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What are "Midwestern Values"?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
People in the USA are always talking about Midwestern values and how important they are. As somebody who was born and raised and still lives in the Los Angeles area by parents who were born and raised in the eastern part of the US, I have apparently not been the beneficiary of these Midwestern values. What are they? Why are they supposedly better than values held by people from other parts of the US?

Two months after 9/11, I visited family in Oklahoma. As my brother drove me to his house from the airport, we saw American flags fluttering EVERYWHERE, something I didn't see to the same degree in the L.A. area. My brother said, "yes, and they MEAN it, too." Did he mean patriotism? There is plenty of patriotism in California. We just don't demonstrate it the same way as they do in Oklahoma.
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post #2 of 24
Midwestern values is just another way to say evangelical christian values.
Happiness is not the result of a mathematical equation comparing the good times and bad times someone has had. It is a state of mind.
-nomad888
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Happiness is not the result of a mathematical equation comparing the good times and bad times someone has had. It is a state of mind.
-nomad888
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post #3 of 24
I have lived in the Midwest my entire life, and very few times have I ever left. I haven't the slightest clue as to what Midwestern values are. However, I have only lived in Chicagoland, so that's different than, say, southern Illinois (like Cairo), or maybe even eastern (near Iowa/Missouri border).
My best guess is anything related to church-going, country patriotism (which, according to some people I've met, is the only patriotism there is [or that is acceptable] ), because I often see the Midwest portrayed as god loving (or fearing, if you will), farmland, and stereotypical redneck.

Okay, I just searched a bit, and I found that we (the Midwest) are:
  • humble, trustworthy, family-loving, down-to-earth people [that] are simply the countrys best (this is kind of a funny take on the whole MW values thing)
  • gentlemen that subscribe to 'tradition, humility, and honesty'
  • bring integrity, trust, and hometown values when selling you real estate
  • full of courtesy and politeness
  • people who embrace hard work and opportunity, who never waiver in the face of adversity, who never stop believing in the promise of America
  • does not lose sense of what is genuinely important and will risk being politically incorrect to say what [they] truly believe
  • values tolerance and endurance. Independence is also greatly valued, but to express that openly would require tremendous courage and risk being labeled an outcast
  • full of honesty which makes it difficult for one to lie
It goes on.

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post #4 of 24
Except for my first 4.5 years and 3 years at a grad school on the east coast, I have spent my entire life in the Midwest. So I like to think that my values are Midwestern values. Of course, the people who use that phrase would see me as the antithesis of Midwestern values, other than that I'm white and heterosexual.
post #5 of 24
Midwestern values - love the bible and the flag. Don't care much for the constitution. **** the poor and minorities. And get those pesky facts out of our schools.
Tam! RUGH!
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post #6 of 24
I have to say that the small town school I attended (33 in my graduating class) did not teach *intelligent design.* Everyone recognized that the story of creation was a parable to explain God's role to primitive people who would not be able to understand anything more complex. I thought that people who questioned evolution were limited to a few wingnuts living in the wilds of Kansas, until the advent of the internet and the realization that wingnuts are everywhere amongst us.
post #7 of 24
Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet!
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post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amy SF View Post

People in the USA are always talking about Midwestern values and how important they are. As somebody who was born and raised and still lives in the Los Angeles area by parents who were born and raised in the eastern part of the US, I have apparently not been the beneficiary of these Midwestern values. What are they? Why are they supposedly better than values held by people from other parts of the US?

Two months after 9/11, I visited family in Oklahoma. As my brother drove me to his house from the airport, we saw American flags fluttering EVERYWHERE, something I didn't see to the same degree in the L.A. area. My brother said, "yes, and they MEAN it, too." Did he mean patriotism? There is plenty of patriotism in California. We just don't demonstrate it the same way as they do in Oklahoma.

You do realize, of course, that all the flags were flying as a result of 9/11 happening so near to the time you visited right? It's not that way 24/7/365. I know you think Oklahoma is the most horrible place on earth but sheesh, c'mon. Yeah, we all have 4 American flags flying from the top of our tepees. Right by the paddocks where our horses we ride to work are tethered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beancounter View Post

Midwestern values is just another way to say evangelical christian values.

^^ This. Beancounter nailed it.
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon View Post

You do realize, of course, that all the flags were flying as a result of 9/11 happening so near to the time you visited right? It's not that way 24/7/365. I know you think Oklahoma is the most horrible place on earth but sheesh, c'mon. Yeah, we all have 4 American flags flying from the top of our tepees. Right by the paddocks where our horses we ride to work are tethered.

Also, Oklahoma felt a kinship towards NYC, having had their own bombing tragedy with the Murrow building just a few years before... There was an element of solidarity in that overt display.
Nec Aspera Terrent
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post #10 of 24
Irony - the rabid promotion of nationalism and religion to commemorate a horrible mass murder that was motivated by nationalism and religion.

Also see - 9/11
Tam! RUGH!
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post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by WonderRandy View Post

Also, Oklahoma felt a kinship towards NYC, having had their own bombing tragedy with the Murrow building just a few years before... There was an element of solidarity in that overt display.

Thanks for pointing that out Randy! That seemed to be a mindset here with people that were affected by the bombing in OKC, for the people that lost family members it was probably like reopening old wounds.

As far as Midwestern values, I don't know, I don't live in the Midwest. Oklahoma is South Central.
I do not understand/What it is I've done wrong/Full of holes/Check for pulse/Blink your eyes/One for yes/Two for no/I have no idea what I am talking about/I am trapped in this body and can't get out-Radiohead
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I do not understand/What it is I've done wrong/Full of holes/Check for pulse/Blink your eyes/One for yes/Two for no/I have no idea what I am talking about/I am trapped in this body and can't get out-Radiohead
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post #12 of 24
yes, like there exists middle-east values.
"Hell exists not to punish sinners, but to ensure that nobody sins in the first place."
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"Hell exists not to punish sinners, but to ensure that nobody sins in the first place."
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post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Envy View Post

yes, like there exists middle-east values.

