Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain
My entire adult life, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my home state, and have been more out of it than in it. I wrote a song in my 30’s called “Don’t Let Me Die.” Here’s a snippet, so you’ll know what I’m talkin’ about:
Don’t let me die in Oklahoma
That particular hell’s already been mine
Don’t let me die, don’t let me die
Of course, the song is more about not wanting to freakin’ die than it is about Oklahoma. I go on to mention numerous other states in which I’d like not to expire. I think I recorded that at some point, but haven’t a clue where the hell it is. Pretty neat little tune. I’ll probably be humming it as I die in Oklahoma.
The older I get, the more I appreciate my home state though. When I take my drives to see Mom in the assisted living home in Grove (on Grand Lake in NE OK), I marvel at the wide-openness of it all, at those places where you can see for miles across the plain with no obvious sign that Man has ever even been there. Well, except for the hay bales and red tags stapled to the ears of lolling cattle. But – other than that – pristine.
I love that this is the state from whence came both Will Rogers and Woody Guthrie, yet take note that neither of them died here. I love the Sooners (the football team – I don’t give a rat’s ass for baseball or basketball or volleyball…well, maybe women’s volleyball…but I digress), yet find it ironic that the team’s named after the cheaters in the great Oklahoma Land Run of 1889 – the Sooners were the ones who snuck into the territory early to claim their free parcel o’ plain. I’m sure the Native Americans - many of whom had just a few generations before been forcibly relocated to the state - dug that shit with a spoon. White Men suck.
Which basically sums up all I hate about Oklahoma. Oklahoma is where you’re taught that “Nigger” is a bad word, yet see it in the eyes of your elders when the subject of race is brought up. Oklahoma is where the bigots and hypocrites cling to their Christianity and Conservatism with a vengeance, where “Liberal” is a word not as often spoken as spat.
For as long as change has threatened the status quo (which, by definition, it always does), those who profit from the SQ have invested in demonizing those who want to change things. And they’ve done a dandy job, despite the fact that ALL HUMAN PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE BY PROGRESSIVES. Jee-bus. It’s in the fucking name.
But try to explain logic and reasoning and basic human compassion to the sheep and they cry “Fake News” and look at you with disgust. Like you were, you know, a nigger.
I’ve watched in horror half my life as the knuckle-draggers gained political power, and it sucks more than anything has ever sucked before. I think I started using “lowest common denominator” in my social commentary (you know, drunk, at the bar) in the early ‘80s – at the time mainly in reference to the popularity of Jerry Springer, having no fucking clue that his guests and slack-jawed viewers would one day run the ship. It’s all part of the same shit soup, and my fear for humankind is that it’s always been there, and that evolution is only going to wind up sending us back to the caves.
I’m making broad generalizations about these folks, and I shouldn’t, and I’m sorry. Broad generalizations are the bane of human existence. Pretty much everybody I dearly love here falls into the category of “Conservative Christian,” so I see, and must therefore acknowledge, the goodness in their hearts. And that hardly any of them actually drag their knuckles or slack their jaws. Quite a few are pretty damned smart, actually, which is all the more sad.
I believe it’s all – politics, religion, pretty much all social interaction – just peer pressure. It’s easier to tell ourselves we believe things we don’t actually believe when everyone around us is saying they believe the shit too than it is to, basically, fart in church. I think that if folks just reasoned things out for themselves (using that brain for something other than a hat-rack and reality-show processor), rather than blindly accepting nonsense which has (in the case of religion) been handed down for a couple of thousand years (and thoroughly debunked from the get-go), they’d be able to focus more on ways in which they could possibly wind up as more than a pimple on the gnarled ass of history. But that’s just me. Most folks prefer to belong.
So…where was I? Oh yeah, my childhood.
As I mentioned, that one Oklahoma song is lost. Here's another one.
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