At some point in post-World War II America, the Middle West and all its Middle American manifestations became inexplicable. Take Donna Reed, without question the most beautifully American-looking actress of the Cold War era. Donna was an Iowa girl, a tomboy who grew up playing baseball with her brothers on the farm — watch her hurl that rock at the window of the old Granville place in “It’s a Wonderful Life”; what a wonderful arm! She was an Iowa Republican who was for her fellow Iowan Henry Wallace in 1948, for Barry Goldwater in 1964 because the Kennedy-Johnson Democrats offended her Iowa isolationism, and for Eugene McCarthy in 1968 for the same reason. Viewed through old-fashioned American glasses, Reed’s politics make perfect sense as the expression of a girl who attended the one-room schoolhouse in Nishnabotna, Iowa, and won a blue ribbon at the Iowa State Fair for the whole-wheat yeast rolls she made for the Nimble Fingers 4-H Club. It is only in the funhouse mirror of postwar American politics that the Donna Reeds are contorted and the Arnold Schwarzeneggers look normal.
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quotes The Sage of Batavia — America's golden era: Ladies and gentlemen, "left" and right
Labels: America the Beautiful, Paleoconservatism, The Midwest