…you can’t take the small town out of the person. I read during the endless presidential election that the depiction of small town America was a lie. There isn’t any small town America according to many commentators. It was all just fiction we convinced ourselves of for sentimental reasons. Guess what? I saw small town America today.
When I went to get my boys’ haircut, I saw this sign in the window (sorry for the lousy pic, it was through glass):
In the quite likely case you can’t read it, it says: “Haircuts: $12; Kids-Vet-Seniors $10; Unemployed or Down on your luck: Pay what you can”
You can believe that small town America is dead if you want, but in my city, there is at least one small business that is helping their neighbors because it’s the right thing to do. Can you imagine going to your boss and saying, “Hey, pay what you can this week”? It’s a bigger step than you might think. If you’re in Salem, Oregon, comment and I’ll tell you where to go to get your haircut by a neighbor.
Look, the government can’t and won’t help you. After promising a zillion times he won’t raise taxes on 85% of people, Obama is poised to sign a bill for SCHIP that will more than double taxes on cigarettes the moment he walks into office. He’ll do the normal, “Hey I wasn’t lying, it was them evil congress people..” bit and you and I will get stuck with the bill. If we really want to pull ourselves out of this insanity and not hand it along to our kids, we need to take action and stop assuming the government will save us. They just spent 350 BILLION dollars and do you know one single person who got a job out of that? I sure don’t. Forget them, it’s a lost cause.
Do something to give to your community. Don’t do this thoughtlessly. Don’t just hand some guy with a sign a dollar, look into the eyes of the person you help and KNOW you’re not throwing money into the endless cycle of addiction (heaven knows our government intends to do enough of that for all of us). Buy lunch for someone. Offer to help someone you know pay their bills until things get better. If you’re the one who is jobless, after you’ve put in your apps for the day, go rake the neighbor’s yard (it will help with that awful feeling you have when you’re not getting calls right now). Go look in on your senior neighbor. Go ask your apartment manager if you can grow a few plants in the sunshine near your place. Ask your local officials if you can start a community garden in part of the green grass around the city/state/county offices. Ask your grocer to carry local goods as often as possible. Yes, it won’t help national business, but it sure WILL help local business and that will impact you more than you might think. When people have jobs, they aren’t driving drunk at 10am on major highways.
There are things we CAN do. For heavens’ sake, we’re from the United States, we can do whatever we set our minds to doing. Get off your duff and start doing something. Small town America isn’t just some mythology we believe in because it gives us cheery memories. Small town America is the reality that developed from realizing that if some pregnant woman walking next to a wagon can walk from Boston to Utah in November, there isn’t much that we can’t do with paved roads and a small pickup. Small towns aren’t gone and the mentality that made them memorable has not changed.