so many young people who don’t even know there are alternatives to the lifestyle they have been conditioned to think is normal
I just look in other directions, and see plenty of other young people, starting families and businesses and legitimate careers and stable homes, and most of them just skipping right over the surrealist exercise in sustained mayhem popularly known as “college.”
On the other hand, in a way, just ten miles over we have a small campus of a bigger state university, in a town not much bigger than this one. Unlike any other college town I ever saw, it literally has zero bars or clubs or any other type of watering hole. I don’t think it was ever any blue-law kind of puritanism that saw to that; indeed since I have been around here the past eight years, one spot that was once a known and frequented bar/restaurant had opened and closed and re-opened several times, only to get boarded up again like it is now. For a town that size, the one location is more than big enough to meet the seeming demand you’d think existed for a place to go get drunk and raise hell, but it just doesn’t seem like that demand exists.
There are a lot of students from Africa there, and the word seems to be that they tend to be of a serious and studious sort who’d just as soon not party away the opportunities that don’t even exist back home for them.
And a lot of others tend to be farm kids from around the larger high-plains region; I just found out not long ago from a friend and client who is a financial aid adviser there, that years ago now they had got the state bureaucracy to allow the one campus to waive all out-of-state tuition requirements for anybody who is simply an American citizen, from anywhere. She told me that this ingenious move was what has kept the little school afloat; and apparently there is something about a relatively isolated rural college that focuses largely on agribusiness-related degrees, which attracts a mostly Muslim demographic from Somalia and elsewhere. Imagine their families’ relief, that even though their younguns are going halfway around the world to get a good education, that they won’t end up in madhouse settings like Columbia or Berserkeley or Durham.
So this school has an odd mix of super-tall black-as-night Africans, and blonde-haired, blue-eyed regional farm kids, and a lot of them young married women who have a baby or two, carry a double major, and work in a bank or office while earning their degrees.
So I hear all this horseshit about America being divided, or how rural and allegedly “deplorable” conservative folks are so intolerant of other cultures, or how a life of continual bacchanalia and licentiousness just goes along hand-in-glove with a post-secondary education, and I can see practically right out my front door that this is not necessarily the whole truth.
The young people I meet around here give me more hope and faith in the future of our country and of this prosperous and sane way of rural life around here, than I had seen in a long, long time.
So if people aren’t seeing that they have options, in my book it’s only because they aren’t looking in the right places. And no one was ever stopping them from doing so, but themselves.
I know that I never, ever took mass media or public education at its word, about anything. Especially how to live my own life.
If anyone does, that’s their worry, not mine.