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July 8, 2014

OPINION: How do I America?

CHICKASHA —

A weekend full of celebrating what makes this nation great has left me with one fundamental question.

I never asked it in the middle of America's party. There was cake, fireworks, good barbecue, good company, and I'm not the type to ruin that.

In the midst of rockets' red glare, I couldn't stop wondering: what is the American culture?

Or is there a uniform American culture? It seems the only thing we can all agree on these days is that the Constitution does, indeed, exist. Its contents are the source of daily debates, so good luck finding a nationwide culture in that.

Perhaps what unifies Americans most is their ability to make fun of the other regional cultures they can't seem to get into.

There's the northeast with its city-minded people who aren't considered as nice or pleasant as us southern folk. Their affinity with obtaining food from the sea makes us all wonder how they go through the very American rite of passage of devouring a 14-ounce steak. They all smell like fish, right?

Then there's the southeast, which we imagine as full of people still agitated they fell on the wrong end of that whole Civil War thing. But they take it like true southern lords and ladies, inviting you in for some cool sweet tea and to sit on the veranda talking about the good old days. Time seems to move slower, but only because everything is stifled by a humidity no human should ever endure.

We get the midwest, where barbecue and business take a front seat to everything. Corporations are as free as the amount of sauce you can put on your brisket. But it's also a place where innovation's ability to open eyes to the world around consumers appears stopped in its tracks. There's not a whole lot to do, other than listen to red dirt country and go "cruising" or "back roading" or whatever people call it now.

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