My road trip back to reality

Road trips often elicit thoughts and memories of quirky roadside attractions, local food, postcards, and long hours behind the wheel.  A recent trip from my home in Maryland to Texas, for a nephew's wedding, was just the excuse my wife and I needed to create some of these road trip memories for our family of five.  Our trip didn't disappoint as we visited family and famous attractions: the Parthenon in Nashville; a Civil War museum and battlefield in New Market, Va.; and Buc-ee's in Texas.

I couldn't help but notice the striking difference between the two different worlds we encountered along the way.

Unlike the state of Maryland, Texas has many citizens focused on freedom of action and thought.  Everyone we encountered at the wedding was unafraid of COVID and exhibited independence and self-reliance in personal matters.  These people were staunchly against the government telling them what they could and couldn't do.

Upon our return to Maryland, despite the governor lifting the mask mandate, my wife heard a local man at the grocery store explain to another shopper that he would keep wearing his mask until someone explicitly told him it was safe and proper not to.

These are two very different mindsets: personal independence versus dependence.  People who look to themselves for solutions first and those who look to the government for answers.

Our road trip took us through rural and urban areas, and the differences were just as striking as the personalities of the Texans and Marylanders exhibited above.  The rural areas we encountered east of Dallas, and when visiting friends in northwest Louisiana, represented people who make a living at farm work, auto repair, construction, and other blue-collar professions.  There's also rapid growth and development, especially east of Dallas, as Texas continues to grow with fresh transplants from liberal states.

On the other hand, my excursion off the highway in West Memphis, Ark., and Memphis, Tenn., due to the I-40 bridge failure, stood in stark contrast.  My lengthy detour off the beaten path shined a spotlight on the blight of urban existence.  Not only were the shopping plazas and office buildings of yesteryear long since abandoned and standing as hollow reminders of what once was, but the staples of everyday living seemed outdated and poorly maintained: grocery stores, gas stations, stoplights, police departments, and of course the I-40 bridge are all crumbling and outdated.  The once proud and industrious heart of our nation — cities gleaming with lights and modern conveniences — are now a morass of drugs, violence, and hopelessness.  Don't believe me?  Go visit just about any major city — like Baltimore (where I work) or the non-government sectors of D.C. — and you'll see the same thing.

The people we visited in Texas and Louisiana were thriving — not because of government aid or support, but because of their faith and desire for personal freedom.  They are people who see hope not from a government agency, but in a Creator who gave them unalienable rights to pursue life, liberty, and happiness as they see fit.   To their benefit, they live in areas where this independence is still valued.

Contrarily, in the government-controlled urban areas, rife with political left-wing radicalism, we see the utter failure of the political elites.  They don't dispense power with truth or justice; instead, they have trained generations of people to remain beholden to the government's carrot.  Independence is not rewarded, but rather mocked, canceled, or outright punished.  People in these areas, including my own home of Maryland, must move in lockstep or suffer the consequences.

Ultimately, our nation has become a people of haves and have-nots — those who have freedom and those who don't.  The liberal political elites have misappropriated power and funds away from essential services that improve safety and health and the development of new industries — not to mention bridge repair.  Instead, liberal politicians eschew basic governance in lieu of niche social justice campaigns, topics of little concern for the working man.

Our nation was once proud and mighty, not because of politicians, but because the people were industrious, hardworking, and unafraid to tackle challenges.  Americans didn't exhibit these character traits because of government directives; rather, they exhibited these attributes because they valued and maintained their independence and personal freedom.  Thankfully, there are many who still ascribe to these beliefs.  Now it's time to help those saddled with the burden of liberal political control to see that they too can be free once more.

Image via Needpix.

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