Lately, I have been a regular visitor to the Midland, Odessa, and San Angelo, Texas, area. Oilfield equipment trucks fill the roadways, people are busy and productive. There is lots of work here, and obvious prosperity. But the best thing about this area is the people. Everyone is friendly, hospitable, and helpful. I have yet to be treated rudely, or with suspicion.
In Midland you don't see any abandoned businesses, or vacant rundown houses. Places are open late, and the American dream is still alive.
It's just too bad that more Texas communities aren't more open and friendly. If you live in a place where ignorance and cronyism reign supreme, then you probably get the point.
Do you live in a place where nosy women and men stare at you rudely, without shame (I was raised different)? Do you see lots of abandoned property and laid off workers? Are you constantly questioned about your personal life, and do you feel imposed upon?
If this is your life, then you are probably living in a community that strives against growth and prosperity...a place where being born there is more important than the contribution you can make to the community good.
This kind of territorialism is rather ethnocentric, however, it is usually just rooted in simple ignorance and a lack of grace.
Last night I laid over in San Angelo. I was treated with kindness and professionalism by the local people. I used several services in town, and I questioned some of the business owners and employees about their origins. One business owner was a proud atheist. I know a couple of places in Texas where you simply would not admit that fact to anyone. On the wall he had a picture of a gay male couple with a sign underneath that said, "P~~~~ off the world, one person at a time." I found that picture extremely funny since this place is a thriving business with ranchers, truckers, and travelers running through all day long. Only in an educated community could one expect such a level of tolerance and support from the population. I was impressed, because the people around San Angelo obviously know that only with love, and understanding, can a community truly thrive and prosper.
Compare this with suspicion and nosiness found in less educated and informed areas; the quality of life is lower for everyone. Places like that sort of die off...it is sad.
I am not an atheist, nor am I a gay person, but I love people from all walks of life. There is something to be learned, and something to enjoy, in every race, ethnic origin, and religious background. All of us are important; we all count to each other, and to God.