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Some observations, rude and otherwise, from two weeks of traveling across the United States.

I’m at the end of seven weeks of intense traveling. Frankly, I’m tired and more than a bit cranky. But, of course, I brought the travel on myself entirely. For what it’s worth, here are a few observations from my adventures—focused on the events of the last two weeks.

If I ever found myself in a crisis, I would much rather stand next to a member of the Tea Party than to a member of Occupy Whatever.

Tea Party people I met in New Mexico have worked for their money and have pride in themselves and those around them. They love their families and their country—not necessarily for what it is, but for it could be.

Occupy Whatever people I encountered in an unnamed east coast state, have no pride in anything, including the vast sums of money their parents have given them, allowing them to spend time protesting and in their REI tents. They are a frightful, undisciplined army of spoiled brats.

American Airlines is so much nicer than Delta.

Carey Roberts is one of the finest lecturers I’ve ever seen [and for those of you who know me, you know what a terrible, no-good, nasty snob I am about such things]

Steve Jobs really was an astounding human. Too bad he went fascistic in his last moments in regard to Android.  Still, he was astounding.

Winston Elliott is really, really smart.

Few folks can make me laugh as much as Mark Kalthoff.

Middle class people who take welfare (especially WIC) are arrogant and rude to themselves, their children, and their neighbors. I was horrified at the woman in front of me at a Kroger’s this week, dressed to the nines, but screaming at her kids, and paying with a WIC card. The Hotel Andaluz may very well be one of the finest hotels in America. The beauty of the interior was matched only by the excellence of the staff. In particular, David the Clerk was incredible. The Lucia, located within the Hotel Andaluz, might be one of the finest restaurants in America. Gail made one of the two or three finest meals I’ve ever experienced. Michael, the waiter, brought the meal with dignity and class. Thank you for the best meal I’ve had since visiting Bahn Thai in Seattle over a decade ago.

If I had to choose between either Mel Bradford’s vision of the founding or Harry Jaffa’s, I’d attempt to immigrate to Canada. One of the most touching things to encounter is a young person returning from a military tour abroad and being welcomed home by her jubilant family. Even at 1:00am at Detroit Airport, such a reunion brought an amazing lift to my soul.

But, the best moment of the week—building space ships out of Legos with my son, John. Best two hours of my last seven weeks.

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5 replies to this post
  1. Brad, I spent a mere week traveling last week. Frankly, you must be much more patient! A handful of "Occupy Whatever" people are even in Richmond. Fortunately I think it's more of a farce than in NYC. Legos are great. So are plastic toy soldiers. (The original interactive toys.) Have fun!

  2. Welcome back, Professor-sahib!

    Americans age 20-30 (maybe GOP come to think of it) support Ron Paul by about 30% while the older ones go at 10%. Obviously these are not the Occupy Whatever crowd. But full polls in the UK may not differ from the US and show the vast majority of youth do not expect social-security etc to be available for them in old age: they know they must be self-reliant and that is good. In other words, I think that UK/US youth understand the negatives but maybe not the positives and this sounds like an opportunity. The Occupy Whatver kids, whom I doubt I would like, do seem to harbour an inchoate feeling that the establishment has shafted them, which it has. You will know better (you met them, you are an educator, etc) so are there opportunities afoot? Or are they jetsam and road-kill? Alternately, is their illiterate anti-capitalism a big obstacle, or a potential alliance on the anti-fascist/syndicalist aspects of the unholy alliance between US Govt and big business on which our crowd agrees?

    I'd plump for a TV series called Brad Birzer's America, or Birzer On the Road, but you're busy doing too many other needed things. If anyone starts passing the hat to have you cloned, I'll contribute.

  3. Stevefriend, thanks for commenting. So glad to have you back at TIC. I don't think you have the power to write a post that doesn't make me think and smile. Thank you. As to the Occupy forces. I'm no expert–but they strike me as a very frightening, latently fascistic force. These are rich, spoiled kids ticked that they're not more spoiled. I'm sure there might be some good elements within the various groups, but I've not been impressed by them. The Tea Party members are equally angry (both groups are justifiably angry), but their anger seems to be directed toward something good–the elevation of the humane. The Occupy forces–bored in life–just want to tear down. If they build–I'd be frightened to see what the end product is.

  4. Brad, some random thoughts on your random thoughts. First, it is mildly interesting that when Timothy Dwight traveled in New England and New York he was of course on horseback, and thus forced to stop frequently and talk with people, and to look around rather more observantly than today's travelers who go either from airport to airport or down interstate highways. I have pretty much resolved to spend no more time in the air, and time on the interstate (one of the great socialist programs of the 20th century) only to get to baseball games or shopping malls.

    Legos are wonderful, but less instructive than blocks, Lincoln Logs, or Erector Sets, the latter having produced most of the engineering geniuses of the 50s. Don't get me wrong, as a carpenter I love the snap-together innovations of contemporary building. But if you don't learn the old ways first, you will never understand the new.

    The occupiers are just the grandchildren of the creeps that slimed all over the streets in the 60s and early 70s. The earlier version was more interesting, because it had at least a plausible and passionate rhetoric, and better music. This one is just the slime reflection of the White House that supports it.

    Wonderful observation on Winston, the same one Barbara made when she first met him! About Mel Bradford, you and I may have to disagree. As I said elsewhere, he was a giant of a man, both physically and morally. He was also an anti-ideological anti-federalist, a local patriot, and a man who understood how dangerous it is to try and make a conservative ideology out of "equality."

    Finally, I want to make the case that the finest burger in America is found at Ray's Tavern in Reading, MI, and the best meals I have ever had are at 34 Wildlife Drive, Hillsdale, MI.

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