The local talk radio megashow is once again spending an entire day savaging New York, a place where few Utahns would ever dream of going anyway. New York is filthy, backward, anti-American, liberal, crazy, full of non-Americans, corrupt, and so on, and so on.
The host and call-ins keep talking about “our values” and “our country.”
I was far happier for the entirety of five years I lived in New York than I ever was for any portion of the 20-plus years I spent in Utah. I always felt like an outsider in Utah.
Now, having returned after all these years, I don’t just feel like an outsider. I know that when people say “our values” and “our country,” I am not a part of “our.” I belong to anther country—the one that has New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. in it.
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Utah is not what “makes America great,” nor is Texas, nor Iowa.
If there’s anything that “makes America great” at all, it’s the likes of Queens, the south side of Chicago, and the Haight and Berkeley.
These people here in the “heartland” that say “America” once every three words are hiding under a rock in fear of the world and their shadows.
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Utahns rarely seem to be able to find much to do apart from bitching and moaning about New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., China, and “Europe.”
This is basically the definition of provincialism: you can’t be bothered to think about local problems, but you can’t get enough of complaining about the imagined problems of distant major population centers that you’ve never visited and whose populations probably won’t visit you.