Greetings everyone, from New York City. I’m here for a couple of days for a book signing and FOX interviews. As the plane was coming in for a landing at NYC LaGuardia airport, and as I gazed over the impressive NYC skyline, I had a moment of reflection. Remember the show “Green Acres”? Yes, I am dating myself, but the title song went running through my mind:
“Green Acres is the place to be, farm living is the live for me,
“Land spread out so far and wide, keep Manhattan just gimme that Countryside.”
Oliver Wendell Douglas, played by Eddie Albert, was a successful New York businessman who wanted something more than the hustle and bustle. His wife, Eva Gabor, the socialite Lisa, as she says, “darling I love you but give me Park Avenue.” I remembered back in 1990 when I loaded up Angela in her little Nissan Sentra, with U-Haul trailer in tow, and we departed NYC for the Little Apple, Manhattan, Kansas, where I was stationed at Ft. Riley. Angela, who had completed her MBA at Long Island University, would return to her alma mater, Kansas State University, earn her PhD, and become the first black female professor in the College of Business.
I am glad that Angela did not suffer the same fate as Lot’s wife as she looked back upon the NYC skyline as we departed her beloved Brooklyn. However, I can tell you, somewhat like Lisa in “Green Acres,” Angela came to adore the fresh air and wide open Konza Prairie spaces of eastern Kansas. And why? Perhaps it is because we all yearn for that sense of freedom, liberty, and small-town joy that the hustle and bustle of America’s large cities do not afford with the chaotic pace. Maybe we all want to be in that place where we can reaffirm that sense of rugged American individualism and not just be a number in the collective rat race. Perhaps it is like, as the show “Cheers” would say, “you wanna go where everybody knows your name.”
See, when Angela and I lived in tiny little Manhattan, Kansas, where our daughters were born, we became closer. We had friends one could count on, which proved vital in the big flood of 1993. We could go out and not lock the house door, or park at the Manhattan Town Center Mall, or at a Kansas State game – and still not lock the car. We would do simple things like drive out to Tuttle Creek Lake and listen to the silence.
Let’s all admit, there is that longing in all of us, just like it was with Oliver. There is that indomitable spirit that wants to take the top off the Jeep and hit the back roads, hop onto your motorcycle and go where the streets have no name, take your own legally purchased firearm and see if you can plink that target at 600-800 yards, or go out and find the out-of-the-way antique country store and nice Ma and Pa restaurant.
Somehow, we are, here in America, losing that sense of Americanism, and you see that in these large cities. We are being herded, corralled, and controlled by the wranglers of progressive socialism who seek to break down that individual spirit that has defined this great nation and supplant it with a soulless, empty being of collective subjugation and dependency. Oliver bought his farm, sight unseen in Green Acres, because that was the defining aspect of the American character. It was as Alexander the Great once asserted, “Fortune favors the bold.” And it is found in the motto of the British SAS, “Who Dares, Wins.” It is embodied in that saying by Horatio Greeley, “Go West Young Man.” It was the call to the individual to break out and away and blaze your own trail, your own life.
However, today, in our major American cities, where the Democratic Party has had control for countless decades, we do not find the same spirit. We find despair, despondency, depression, and the drive towards collective dependency. We see people stacked high upon each other in structures reaching up into the sky, denied the wide-open spaces of American liberty, freedom. We are constantly bombarded with the messages of what you cannot achieve, unless someone else gives it to you – yes, the enslaving theme of “free stuff.” And when one lives to have someone else provide things to them for free they do not truly live. It was in the movie “Braveheart” where Mel Gibson’s character, William Wallace, said, “all men truly die, but not all men truly live.”
In our inner cities we find the breakdown of the family. When we were in Manhattan, Kansas, Aubrey’s birthday parties were jam-packed with kids, and parents. In our inner cities, we see rampant crime, shootings, and murders. Yes, here in NYC, where Mayor Bill DeBlasio has made it almost impossible for a law-abiding citizen to own a firearm, bad guys find a way and terrorize the good people. In Chicago, the shootings and murders surpass combat zones, yet we hear nothing from the progressive, socialist leadership there on how to solve the issue … other than penalize law abiding citizens.
In our inner cities, the teacher’s unions rule, preventing our future generations from having a quality education, and parents from having a choice. Of course, these are the same inner-city minority communities where you will find a Planned Parenthood clinic, the progressive, socialist left’s desired choice.
In these inner cities, we see the homeless, who, for some odd reason, have lost all hope and would rather live a broken life on the streets than enjoy the Green Acres of America. Sadly, they are told there is nothing better for them.
The funny thing is that if there were a remake of “Green Acres,” Oliver would probably move into the heartland, run for mayor, and raise their taxes. Instead of opening his mind as he escaped the entrapments of the big city, he would just bring it along, and eventually, like a locust, he would devastate the Green Acres.
And, when you think about it, that is what so many of these people fleeing the wastelands of humanity in our inner cities are doing. They are moving into our Green Acres, and they’re destroying them. Case in point: just look at Texas, the symbol of rugged American individualism.
Allen West is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. Mr. West is a Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center to support its mission to expose and neutralize liberal media bias. Mr. West also writes daily commentary on his personal website theoldschoolpatriot.com.