So i'm working with the candidate on language and presentation for his campaign. Fifth generation Nebraskan, grandfather lived in a sod house, founders of a Lutherische Gemeinde on the plains. He reads from a Russell Kirk book entitled "A Program for Conservatives," and the phrase that particularly strikes him is "the restoration of community." With a matched respect for heritage and a committment to be good stewards of the land God gave us, it is clear that this man understands 'conservative' as it is linked to its etymological stem, 'conserve.' Indeed, it is a conservation of heritage, of nature, of community that ought to define politics in a state where the old ways of farming and community are replaced by tourism proposals of hunting trips and fly-in golf courses for the rich, leaving the fifth generation farmer to put on a white shirt and sell concessions to Dick Cheney at $6.00 an hour. Where a Starbucks goes up in York, Nebraska, just off of Interstate 80, so that the Californians driving to New York have a reason to stop and spend a few bucks in our state. (See also http://thisisalongwalk.blogspot.com, "Neon Vomit.")
Tomorrow, sun permitting, I am to drive around the state and film. And of course, I know I will once again be drawn to abandoned farmhouses, broken windmills, and the sleeping fields preparing for the summer's assault, where they will grow crops that are not food, drain the Ogallala Aquifer of its pure, precious water, and incite fights with Kansas over a water agreement that never anticipated the degree to which a multi-section farmer needs water to stay alive.