No. 871



Over the past several months I have noticed a new trend in my writing. If you are a faithful reader of this column, perhaps you have noticed it, too. Lately the basic theme of more of my columns has been negative. I just want you to know that I am aware of this and it is not totally without purpose. When I see vast numbers of my fellow Americans hurting, this affects me deeply and I hurt, too. When I hear on the news that more than half of the graduates coming out of college can’t find a job and are saddled with massive debt for student loans, I know that a lot of these young people are hurting. As a result, most of them have to take a low-paying job, and there is no money left to pay off their loans.
Another sad statistic I hear is that 53 percent of all Americans are on some form of government assistance, and we all know that this cannot be sustained over time. In terms of being negative, I am reminded of what a former secretary told me one time. She went to the doctor and, after a few minutes, told him, “Look, doctor, I don’t want you to pat me on the knee and say, honey everything’s rosy. I have a mother. I want you to tell me the truth about my health and that way I can deal with it.” This is what I think most Americans want in terms of what is happening in our country and what we can do to correct it for a better life for ourselves and future generations.
In terms of our nation’s future, every once in a while I catch myself saying, “Thank God for the Heartland.” This is the central part of our nation, with mostly an agricultural economy. This area is sometimes called “America’s Bread Basket” because these states produce a large portion of our food. While there are a number of “fringe” states, we usually think of states like Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, North Dakota and South Dakota as being the heartland. This column has run in all these states and I have had speaking engagements in all but one of them. So, I have been there in person and have a good feel for what I am saying. I can tell you this for sure: most of the people from these states are good, honest, hard-working people, and they have a set of values that we would all do well to emulate.
I have thought about this a good deal and I believe the reason this is true is because of the agricultural make-up of their economy. This is farming country and farmers face an element of risk each year that most others do not face. Unlike any other vocation, they must depend on the weather in terms of whether it’s a good year or a bad year. You see, they must rely on God for their very existence. It’s not only the crops but also the production of milk, beef, hogs, poultry, eggs and other foodstuffs that help one develop an appreciation for nature and what God can supply.
Again, you may disagree, but I believe this is the reason American’s Heartland produces people with outstanding character who are honest, work hard, treat others with respect and have a real understanding of what is right and what is wrong.
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule here but generally speaking this is true. The reason I am sharing this is because going forward we are going to need heartland values in our leaders at every level of government in our nation. In the final analysis, it all comes down to each individual person and what we believe and what we put into practice. Are you this type of person? I hope so. We have the greatest country in the world, but we must right the ship if we are to survive. If we tell the truth, sometimes negative is positive!
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)