I grew up looking at maps. I’d stretch them out on the floor and dream. Someday, I’d think, I’m going to go here…and here…and here. I knew nothing about these places, but I wanted to see the area. I wanted to explore.
When my kids were little, I had quite a collection of maps from gas stations and AAA, from grocery markets and train stations. Wherever I went, I picked up at least one map.
I’ve learned a lot about human nature looking at maps. For instance, the March 29, 1976 cover of The New Yorker featured artist Saul Steinberg’s map of the world via New York City. It was a huge success among visitors and residents alike, and it still is.
Perhaps it is just my imagination, but don’t you think the map says something about New Yorkers?
If you talk to a New Yorker, you’ll likely hear that Southern California is the land of fruits and nuts. Of course, the San Diegans really don’t care what the New Yorkers think. After all, they have the beach and the weather. And, they happen to like fruits and nuts.
Switching to the middle of the United States, the maps get more interesting. Take Texas for example. From the rendition below, it is clear that there's not much of importance to some Texans - other than the great state of Texas.
Now, as a native Californian who lived in the greater NYC area for 25 years or so, I found this map of Texas to be refreshingly honest.
It, better than any map I have seen, makes it very clear that we see through our unique vantage point.
So what does any of this have to do with politics? I went through map after map trying to find correlations that might explain the voting pattern of the last election. I looked at maps of the United States for church affiliation, tornado risks, dog tick infestations, diversity rates, drug deaths, hate groups, longevity rates, marriage success, suicide rates. Yep, there's a map for about anything you can think of. Who knew? I didn't, and I'm the map queen.
The one map I found interesting was the map of Percent of Residents with High School Diploma. I found it interesting because folks on the coasts sometimes imagine that the great middle of the United States mindlessly cast their vote for the current president. As the map shows us, the middle United States has higher high school graduation rates than the coasts. Who knew?
Keep in mind, aside from the last couple of years, I have spent my life on either coast. I'm an independent who faithfully writes to my representatives and my president to let them know what I think. I'm sure they enjoy hearing from me, because I'm very polite and always offer them solutions.
And, speaking of solutions, I want to share how I've managed the political upheaval. I try to love more - the people I meet, the "friends" on Facebook, my neighbors on my street. I spend more time trying to understand than to explain. And frankly, I watch very little T.V.
This, too, will pass my friends. And, if we need another reason to be grateful this season, that one fact tops my list.
Blessings to all.