I just returned to LA from a week-long trip by car that took me from California through Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and back again. The initial objective of the trip was to attend a two-day continuing professional education course in Bozeman, MT. Montana is our nation's third-largest state and home to more livestock and big game than Republicans and Democrats combined. Awesome in their in vastness and grandeur, the Mountain States suit my state of mind. Except for Colorado (not part of my travel itinerary), which is becoming a mile-high San Francisco, in both altitude and attitude (I will acknowledge that Aspen has its merits).
The Mountain States evoke American individualism, self-reliance, and community. Communities of people who love the outdoors and love freedom. Communities of people who look out for each other, because there are bears in the woods. Real bears. Communities that self-organize. Communities that prosper or fall according to what comes out of the ground: precious metals, radioactive elements, coal, oil, trees, crops. Mountain State communities do not need to be organized from the outside. No community organizers are needed. Someone discovers an opportunity and, boom, you've got yourself a community.
Aside from myself, guess who else returned to LA this week? President Obama. For the 18th time, so far, since 2008. To fund-raise and make a few meaningless, throw-away speeches. All while Secretary of State John Kerry, yet again flying off to the Middle East, embarrasses himself, misrepresents the U.S., and pressures an ally under attack to make nice with its attackers.
Some of America's highest ideals are represented by mountains. Need I point out that Obama and Kerry are flatlanders?