have a good understanding that America is full of different “cultures”. So I have nothing bad to say about the article. It’s just that in thinking about it, I realized that these stereotypes are also the exact same way that city-dwelling liberals and politicians look at urban and rural conservative Americans.
While Emily covered several topics there are two that I thought were noteworthy. She noted that some British people think Americans are lazy because many of us drive everywhere. Emily made note that America is HUGE not small like England, so everything is not within walking distance. I feel that’s the way that city liberals and politicians view those of us who live in rural areas.
We are just lazy or hate the planet and should be prevented from driving to save all life on earth. Lovely idea, and while I would love to leave the driving to someone else, but while they have bus lines and taxis or have a variety of stores and restaurants within walking distance, that’s not available to the rest of us who live outside of cities.
Next, Emily stated that some British think everyone owns a gun. I was amused by this. I like the idea that other country’s inhabitants think we all own guns! Isn’t that what helped save us from a Japanese invasion, because they worried there would be “a rifle behind every blade of grass”?
So while she also explained that there are plenty of people who don’t own guns, I thought she made a very astute observation that many Americans miss – she noted that in small towns the people are more likely to have guns where in cities they don’t. She didn’t judge or offer reasons, just her observation. (I thought it was interesting though, that she also said that British people did not think guns should banned here as they are in England.)
I can explain why though. People who have not lived in small towns or rural areas have never had the same experiences. They don’t understand that there are not as many police in these areas to respond to everything, and those that there are may have to travel a long way and can’t get there immediately.
One woman who moved to our area found that out very quickly. She had lived in L.A. and told us that no one had guns and was mortified at the thought of it. They didn’t think anyone needed one. Then she moved to our rural area and after a short time realized, “Yikes, I’m basically alone out here, I need a gun.”
I appreciated this article that noted how some foreigners view our country when they haven’t ever been here to actually experience it – just as many of us have stereotypes about places we haven’t been to either. We can all be guilty of that, the important part is recognizing it and changing it.
What I’m trying to say with all of this is that American city-dwelling liberals and politicians are only able to think about things from their own viewpoint and experiences. Having never lived where we do they simply can’t understand or empathize with us. All they want to do is make us conform to their view of the world, but it’s a very limited view.
I don’t care if they don’t want a car and don’t want to drive. They can choose to do that. But they don’t have the right to tell me that I shouldn’t drive where I need to. I don’t care if they don’t want to have a gun and feel they don’t need to have one. Again, they have no right telling me I can’t have one when they have no idea what life is like outside of their little bubble. The difference between urban/rural conservative Americans and city-dwelling liberals and politicians is that while we may not agree, we aren’t trying to force them to live like we do.
I feel that city-dwelling liberals and politicians have more respect and tolerance for people from other countries than they do for their fellow Americans. Perhaps they should start thinking of us as foreigners – then maybe they would start to appreciate our diversity instead of trying to eliminate it.