You just had to go and open Pandora's box, didn't you....
Happiness is not the result of a mathematical equation comparing the good times and bad times someone has had. It is a state of mind.
-nomad888
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Happiness is not the result of a mathematical equation comparing the good times and bad times someone has had. It is a state of mind.
-nomad888
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post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Puppet Master View Post

I have lived in the Midwest my entire life, and very few times have I ever left. I haven't the slightest clue as to what Midwestern values are. However, I have only lived in Chicagoland, so that's different than, say, southern Illinois (like Cairo), or maybe even eastern (near Iowa/Missouri border).
My best guess is anything related to church-going, country patriotism (which, according to some people I've met, is the only patriotism there is [or that is acceptable] ), because I often see the Midwest portrayed as god loving (or fearing, if you will), farmland, and stereotypical redneck.

Okay, I just searched a bit, and I found that we (the Midwest) are:
  • humble, trustworthy, family-loving, down-to-earth people [that] are simply the country’s best (this is kind of a funny take on the whole MW values thing)
  • gentlemen that subscribe to 'tradition, humility, and honesty'
  • bring integrity, trust, and hometown values when selling you real estate
  • full of courtesy and politeness
  • people who embrace hard work and opportunity, who never waiver in the face of adversity, who never stop believing in the promise of America
  • does not lose sense of what is genuinely important and will risk being politically incorrect to say what [they] truly believe
  • values tolerance and endurance. Independence is also greatly valued, but to express that openly would require tremendous courage and risk being labeled an outcast
  • full of honesty which makes it difficult for one to lie

It goes on.

I'm Midwestern, and I hold to all of those. Well, maybe not the promise of America. I don't think the people around me live them out in the same way I do, of course. And what's this "tolerance" thing? Most Midwesterners I know would consider that to be a coastal liberal idea. What to do with people who are "different" is the elephant in the room to me when people start talking about this regional pride.
"They call this war a cloud over the land. But they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say '$#!±, it's raining!'"  Ruby, in "Cold Mountain"
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"They call this war a cloud over the land. But they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say '$#!±, it's raining!'"  Ruby, in "Cold Mountain"
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post #15 of 24
Pickup trucks and big butts.
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post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by peace View Post

Pickup trucks and big butts.

big butts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beancounter View Post

You just had to go and open Pandora's box, didn't you....

I do what I do best.

Even though nothing happened.
"Hell exists not to punish sinners, but to ensure that nobody sins in the first place."
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"Hell exists not to punish sinners, but to ensure that nobody sins in the first place."
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post #17 of 24
"Values" (whether rural, midwestern, southern, American, Christian, evangelical, etc) is a conservative code word for "We only like people who are just like us".

--Fromper
post #18 of 24
In my opinion, these 'values' are mostly the result of people in metropolitan cities along the coasts not having a clue what life could possibly be like in the 'Heartland.' They attribute a set of ideals that belong to a simple culture that they could not ever conceive being a part of.

I grew up in Iowa - and when I visited the East coast I was asked if we had interstates, stop-lights, malls etc. They seemed to think that nothing existed here outside a spattering of dirt roads and generals stores surrounded by fields of corn.

I often hear that Midwesterners are 'reserved' which I totally agree with. On the surface level this can seem to be polite - but after living in New York City for many years - I realized that I'd rather be around people who say what's on their minds. I do not attribute respect or politeness to being reserved. It's sometimes downright rude to be so fearful or hesitant to speak up.

I did get hired once in New York partially because of the work ethic that my employer believed I possessed simply by virtue of being from the Midwest. But I cannot say that work ethic is any more evident here than elsewhere.
There is no such thing as truth. People who really know what happened aren't talking. And the people who don't have a clue, you can't shut them up. - Tom Waits
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There is no such thing as truth. People who really know what happened aren't talking. And the people who don't have a clue, you can't shut them up. - Tom Waits
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post #19 of 24
From living in the Midwest, the values appear to be summarized at this: in-your-face Christians having to tell you they're Christian, because you'd never know by their actions, with hypocrisy running wild.


And if my county has anything to do with it, the Republicans are gods to be worshiped, the Democrats are evil people to be sent back to hell.... what? you thought elected officials were supposed to help the people and do things for them? Blasphemy! It's a religious war!
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dedalus View Post

I often hear that Midwesterners are 'reserved' which I totally agree with. On the surface level this can seem to be polite - but after living in New York City for many years - I realized that I'd rather be around people who say what's on their minds. I do not attribute respect or politeness to being reserved. It's sometimes downright rude to be so fearful or hesitant to speak up.

The way I describe it is, "The people around here won't say anything bad about you to your face."
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlp View Post

The way I describe it is, "The people around here won't say anything bad about you to your face."

That's it!
There is no such thing as truth. People who really know what happened aren't talking. And the people who don't have a clue, you can't shut them up. - Tom Waits
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There is no such thing as truth. People who really know what happened aren't talking. And the people who don't have a clue, you can't shut them up. - Tom Waits
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post #22 of 24
Guns and god.
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post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by SomebodyElse View Post

Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet!

"Can I get an amen and a Hallelujah?"

Midwesterners are very hard working people who are patriotic and god-fearing. And they like corn.

Source: a born and bred Hoosier
post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for everyone's feedback on this; I've read some eye-opening posts! Although: It does seem to me that a lot of these supposed Midwestern values could also be applied to "Southern" values, especially the evangelical Christian idea, honest, church going, etc.
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