Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll has a few thoughts about COMMUNITIES past and present. She writes:

You ever notice the flagrant misuse of the word “community”? As in, “the gay community” believes this, or “the Black community” thinks thus and so, because they are monolithic GroupThink people with no individuality?

If you have competing criminal gangs living a few blocks from one another that have drive-by shootings by fatherless sociopaths, where’s the “community” part? Especially when the stray bullets kill little kids and old ladies hiding in their houses rather than the rival drug dealers. I ask again: how is that a “community” just because they all have the same skin tone? Oh, there were and are definitely black communities throughout this great and good land, but not every neighborhood deserves that appellation just because everybody in it is a shade of the same color.

The town I grew up in was an actual “community.” It had 5,000 souls with not very widely varying income levels. The family that owned the biggest supermarket did better than our family which owned one of four drugstores, and we did better than some seasonal resort owners in the tourist industry or the poorer ministers. Some farmers did very well indeed, and others did less well but enjoyed the lifestyle. Freelance entrepreneurs – plumbers, carpenters, seamstresses, carpet layers – eked out a respectable living, one gig at a time. People owned gas stations with gas at 19 cents a gallon during a “gas war” and a sprightly young man would check your oil, pump your gas, and wash your windshield. Even at 30 below zero.

People who worked in some capacity for “the government” – teachers, policemen, elected officials, County administrators and such – had a lot of security, and probably a middling income compared to private enterprise. Unlike today, where government salaries, benefits, and pensions far eclipse private salaries. (With minimal chance of termination even if you spend all day just watching porn on the taxpayer’s dime. Or sending lurid text messages to your co-conspirator girlfriend in a “backup” scheme to nullify an election.)

Remember, this was the ’50s and early ’60s. Almost every woman over 21 was a WIFE. And very few wives worked outside the home. My mother, a trained schoolteacher, raised three kids, kept a perfect house, cleaned the houses of three or four other ladies for $20 a pop, helped out at the drugstore, made three meals every goldarned day of her life, and washed, starched, and ironed 14 white dress shirts a week for Daddy in his capacity as pharmacist and business owner. He came home for lunch and changed shirts. Oh joy.

SOMEBODY must have been divorced, but I didn’t know anybody who was. One kid in my class had a widowed mother. Otherwise, the Noah paradigm prevailed, two by two. There were even a couple of ladies who lived together who were probably lesbians, but to the best of my knowledge, they didn’t make a big deal out of it and neither did anybody else.

I would guess that actual “unemployment” was darn near zero. Formal welfare clients were few and far between. There were a very few unfortunate people who struggled with alcoholism or some other dysfunction. They got certain benefits from the County and charity food baskets and Christmas trees at the holidays. Their children got free school lunches, but had to work for them. Life is not fair and “stuff” happens. So, people helped out. Daddy would routinely cancel debts for needed prescriptions when it became clear after a reasonable period that people could not or would not pay. We didn’t starve because of it.

Catholics attended the Methodists’ and Lutherans’ fund-raising dinners and vice versa. If a real hard-luck situation arose – disease, car accidents, fires – spaghetti feeds would be organized and businesses put out donation cans asking people to give. They did.

If there was any kind of “aristocracy” it would have been doctors, the local KXRA on-air radio personnel, and later, the KCMT television anchors. Our family doctor, whose wife was a nurse, had a $50,000 home on the lake when we lived in a $14,000 house in town. It was a very nice home – I used to babysit there – but no kind of crazy, out-sized McMansion. The ladies of the town talked in hushed tones about their decorating scheme – pink and red throw pillows! – done by a professional decorator from Dayton’s in Minneapolis!

How celebrity-poor was our town? Well, there was one pro golfer, and, 25 years after I left, I was welcomed back for a “Susan Vass Day!” for being a marginally famous comedian. THAT’S how celebrity-poor. I also was asked to give a commencement address once. Sadly, it was outdoors in heat, wind and humidity, right at sunset, and the sun was blinding me so that I couldn’t see my notes. Also the wind kept blowing my long hair into my mouth. I hope I told the kids that they were the future or something. When I go back to visit, I still have middle-aged adults come up to me to say they were in that class and enjoyed it. Sweet!

Today I would have been disinvited if any leftist busybody had ever read my columns. Some poor executive schlub at Boeing just got fired for an opinion he expressed 33 years ago. Nobody will ever be safe if there is no Statute of Limitations on having an outlier opinion or even a genuinely stupid one, of which I’ve had plenty. Kneel or lose your job, serfs! And, for God’s sake, try to keep UP with the fashionable opinion of the day. Because that can turn on a dime. Ask the pioneer feminists who must toe the line and pretend that men in dresses are women. Luckily, J.K. Rowling is a billionaire who can tell the Twitter twerps to pound sand.

And what about Diversity? Let me tell you about small-town “diversity.” When we were first married, we lived for a short time in an even smaller town of about 800. At one end of the street was a huge Polish Catholic church and at the other end was a huge German Catholic church. In 1969 when we lived there, it was the first year their parochial schools had been “integrated,” combining the two groups of Catholics because they had run out of nuns to staff both schools. A Polish Catholic girl marrying a German Catholic boy was a “mixed” marriage. At Halloween, young morons painted swastikas on our sidewalk. The WW2 vets were horrified and it was used as a teachable moment.

When I lived in Alexandria as a kid, there was only one skin color – fish belly white — only one language – English. But, amazingly, we weren’t DEFINED by those superficial things. We were told each of us was unique. We just naturally followed the MLK philosophy that people were defined by their character, integrity, intelligence, sense of humor, not by skin tone. It was a great time and place to be alive. For those who seek to divide us into ever smaller tribes, each with ancient historical or trivial grievances, may I suggest a brief sojourn in Rwanda? Check out how great tribalism – even with everyone the same color – worked out there. Don’t forget to pack a machete.

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