So, I recently read somewhere that one of the leading lights of the Tea Party/Rabidly Conservative Republican base is going to be touring the “Heartland” in the not-too-distant future. I won’t mention his/her name because it’s really not important and I hate giving any extra Google hits to these people.
What was striking to me, and bothersome, was the use of the word Heartland to describe the area this individual would be visiting. Drilling down a bit further, it was actually the co-opting of the word heart that bothered me. It’s okay to call it land, because obviously except for the water, that’s what it is. But the word heart is definitely a misnomer and a travesty in my humble opinion.
Heart implies to me a couple of things. One might be compassion. Imagine that? When you think of America’s Heartland, does compassion spring to mind? Not so much, I’m sorry to say.
Heart also conjures the center of a thing – the core values – what makes it tick. Of course, taking that tack, perhaps I need to (sadly) admit that the term is correct – embarrassingly correct. Mr. or Ms. so-and-so, touring the Heartland, will be looking forward to finding lots of kindred spirits clamoring to drive out illegals, own more guns, cut taxes and any shred of the safety net that’s left, oh, and also repeal the pale beginnings of a much-needed reform to our medical insurance system.
Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of great people in the middle of the US … but the term Heartland … the way it has been taken up by the people I am talking about … is being used to describe something else. Something much whiter, smaller, and more pinched and hateful than any image of a heart that I hold dear.
Yeah, Heartland is, like Homeland, a term that reflects the fear-mongering and regressive efforts of the right to shore up an America that is pretty much bereft of heart and compassion and any core values that I can relate to. It’s an America that is based on grammar-school-level thinking, promulgated and exploited by people who are far more sophisticated and cynical than they ever, ever, ever let on.
So tour the Heartland to your shriveled and power-seeking and hateful and exploitative and dishonest and did-I-already-say-hateful hearts’ content.
Make money and fame off the fears of the Heartland folks.
Speak to the demons we fear rather than to the angels of our better natures.
Drive your hate-filled, venomous stakes further and further into the true heart of America while you exploit it for your own gain. It’s so sad to watch. No, not sad, infuriating.
I’ll save my other rants for tomorrow morning. Its way too beautiful a day to continue in this vein.
Get outside – feel the sun on your face – do some chores – open your heart!