Life on the road is a true gift if only for the amount of reflection one is allowed whilst driving the vastness of Texas. The grandeur of the space eventually evokes sensations of loneliness and vulnerability. Every now and again Alex and I turn to one another and ask “What are we doing out here?” and we still have not yet found the exact answer. Every politician should travel their country this way to get a sense of the people they aim to serve. I think it is their duty.
We have seen incredible contrast between rich and poor in Texas alone: from brand new, castle-sized mansions erected in the middle of miles and miles of ranch land–to mangled, rusty doublewide trailers with decaying chipboard patches that are barely standing up between piles of unidentifiable farm trash…people with true grit either way, living in the middle of a relentless landscape made of nothing but dirt, sky and telephone poles–lots of telephone poles.
As Alex reads me clips from the Guardian online and friends comment on the American atrocity which is Trump, I can almost begin to understand antigovernment sentiments from this angle. What would a government do for a family living so far away from what us cityfolk call “civilisation”? Families who have built everything they have with their own hands, families who depend on each other and others in their communities to get things done? What civic amenities could they expect from taxes: garbage pick up? They either burn it or take it to the dump themselves. School? Too far, they homeschool. Police/fire? How long would it take to get a response? Ever seen a sign that says “We don’t call the police.” with a handgun pictured underneath? They exist. All I could gather as I went through this list in my head was that at best, the government maintains a road through the middle of their farm which might be handy every now and again. There’s more. Of course there is more. But as we drove that was what I was thinking.
I was naive to think that Trump could never happen and was shocked how many people did not vote. But now I am starting to understand. This is the real America and perhaps not the America that most people get to see.