Monday, December 27, 2004

Christmas in the heartland

I went to Kansas for a week to visit my in-laws. I would like to make a few observations.

I live in a very red state, but Austin is a blue county, so we're a community of those people who don't have, you know, "moral values".

As we drove across Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, I couldn't help noticing some things about the heartland. First, no piddly little run-down town is so small that they don't have a big church as the main attraction, and usually several. If the church isn't easily visible from the road, you can still see a big sign saying "Church of Christ" or some such. In many cases, towns with populations under 2000 have churches that are just as enormous and lavish as those in the big city, even if most of the other buildings in the immediate area are pathetic shells with broken windows that have clearly been abandoned for years. The Baptist churches are always the biggest and gaudiest.

What I'm trying to convey here is that you enter the more "red" areas, the amount of church space per capita increases a lot. And not only that, so do the number of bars and strip clubs per capita. We kept passing areas where there would be two or even three bars in the same shopping center block.

More churches, more bars and strip clubs. Hmmmm, interesting. Kinda gets you thinking about where the values connection to moral values really comes in.

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