Middle America. For a couple of hundred miles, both on the Interstate Highway and the secondary State and County Roads, as far as the eye can see, it is mostly corn, unharvested and rotting; thousands of square miles (?) of food is rotting because of politics, greed, corruption and an old boy network that says the American farmer is going broke. No. Our taxes in the from of subsidies make sure there are very, very few going broke. The old joke about how can you tell whose the richest farmer in the local area? The one that’s got two mailboxes in order to hold all the subsidy checks.
Even farmers laugh at that but in a funny kinda way.
So, this is not meant to be a screed against farmers, they are just regular folks, and like most of us if you luck into a system by birth, marriage or schooling connections, that caters to you, why would you want to investigate that morally or ethically, obviously you are one of the chosen or the blessed,;and that’s that.
That’s one corner of the picture of Middle America, the other parts show kindness, consideration, deeply-rooted conventions of fairness and deep belief in a system that works. The sheer hard work and industry of coming across all that distance and then usurping the folks already there, which never makes you popular with them, and the dang cussedness of staying in place just to show you can. It is worth all the agony and effort and blind willpower to make the desert bloom, and the land of plenty become fruitful and give even more than you can use or sell or just give away; then again that would devalue the thing, So, no. Anyway…
Most of the other corners of Middle America are on the Dow Jones 500.
I am ambivalent when I take great joy in aspects of our history and settlement and cultivation and building and invention. At some point, probably the year 1927 (or so), when Henry Ford built a car on a the assembly line that basically sold for a 1/5 of the price of his early models because he could, and still make a handsome profit. Of course wiser and greedier heads prevailed and that was the last time a product was sold for less when it could be made for less.
In Middle America I was 84 mph on I-90 in South Dakota and the speed limit was 80 and, I was just trying to get past that little gaggle of potential bottleneck traffic when I encountered a Bodhisattva, one of millions and billions,.
This one was parked in his State Police car in the median and I saw him and looked at speedometer and saw I was 4 miles over the limit and hoped/assumed it was going to be a pass…but it wasn’t.
I saw him in my rearview mirror jump onto the road and with no lights come up behind me a couple of miles down the road and just stayed for a bit and then hit his lights and we both pulled over, very safely, to show that I was responsible.
The Bodhisattva was Officer Johnson, and he politely asked if I knew what speed I was doing when I passed by him. I said, “84 maybe 85” raised eyebrows and small friendly shrug; basically totally in the wrong and I had no story. It was what it was.
He then explained that in South Dakota they allow 2 miles above speed limit as a cushion but after that they ticket. He then asked for my license, the whole time scrutinizing my rolling habitat, obviously an elder-coot on the road. I even had a Rand McNally 2020 Road Atlas of the US (A modern artifact/specimen of a bygone time).
He asked me where I was going and I said I’m driving ’round the whole country. He then asked, very astutely and correctly, where I was the day before and where I was going, and when I told him he asked what about the day after that? and I told him I hadn’t decided yet, it was an open ended trip. He gave me back my license, asked me to be cautious with my speed limit awareness and wished me a good trip.
I thanked him and we went our separate ways. He taught me things I need to know about what traveling with Right Mind and Right Effort and Correct Aspiration might be about.
In gratitude to Jizo, Guardian of the Vulnerable (including travelers).
To Kanzeon, Regarder of the Cries of the World.
To Officer Johnson of SD State Patrol, Re-Alligner of the Errant.