I live outside Rapid City in the Black Hills of western South Dakota. We’re pretty close to the geographic center of North America, which is about sixty miles away in Belle Fourche, SD, so I’m calling this blog, “Views from the Middle.”
South Dakota is an odd place. Its citizens are among the lowest taxed in the nation, but they also sport the lowest average wages in the nation. The whole state has a population smaller than that of Detroit, and Republicans rule the roost in all but a few counties. The Tea Party is up and coming. (It is, after all, a Red State.) When people in Rapid City say “back east,” they generally mean the eastern half of South Dakota—Sioux Falls, not New York or D.C.—yet many of them travel widely, and they’re no more provincial than New Yorkers. (I once met a guy from Westchester who told me that, when he was a kid, he thought the US was comprised of the sophisticated eastern seaboard, surfing in California, and a vast wasteland in the middle, called “Omaha.” Hmmm.)
South Dakotans give to charities more than most, though they probably have less to start with. A few of them still chuck stuff out of their cars into the highway ditches, which infuriates me. I can tell pretty much how long it takes to eat a Big Mac and fries by where the litter appears on the road to my house. Restaurants here still have smoking sections; the recently-passed law eliminating smoking in public buildings has been referred to the November ballot because South Dakotans also don’t like to be told what they can do and where they can do it. Only about 40% of the people in Rapid City recycle.
In case you hadn’t yet guessed, I’m a liberal. A progressive, and proud to be one. Occasionally I won’t be able to keep subject matter on this blog to matters of writing and publishing, so I’ll apologize now for the political rants that will appear once in a while.
I’m also an environmental engineer, and right now I’m heavily involved in a fight against the local Citizen for Liberty (tea partiers) over a proposed county ordinance to inspect septic systems. Guess which side I’m on. You’ll probably hear about stuff like that, too.
But for now, the subject matter will be writing and publishing. I have tales of woe and tales of wonder to tell, and hope you’ll share yours with me. On any subject you like. Welcome to my blog, whoever may be out there. While I may be blogging to phantom readers, I’m enjoying it so far!